The Principle of Hope [3] 0262022524

Translated by Neville Plaice, Stephen Plaice and Paul Knight

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The Principle of Hope [3]

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Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought Thomas McCarthy, General Editor Theodor W. Adorno, Against Epistemology: A Metacritique Theodor W. Adorno, Prisms Karl-Otto Apel, Understanding and Explanation: A TranscendentalPragmatic Perspective Richard J. Bernstein, editor, Habermas and Modernity Ernst Bloch, Natural Law and Human Dignity Ernst Bloch, The Principle of Hope Hans Blumenberg, The Legitimacy of the Modern Age Hans Blumenberg, Work on Myth Helmut Dubiel, Theory and Politics: Studies in the Development of Critical Theory John Forester, editor, Critical Theory and Public Life Hans-Georg Gadamer, Philosophical Apprenticeships Hans-Georg Gadamer, Reason in the Age of Science Jurgen Habermas, Philosophical-Political Profiles Jurgen Habermas, editor, Observations on “The Spiritual Situation of the Age” Hans Joas, G. H. Mead: A Contemporary Re-examination of His Thought Reinhart Koselleck, Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time Claus Offe, Contradictions of the Welfare State Claus Offe, Disorganized Capitalism: Contemporary Transformations of Work and Politics Helmut Peukert, Science, Action and Fundamental Theology: Toward a Theology of Communicative Action Joachim Ritter, Hegel and the French Revolution: Essays on the Philosophy of Right Alfred Schmidt, History and Structure: An Essay on Hegelian-Marxist and Structuralist Theories of History Carl Schmitt, The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy Carl Schmitt, Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty Michael Theunissen, The Other: Studies in the Social Ontology of Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, and Buber Ernst Tugendhat, Self-Consciousness and Self-Determination


Translated by Neville Plaice, Stephen Plaice and Paul Knight

The MIT Press Cambridge, Massachusetts

Written in the USA 1938-1947 revised 1953 and 1959; first American edition published by The MIT Press, 1986 English translation © 1986 by Basil Blackwell, Ltd. Originally published as Das Prirtzip Hoff ruing, © 1959 by Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, Federal Republic of Germany. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from the publisher. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Bloch, Ernst, 1885-1977 The principle of hope. (Studies in contemporary German social thought) Translation of Das Prinzip Hoffnung. Includes index. 1. Hope. 2. Imagination. 3. Utopias. 4. Creation (Literary, artistic, etc.) I. Title. II. Series. B3209.B753P7513 1986 193 85-23081 ISBN 0-262-02250-8 0-262-02251-6 0-262-02252-4 0-262-02248-6

(volume 1) (volume 2) (volume 3) (3-volume set)

Printed and bound in Great Britain










Much still open 934 hunt 935

Too warmly dressed 934

French happiness and joy 937

Wild, bold

Adventures of

happiness 938



Fabius or the hesitant man of action 940

Sorel, Machiavelli or energy and the wheel of fortune 942 Problem of breaking, Hercules at the crossroads, DionysusApollo 948 Vita activa, vita contemplativa or the world of the chosen good part 953

Double light of solitude and friendship 958


light of individual and collective 965 Salvation of the individual through community 969

48. YOUNG GOETHE, NON-RENUNCIATION, ARIEL The wish to smash things 973 suffering 974


Wertherian happiness and

The demand, Prometheus, Ur-Tasso 975




of sublimity, Faust Gothic and metamorphosis 980 imagination 985

Ariel and poetic

The demonic, and the allegorical-symbolic

sealedness which expresses itself 989 Just those who know such longing: Mignon 993 Wishes as presentiments of our capacities 997 49. GUIDING FIGURES OF VENTURING BEYOND THE LIMITS; FAUST AND THE WAGER OF THE FULFILLED MOMENT No wet straw 1000


Play the lute and drain the glasses 1001


Giovanni, all women and the wedding 1004 Faust, macrocosm, Stay awhile you are so fair ion Faust, Hegel’s Phenomenology and the event 1016

Odysseus did not die in Ithaca, he journeyed to the

unpeopled world 1023

Hamlet, sealed will; Prospero, groundless



Don Quixote’s Rueful Countenance and

A related question: the wrongs and rights of

Tasso versus Antonio 1051 of sound 1053

The Luciferian-Promethean and the layer



Happiness of the blind 1058

The nymph Syrinx 1058

and nymph: Symphonie fantastique 1060 inseparable from music 1062

Bizarre hero

Human expression as

Music as canon and world of laws;

harmony of the spheres, more humane lode-stars 1070


painting, work of nature once again, the intensity and morality of music 1081 The hollow space; subject of the sonata and fugue 1089 Funeral march, requiem, cortege behind death 1097 Marseillaise and the moment in Fidelio 1101 52. SELF AND GRAVE-LAMP OR IMAGES OF HOPE AGAINST THE POWER OF THE STRONGEST NON-UTOPIA: DEATH I. Introduction/No talk of dying 1104 morning any more in this world 1105


Utopias of the night with no

II. Religious Counterpoints from Death and Victory/Only good of the dead 1109

Shades and Greek twilight mi

recurrence; Orphic wheel 1112 journey to heaven 1116

Affirmation of

Elixirs of the soul and the gnostic

Egyptian heaven in the tomb 1121

resurrection and apocalypse 1125 the flesh, magic garden 1133


Mohammedan heaven, strength of

Sheer repose seeks deliverance even from



heaven, the wishful image of nirvana 1136 III. Enlightened and Romantic Euthanasias/The freethinker as strong thinker 1142

Youth with the reversed torch and with the newly

lighted torch 1143 nature 1148

Dissolution in the universe, lethal return to

Glacier, earth-mother and world-spirit 1152

IV. Further Secularized Counter-moves, Nihilism, House of Humanity/ Still the dyeing of nothingness 1156 faith 1157

Four signs of a borrowed

Metaphorical immortality: in the work 1161

the chisel in tragedy 1167

Death as

Disappearance of lethal nothingness in

socialist consciousness 1172 V. Joy of Life and Fragment in All Things/Journey of discovery into death 1176 death 1178

The moment as not-being-here; extra-territoriality to


Lunatics again, occult

Chiefs and magicians; every religion has

founders 1189

A numinous element, even in the religious

Humanum 1193 II. Founders, Glad Tidings and Cur Deus Homo/The stranger as teacher: Cadmus 1203 Orpheus 1204

Singer of ecstatic salvation:

Poets of Apollonian gods and their attendance:

Homer and Hesiod; Roman state gods 1205

The unblossomed

belief in Prometheus and the tragic liturgy: Aeschylus 1212 Fish-man and moon-scribe of astral myth: Oannes, Hermes Trismegistus-Thoth 1216

Glad tidings of earthly-heavenly balance

and of the inconspicuous world-rhythm (Tao): Confucius, Lao Tzu 1220

A founder who is himself part of the glad tidings:

Moses, his god of exodus 1230

Moses or consciousness of utopia

in religion, of religion in utopia 1235

Warlike self-commitment,

mingled with astral light: Zoroaster, Mani 1241

Redemptive self¬

commitment, limited to acosmos, related to nirvana: Buddha 1249

Founder from the spirit of Moses and the exodus,

completely identical with his glad tidings: Jesus, apocalypse, kingdom 1256

Jesus and the father; the serpent of paradise as

saviour; the three wishful mysteries: resurrection, ascension, return 1265

Fanaticism and submission to Allah’s will:

Mohammed 1274 III. The Core of the Earth as Real Extra-territoriality/The road of the non-existent What For 1278

Inavertible and avertible fate, or




Cassandra and Isaiah 1280

God as utopian hypostatized ideal of the

unknown man; Feuerbach, Cur Deus homo again 1283

Recourse to

atheism; problem of the space into which God was imagined and utopianized 1290

Stay awhile in the religious layer: the unity of the

instant in mysticism 1298

Miracles and the miraculous; moment as

the foot of Nike 1303 54. THE LAST WISHFUL CONTENT AND THE HIGHEST GOOD Drive and food 1312

Three wishes and the best 1313



as variations of the highest good; Cicero and the philosophers 1315 Stay awhile and highest good, problem of a guiding image in the world process 1321

Drive and food once again or subjectivity,

objectivity of goods, of values and of the highest good 1325 Hovering and severity with reference to the highest good (evening wind, statue of Buddha, figure of the kingdom) 1334

Number and

cipher of qualities; meaning of the highest good in nature 1347 55. KARL MARX AND HUMANITY; STUFF OF HOPE The true architect 1354


‘To overturn all circumstances in which

man is a degraded, a subjugated, a forsaken, a contemptible being’ 1355 feet 1359 unity 1365

Secularization and the power of setting things on their Forward dream, sobriety, enthusiasm and their Certainty, unfinished world, homeland 1370

Glossary of Foreign Terms


Name and Title Index


PART FIVE (Identity)


The All in the identifying sense is the Absolute of that which people basically want. Thus this identity lies in the dark ground of all waking dreams, hopes, utopias themselves and is also the gold ground on to which the concrete utopias are applied. Every solid daydream intends this double ground as homeland; it is the still unfound, the experienced Not-Yet-Experience in every experience that has previously become. The Principle of Hope, Vol. I, p. 316


Go where you will.



From early on we want to get to ourselves. But we do not know who we are. All that seems clear is that nobody is what he would like to be or could be. Hence the common envy, namely of those who seem to have, in fact to be, what we are entitled to. But hence also the desire to start something new which begins with ourselves. Attempts have always been made to live commensurately with ourselves. We have in us what we could become. This announces itself in the unrest at not being sufficiently defined. Youth is only the most visible, not the sole manifestation of this feeling. It includes the girl who adorns herself for the special boy she does not know. It includes the boy who feels called upon to be this special one, to achieve great things; only he does not yet know in what field. In this state people are on the tip of their own tongue, only they do not yet know what they taste like. All that has previously become acts as an inhibition or at best a temporary husk, so it falls away. The inside seeks to get going, seeks the action which shapes it genuinely and outwardly. But youth just blurts things out, and the same is true wherever a man is not yet finished. Even the grown man, unless he is paltry or coarse, will often round, never close his life; he neither wants to, nor is he in a position to. We also wish to bring what is ours, what we obscurely are and intend, out ipto the open and to possess it. This business is attempted alone or in couples or in a group, what we want is always a life which is not driven away from our inclinations and strengths. This is vague, because most people are not even familiar with their inclina¬ tions, above all because nobody can get himself straight when all relations between people are in a mess. Nevertheless the question of what to seek, what to flee, is still asked here, in the sphere of personal attitude. A person presents himself as he would like to be effective, and the fact that mostly he would like to be just this also makes it possible for others to persuade him how he would like to be. Everywhere he is far from being in form. But everyone can get out of his skin, because no one is wearing it yet. 927




Before every man stands an image of what he is to become.



The boy is going to be someone, to be made into something. The young have to be educated, raw meat is not palatable. So it is minced or cooked, turned into the items you see on the menu. A decent man, a respectable fellow, all right, there is nothing to be said against that, a lot to be said for it. No communal entity could survive without them, there has to be solid hard work. But the man usable in bourgeois terms is required to be little, especially scaled-down, artificially faceless and totally devoid of colour. Does not smoke, does not drink, does not play cards, does not look at girls, is meant to breed and be bred as moral kitsch. The decent man thinks of himself last, so little man what now* is the rule. And he is still expected to keep his head, even when the clock has struck thirteen for him. Nobody is bom to this, everyone is first made into it in stables. Essentially there are many bold things going on in young people, still without a clear direction. But they are standardized at home and at school; nobody starts curving early, because nobody wants to be a hook.| However, trainers at home and at school aim actually to achieve the improbable: to make people put up with what will later be done to them. The will is pleasantly diverted or broken strictly until it passes into smiling and nodding. The mind is drilled so that it never breaks out of the pre-arranged questioning and answering of the life that awaits the employee. Usually only servants are intended in bourgeois society and not of course what would be so natural for the oppressed: avengers. In general, the pupil is meant to be reduced to the denominator of the time into which he is born, in particular to the denominator of the class to which he belongs through his parents; of course, for a long time, the third estate was scarcely considered fit for reading and writing, let alone the fourth. And if bourgeois society, which needs far more schooled workers than feudal society, has established a more common ground in reading, writing and arithmetic, it is a ground on

* ‘Kleiner Mann was nun?’, a novel by Hans Fallada (1893-1947). t Bloch has reversed a German saying here which is the equivalent of: ‘There’s nothing like starting young’.



which the worker is supposed to stay put, while his betters progress to languages and higher things. However, everything culminates in the guiding image of the employee, the most faded there is. All education, of course, is directed towards a guiding image, and it is only from this that the kind of discipline comes, only towards it that the kind of educational path goes. The discipline in its laxer form comes from the disintegrating bourgeois type who has become insecure, in its strict form from the older type who still imitated or counterfeited a noblesse which obliges. The lax discipline has also lately been called progressive, one which does not bite anyone but does not get its teeth into anything either. It makes people superficial and ignorant under a veneer of knowledge; it is this kind of school which produces the playboy. Whereas the strict, old-fashioned, shoulder-tothe-wheel school does at least produce the tried and tested man. The educational path in both corresponds in the case of the technical school to direct capitalist life, and in that of the so-called humanistic grammar school almost invariably to the departed, plaster muses which have to be created around or handed down to this life so that it does not look quite so unlovely and soulless. But the goal of this preparation, whether it is pursued more through practicalities or more through Greek verses, always remains the compliant member of bourgeois society. One who never regrets what he has learned, but also never makes use of it to find out and to learn what could be awkward for those who invigilate from above. This schooling does not stop even for adults, man, says a Roman proverb, and it should know, is always a recruit. Above everything the well-paid gentleman beckons, he alone has become the substantial citizen. The Germans also looked up to the corps-student,* to the officer, yearning for their sons to attain this glory shining ahead. The last knights jangled through dreams which add the final polish, through emulation which never arrives. The average petit bourgeois always has a pious respect for such images, he looks upwards to a higher, more decisive life. There is nothing in itself con¬ temptible about this look; after all, his secondary school teachers were not much of an example, and in later working-life the lamb does not ex¬ actly rule. However, it depends on the kind of more decisive life, on it really being higher than everything before. As it is though, education remains to the end the most conformist of operations, not a single one of its guiding images is yet one of tomorrow. The latest trend to announce itself is so-called socially educational work, moulding people into citizens of * A member of exclusive duelling-fraternities at German universities.



the state and the like. Useful membership of society is aimed at more than ever here, but it is least useful for the oppressed class, for its own com¬ prehended will. Rather, this will as class-conscious will must be prevented, and so in bourgeois adult education not only blunted knowledge, but also increasingly sharpened lies are served up. But people can only truly be educated towards the guiding image of the comrade, as is already the case in one great country. This is also the only kind of education which is utopian in the good sense, i.e. which grasps and learns the old from the new, and not vice versa, and which does not bring the canonical kind of wanting and knowing back into what is antiquated or consciously inhibited. Walking upright appears here, being oneself in communal be¬ ing, pupils and teachers live ahead, on a continually advancing frontier. They live where the goal itself is young, towards which the learner brightens and comes into form.



A man who does not carry within him a kind of vision of his perfection is just as monstrous as a man without a nose.

Chesterton There is not one of us who could not also be someone else. A shrub is content for the time being to remain one. But people can, so to speak, become anything, incomplete as they are. Dark and indefinite as they are in themselves, in their folds. A woman who is feeling bad, left alone, becomes capable of anything, as it were. A man in a precarious situation or suddenly removed from his previous situation is nevertheless immediately capable of going amongst the dragons. Examples of this are as numberless as the sands on which they are built. They fall on the dismal side of look-before-you-leap as well as on a genuinely amazing side. Of course, some of the ground has already been prepared here, no person is entirely wax, and nobody is a wheel which rolls freely by itself. Instead of wax, there are hereditary dispositions, though more of talent than of character. Instead of the wheel rolling freely by itself, there is the class, the respective structures of the society and time into which people with their dispositions are born. And here there are traditional guiding images of specific being, historically shaped, which first



make the dream of our own role palpable. Good youth, in particular, which has not been misled, wishes to become like steadfast and forceful human beings. It is precisely because human beings as such are still undefined that they need a cross between a mirror and a painted picture when they look inside. Then, as noble counsel or even as obligation, the intensified image stares back at them of what, according to their disposition and their time, they ought to become in order to be full of a peace that is not only inner peace. But this directing is possible only because no one is yet like himself. Our core remains dark and indefinite, does not know its name. But equally it is definable; in terms of attitude, within the will which appears in an ordered form, this means morally definable. Only because of the under¬ lying wax is so much pressing possible in education, and so much forcing into the mould in later life too. But also it is only because of the unconcluded definability of men that so many of their possible faces have already been able to appear socio-historically speaking, and so many new definitions still lie in the future. Definition considered both as definitio and as destinatio of the human X; there is still room for experiment with man’s true face. Together with the goal for which the attitude and the action logically corresponding to it occur, in short, for which the character formed in accordance with the guiding image works. The goal has today become visible as socialist liberation; and what this freedom contains, a freedom not merely from but chiefly for, still remains happily open to defining moral work. In the Americanized countries the guiding image held up for most people to imitate is precisely the worst and most faded: the employee. However, in bourgeois terms there have been nobler types and desirably more appropriate ones, for example in the trades, in the model of the proficient master craftsman. There have been finer types, even some which strove for real destinatio, though always with the constant minus of the food-providing labourer below them. Previous history has thus pro¬ duced the spell, but also the wealth of those respective canonical types, which can be distinguished as the respective guiding images which are moving ahead. The warrior, the wise man, the gentleman and especially the citoyen are figures of this kind. All these guiding images carried a kind of scroll, a kind of appealing and commanding motto; and a perfect man in any given age had to be or was expected to be fashioned after them. These guiding images condense that element in humanly visible, developing formation which was called virtue in any given age, i.e. behaviour which is not naturally given to the human creature, but which is his given task.



Thus guiding images as images of attitude do not stand in the merely inward space of a formally good mentality. Nor do they stand in the equally ahistorical space of an apersonal collection of virtues or a doctrine of moral goods as such. The separate guiding images show virtues as being active in a socially fully shaped manner but at the same time in a utopian manner that continues to impose obligation. Above all, despite their class basis, which may be a long-lost one, these guiding images have still partly retained an appeal as if the virtue desired in them was not yet wholly done or done for. This content, which is not attached to its time, and is thus refunctionable and quite capable of new things, means that there is a possible heritage even of attitudes and of their virtue, not only of cultural works. It means that the image of a knight or a monk can still awaken a kind of loss, a kind of rediscovery, a kind of obligation which arouses longing; the Horseman of Bamberg* for example, or Diirer’s St Jerome in his Cell. And thus wishful portraits of being truly human rise above their social location, in experimenting variety, in exemplariness which is not everywhere discharged. They rise up as far as the citoyen, a particularly utopian selfimage - like the ‘Christian Man’ of the Peasant Wars. The citoyen is the entity which has remained the most general or disembodied, but also that which is least inhabited and used by class society. He rose up in contrast to the contemporary socio-economic basis as a kind of distant comrade, and is therefore far more glorified than even the monk, but also far more utopian. He rose up in contrast to the egotistical individual member of bourgeois society, who was then called L’homme pure and simple, a guiding image which then revealed itself as the bourgeois citizen, but which never¬ theless in its beginnings was the subject of bourgeois-revolutionary human rights. The citoyen on the other hand, as Marx first distinguished him from L’homme, was conceived as a member of a non-egotistical and therefore still imaginary polis. He was idealized as the other side of the bourgeois, and thus, in his non-egotistical dreamlike beauty, not subject to the division of labour and not reified, he was idealized with particular force. The possibility of this guiding image, which was not only estateless but also prematurely classless, could therefore only be sought in disguisewishes or in necessarily pathetic, even rhetorical literature. The pathos of the citoyen side extends in literature from Addison and Alfieri to Schiller, where it culminates; it does not decline, but becomes - after the victory

The Horseman of Bamberg: a medieval sculpture in Bamberg Cathedral. It is not known who carved it nor whom it represented.



of the bourgeois has occurred - pessimistic in Holderlin and finally in Shelley. Whereas the wishful costume of the citoyen appears in the middle of the accomplishment of the French Revolution itself, as the utopia of the man of the polis, of the politically elevated man, and analogously according to a rather classically romanticized model. Madame Roland wept because she had not been born a Spartan; Brissot considered himself to be the French Cicero, Robespierre identified with Aristides, and also with Cato, Desmoulins with Brutus. Lessing’s Emilia and Odoardo,* Schiller’s Verrinat, are also clearly derived from classical models; but the true model was abstract-utopian. The citoyen’s guiding image was the only one which did not come from the line of extension of existing human types, of existing social persons of worth, but almost entirely from an intelligible society. From one which, given the enduring class basis, is bound to seem abstract and therefore rhetorical or costume-like, but which nonetheless sends ahead of it a glimmer of morning light - ‘in noble, proud manliness’. The citoyen is the penultimate person of worth who has appeared historically, preceding in however overblown and general a way the guiding image of the comrade. So much for guiding images in general, to become like proper human beings; they arise and succeed one another socio-economically, but they are also pictured in a utopian-ideal way and in at least one of their characteristics still impose obligation, are undischarged. Of course, if the still hovering aspect of our true destinatio is drawn on a field, then instead of various persons of worth and, as it were, above them entire guiding panels emerge, not in succession, hut juxtaposed. They therefore show frequent ambivalence in the form of life which beckons and hovers before us as desirable. Quid quaerendum, quid fugendum,! in this fine, Ciceronian, discursive-moral wishful question, guiding panels, unlike guiding images, often stand at a crossroads. For example between active or contemplative life, joy of the senses or peace of mind and other prospects; how easily this kind of thing is filled with burning concern. Thus not merely a juxta¬ position develops out of the succession of guiding images, but in fact an ambivalence in the juxtaposition where the guiding panels stand. Certainly, it would be incurably idealistic to try to dispel conceptually contradictions or even ambiguities which have their origin in the class society and can therefore only end with that society. But all guiding images of class society

* Characters in Lessing’s play ‘Emilia Galotti’. t In Schiller’s ‘Fiesco’. t What to seek, what to flee.



no more vanish with it than do all double seductions in its guiding panels. Guiding images, especially guiding figures together with guiding panels first contain the wishful questions of better specific being in terms of attitude and morality; they contain the mutual correction of these questions. They border and structure the line of the old fleeing and seeking questions about the right way to become like proper human beings, in such a way that the line is true.




On the saddle the bride before you.

Carmen to Jose

If he only knew how, he would set all his sails for a journey to the Spanish sea of life. Jacobsen, Niels Lyhne

Much still open So the path to ourselves is never narrow. Even the bourgeois style, however constricted, is bound to shimmer on it. It slowly shakes its head from side to side, sees a choice at least in little things. Is it desirable to put down roots or conversely to change one’s place, one’s position? Change of place keeps one younger, but the sedentary person is more likely to reach a ripe old age. Is it better to beat one’s children in anger or in cold blood? Is it better for the nerves always to expect the worst or always to hope for the best? So even the simple, when one does it, is far from easy, each step poses a further question.

Too warmly dressed Furthermore, and above all, should the fur we choose be comfortable? When you have made your bed you have to lie on it, but do we want to lie in the first place and, if so, how? The early riser gets through a



lot early on and soon has the satisfaction of work done. But we can also start too hastily, and in the evening of the day or even of our life comes regret at having expended ourselves, tied ourselves down immaturely. If on the other hand we do not start until the evening of the day or indeed the evening of life, there is less occasion for regret about hasty or immature achievement but in return there is little time left and the thought of the door closing on so much uncompleted work can be torturing. Moreover, it is good to rest when the work is done, but does work itself intend rest as its goal? And does not the quiet life enervate, is not exciting, stirring, and even dangerous life more desirable? In itself, the soft bed seems best, but a soft body, soft muscles, a soft man too? Certainly not, too much butter and too much wool are bad, spare the rod and spoil the child. Nonetheless, domestic bliss and the toughening, the tough and the adventure-seeking can appeal equally and promise our place; the feather¬ bed and steel both undoubtedly have their lure. There are two paths here, and it has even been said, in a way which is itself so precarious, that the comfort-seeker strives for soft happiness, the brave man seeks the dangerous life. But does not the latter also make its followers happy; where does it say that only soft happiness is true happiness? This is a question that already concerns the pupil when he is taken in hand and ends up enjoying tough discipline. And is not danger something by which precisely the brave man sets no store, which must be overcome precisely by him? Nothing is then sweeter than to stretch out on the fur, beside the warming stove.

Wild, bold hunt Yet every situation where the going is tough appeals. The call to the dangerous life is again being heard, the Nazi has revived it. Of course, life for the victims of fascism is incomparably more dangerous than for the murderers themselves. But because the fascist protects exploitation, happiness is the last thing he can offer his henchmen and petit-bourgeois fellow-travellers, and so he was obliged to decry it. Here, too, the Nazi did not invent or create anything, he falsified older virtues or borrowed on virtues for which the bourgeois conformist as hero, the butcher of the defenceless had not originally been foreseen. Beyond the murderers an authentic wishful image of dangerous life is at work : that of the soldierly life. It is diametrically opposed to the soft, submissive person, the coward



who is never prepared to risk all or nothing. The bold is opposed to that which is insured on all sides, to the wretch who even wants a guarantee that his chamberpot will be warmed up. The Babbitt walks only welltrodden paths, and when the world is changing he thinks of his Sunday trousers. No writer sounded a more dubious call to the soldierly life-will than Nietzsche, barbarically and decadently heralding in early imperialism, yet at the same time no one warned more compellingly against the dubious aspect of ‘small-scale happiness’. This kind of thing is simply despised here, whether it takes the form of the ‘happiness of the greatest number’ or of ‘miserable cosiness a deux’. Nietzsche guessed well at ‘all your fly-like happiness and buzzing around sunny window-panes’. Of the philistine he writes with disgust: ‘We have our little pleasures for the day and our little pleasures for the night, but we respect health.’ Happiness for him is womanish, serf-like, mish-mash for the mob, indeed happiness and fear, as emotions of weakness, are related. They belong to the jackal: ‘But courage and adventure, love of the uncertain, the undared - courage, I believe, is man’s whole prehistory. He envied and stole away all the virtues of the most savage, most courageous animals: only thus did he become man.’ Zarathustra’s call thus resounded into the etiquette lessons, into the age of chastely hypocritical family happiness. He called out art nouveau - until the colourful-empty, muscular phrases were declared fit in time for fascist service and the ‘superior’ as opposed to the good logically turned out to be the capitalist mob plus murder. But quite apart from this inter¬ pretation of Nietzsche, the anti-bourgeois-conformist Nietzsche indisputably belongs elsewhere. The genuine, upright soldierly bearing was, after all, never wholly unrelated to the revolutionary one. This is also alien to the ‘tick-tock of small-scale happiness’ and contentment with it; but only because of the fact and to the end that great happiness is being sought. For the revolutionary, the appeal of the dangerous life is not an end in itself, and abstract love of the uncertain for its own sake even less so. Nonetheless, revolutionary bearing has far more in common with courage and adventure than with concern for good living and mahogany cabinets for everyone. The sofa corner with the slowly smoked cigar may be a hiding-place but it is not a watchful post. The fact that the adventure must be solid if it is to be revolutionary rather than putsch-like does not change the dangerous will in it.



French happiness and joy But, it was asked, is it certain that only soft happiness is happiness? To limit happiness thus would be the same as reducing dangerous life completely to brutality. This is not true, and it is even less true that happiness and contentment are modest or necessarily middle-of-the-road. The graceless Babbitt has ruined everything, the courage of the struggle as well as the gaiety. But there are forms which have not become small, when they are adept at moderation, the pleasures of the home and above all friendliness, and which, unlike the dangerous life, certainly cannot drip blood. These are the forms of French happiness, step by step, rural-ancient and full of Epicurean attentiveness, content in body and in soul. Wine was the educator here, Graeco-Roman wine; hence the taste for refinements everywhere - in the bottle, in food, in woman and in conversation. Even the traces of years of past service under Cupid’s banner do not frighten, and even the farewell from it is as cheerful as from a banquet. This French sheltered space appears most impressively in - Horace; and though the space has the effect of scaling down, it is not in the least scanty, on the contrary. Horace describes his life on the farm of the escaped Sabines, he describes it by inviting us to it; by welcoming his friend at the door; by praising country cooking, the cool Falemian wine and ‘carefree conversations, lasting through the night’. The image of this intensive ease can be more symp¬ tomatic of a man who is trying to be than the song of war, which merely makes a man beside himself. For the sign of happiness, as opposed to dangerous life, is that it is a wholehearted yes to man and to his collection. It contains, as long as it has no paunch, that quality of having turned out well, that harmonious relation between the inner and the outer life, the glorious expression of which is joy. Joy is the aristocracy of happiness, nothing can any longer challenge its claim to the status of happy life. It stands above eternal action as such, above the far from glorious seriousness of the man who again and again, in endless danger, has to - prove himself. Hence we see at last, without astonishment, that even a Nietzsche does not end in dangerous life. The detester of soft happiness becomes at a later stage the admonisher, though the still hectic admonisher, to be of good cheer. He praises dance and the readiness to dance, he describes the superman as one ‘whose happiness makes him turn’. If the striving for work is played off against the striving for happiness, the work itself has become a sermon against gloom and rainclouds; ‘where the work is, there are happy isles’.



If pleasure vulgarizes, and dangerous life for its own sake makes a person harassed and empty, depth is discovered in joy and in joy alone: ‘Desire seeks eternity, seeks deep, seeks deep eternity.’ With Dionysus, this is no little pleasure any more, no tick-tock or miserable cosiness. No Babbitt¬ feeling of a bad soldier who judges the success of a battle by his wounds. And is not great desire even called blessed? - it certainly is, and so for ages it has befitted the wise and the even better, smiling, not seeking quarrels. It is no coincidence that this smile seems French, constraint has disappeared from it, precise serenity shines through. But even less intense joy shares with blessed joy that utopian brightness which even the most colourfully-spotted beasts of prey lack. Brutality is contrasted by French happiness, but joy does not contrast with French happiness; instead it raises the glass of burgundy. If all men had their chicken in the pot and knew how to enjoy it, this would not result in diminution but in appetite for more. The advice to despise happiness comes not from the hero but from the exploiter. It is difficult for danger to cease, although it should. It is easy for joy to cease, although it should not.

Adventures of happiness As we know, good days can be dangerous in a different way.They are reckoned to be scarcely tolerable, whisky is too cheap, there is too much peace and quiet, too much harmony. The likelihood of such a state is of course slight, concern about it is premature and sermons against it reactionary. But, sporadically at least, a succession of good days can seem simply boring and therefore a danger to happiness and it is a fact that too many cheerful things end up being regarded sorrowfully. The reasons He not in happiness but in the person who experiences it. In the workhorse, no longer capable of enjoying idleness, in bourgeois idleness itself, which corresponds as exactly to everyday bourgeois experience as a cavity to the shape of the former tooth. On the lower level, the working man feels too out of sorts to enjoy happiness, and in better cases he does not feel ready for it. Hence precisely from the will to happiness a new, newly embracing glance falls on the soldierly Hfe. It certainly respects the dangerous life, never for its own sake but in order that it can be applied to happiness. In order for it to come through the shallows of happiness, keeping all the mud off it and conquering its depths, which are anyway inaccessible to merely passive, merely relaxed enjoyment. Dangerous Hfe, as our Being-



Beside-Ourselves, never has the last word, but it can have the penultimate word, in happiness itself and on the way to it. In the outflow of happiness there are adventures and careers of which the sedentary day or the vapidly relaxed evening notices nothing. Hence the relation of dangerous life to the happy life, correctly perceived, is like that of fire to light; precisely happiness shows the flash of outflowing fire. Where there is danger, rescue also grows,* but when this rescue is happiness it grows better beyond danger. But it must never be forgotten that happiness, unlike rapture, is a sign that a man is not beside himself but is coming to himself and to his Own, to our Now and Day.


Of all our ordinary actions not one in a thousand concerns us. That man there, beside himself with rage, climbing up a pitted wall, exposed to the fiery mouths of so many cannon: do you think he is there for his own interest? And this man coming out of his study after midnight, do you think he is studying how to be an ever more honest man, more content and wiser? Wrong - his ambition is to teach posterity the metre of Plautus’ poetry. Montaigne, Essays

A decent person The path to ourselves is also full of ambiguities. It is said that to be free is to be able to choose between two or several things. But the so-called free person has very seldom selected the things from which he has to choose. And then what is the chooser to do after he has made his decision? It would then be a matter of remaining committed to what had been given heartfelt affirmation. Of course, the soup is not eaten as hot as it is served, t which may be good, but also, and this may be less good, a lot of water * From Holderlin’s poem ‘Patmos’. See also Vol. I, p. 112. t The metaphorical meaning of this expression is equivalent to the English ‘Things are never as bad as they seem’.



is poured into the wine. The wiser man gives in is one counsel here; this may even be exaggerated into the highly dubious proposition that a cause may be recognized more in being combatted than in being espoused. But this may very quickly lead to running with the pack or even to becoming a traitor. The other, nobler counsel is to stick to one’s task through thick and thin. It is addressed not to the wiser but to the absolutely loyal man, the man who is utterly without guile, of course also in the sense that he suspects no guile in others. But then again this loyalty can be abstract, can go hand in hand with stubbornness and even - far less loyal to the cause itself than it appears - with the fool who goes it alone. Thus it is already clear here that none of these attitudes can be consolidated. Not even loyalty, as long as it is supplied as the right and substantial kind by those who have no right to loyalty. And precisely where the cause is the right one, giving way and giving in can be a means of fighting it through. He who decides to do this may if necessary give in on small points in order to gain victory in the main cause. All this must, of course, be limited to small things and even within this limitation must always occur only for the sake of the great, the serious. For there are prices that one does not pay, not even tactically. Such a price is obviously anything connected with the cause itself, for the sake of which and only for the sake of which tactical and temporary concessions may be made. The dividing line here is thin, and the decent man walks along it, if it cannot be avoided, both cleverly and unwaveringly. Otherwise, as can easily be seen, the clever man would not also be the best man who has the last laugh.

Fabius or the hesitant man of action The man who decides too quickly often wishes that he had not done so. But also the apprehensive man who delays and reflects too long is not always an inspiring sight. His panel is inscribed more haste less speed, around it are missed opportunities. Fabius was the first who became famous and immediately also notorious as a hesitator; because of him, Rome came close to destruction. This consul reflected for too long, missed opportunities, but Hannibal was not worn down. Many Fabians have appeared since then, and very rarely have they achieved anything. In will pondered and contem¬ plated too long the will itself at last dies out, diminishes like anger contemplated. This also applies to the revolutionary act and its anger, it becomes temporizing, agreeable to the lukewarm. Then along comes the



creeping revolutionary movement or the upheaval which leaves everything as it was before. The right name for this is that of the English Fabian Society or of the Labour Party, which is full of its sweet lemonade. The Fabian Society, founded in 1884 by Sidney Webb, at least did not need to apply the brakes at the time, it merely expressed English slow-movingness; but German social democracy from 1918 onwards chose Fabius definitely as a preventer. Upheaval then takes place gently and is merely called evolution, private property is abolished when the time for it is as safe as a man with a bank account. Thus the decisive act is again and again left to children and grandchildren, and it is characteristic of this kind of postponement that the path becomes all, the goal nothing. ‘I don’t know what this means,’ says Fontane’s Kommerzienrat Treibel, ‘it’s the kind of question that probably comes up many times, especially on excursions to the country. ’ Socialism for the preachers of wine and drinkers of water is or was always only future, always only a country for their children, and the path itself knows no decisions but only a thousand provisos. Until the end, when the eternal discusser, with the goal at hand, recoils in dread from it. This dread is due not only to the guiding image of delay but to bourgeois infection: reformists then shun not merely the act but also the content of revolution like sin. Thus Fabius is always most unpleasantly surprised when a buyer decides quickly and clinches the deal. The hesitator protects himself against many follies but not the greatest: arriving too late. This would not be an objective misfortune if the Fabians merely stood apart, kept well behind in their stagnant backwater. But the Fabians also produced among other things the so-called level-headed sections of the working class and preside over them. They thus served the interests of those dashing protagonists who represented the violence of which the hesitators said that they would bow to it and to it alone. It was not, as we know, red violence but that of the quick putsch, the unscrupulous murder, the reactionary decision. Thus the hesitators of the good gave the putschists of evil a leg up into the saddle; a historical example which stands for many. The slow have almost always been in league with the swift on the other side, against their will, but sometimes, in their heart of hearts, together with them. Soft-pedalling is just as abstract as smashing down doors, of which more shortly, and corresponds to it, though it must certainly be added that the fascist smashing down of doors occurred only at huts but was extremely adept at hesitating in the case of the palaces. This robs the swift heroic deed of a good deal of its abstractness; even more than in the case of the cunningly slow Fabians. Because the Fabians



suffered rather than acted, all those they led now really had to become long-sufferers and nothing else.

Sorel, Machiavelli or energy and the wheel of fortune The strong man operates quite differently, he strikes with genuine power. Does not beat about the bush, rather acts suddenly, leaps forth like a wolf in the night. Acts even in unfavourable circumstances, and against them; for him, ‘circumstances’ are merely things which stand around the cause. Thus the swift heroic deed and the fascist attitude appear pure, but not only these. The panel with the motto: ‘Fortune favours the brave’ or with the picture of opportunity grasped by the forelock because it is bald at the back, this panel is widespread. It is carried by anarchists and syndicalists too, by all movements which utopianize violence as creative. The pure activist and the impure fascist both have at least this notion in mind: that they must take by surprise. For such action in itself most, if not all, things seem possible at all times. If necessary it must wait until the enemy has reached the right place, but then comes the attack, comes rather too soon than too late. It comes with the blinding force of fear which paralyses, with a suddenness which, at least in the beginning, that is all-important here, simplifies the obstacles. The world is regarded essentially as a game of chance, and if the trump card is not already in it, it can be conjured in at any time. The fascist takes his chances, external chances, like every capitalist criminal, he is after all a master of capitalist reality, but where the chances are weak and the goal lures he is far from disdaining flagrantly dirty tricks. The old warhorse, the old-fashioned heroic exploit here find themselves mingled in with the desperado and his corriger la fortune: ‘Here are the dice for the tremendous game’, exclaimed Spengler, ‘who dares to cast them?’ An out-and-out gambler is called upon, a habitue of double-dealing fortune, who, by the power of his resolution and of his loaded dice, hopes to bewitch lucky chance, which everything here seems to be. Bismarck, the Iron Chancellor and forger of the Ems Telegram,* said that fruits do not ripen faster if you put an oil lamp under them. But the The Ems Telegram: the royal telegram from the promenade at Ems, sent by Wilhelm I to Bismarck, in which the Prussian King gave an account of his refusal to provide the French Ambassador with guarantees that a Hohenzollern would not accept the Spanish crown. Bismarck doctored this telegram for the German press, presenting the French demands as an affront to the Prussian monarchy and a challenge to war. He thus engineered the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870.



age in which the swift heroic deed coincides so uniquely with the tempo of bourgeois softening and the softening seems to erode even the law of becoming, this age encourages the ruling class to all kinds of relativism, including even uninhibited crime. Gentile,* the Italian quasi-theorist of fascism, logically replaced historical connections with a ‘unity of the pure spirit’, as the actively founding or grounding unity. Its signs are supposed to be presence of mind and the technique of mass control; the unity of this so-called spirit lives in the grande animatore, the Fuhrer. Presence of mind can thus immediately transform an unfavourable into a favourable turn of events, and control of the masses makes the will of the mob uniform at a stroke - whether by brute force or by magnetism. The present, even objectively, is everything, past and future, inhibitions as well as tendencies, officially count for nothing in this undetermined, breakable world of chance, politics is ‘creation from unformed primal matter’. In the German version, the world is not wholly unformed only because the time to be used is always a time of wolves and the space to be used contains so-called geopolitical structures which calculation, as calculation of world domination, despite all ‘irrationalism’, certainly has to reckon with. The mass movement here too is pervaded by chance, but by means of the race theory this chance was also interpreted in terms of a heroically trivialized Darwinism. Thus a number of speciously lawful lines came into allegedly amorphous world substance, quite apart from the wholly unfantastic capitalist lines which were really being followed. Nonetheless, the belief in a generally boundless will-power and its miracle-working remained; it re-surfaced not least at the end of the Nazi period, precisely at the graveside. The struggle for existence rages on endlessly, without legal or other forms of hair-splitting, with the ‘eternal natural right of the stronger’ as its sense and content. This kind of activism, evil activism of course, obviously derives its theory of the all-powerful ‘atto puro’ not only from Gentile. It derives it from Sorel and also from Nietzsche, although in places to a different text. Above all there is a connection, established through long popularization, with the main teacher of the technique of power: with Machiavelli. Yet neither Sorel nor Nietzsche consciously intended their use by fascism; to this extent their wishful images of power are still ante rem. Sorel’s theory of action was even revolutionary and syndicalist in intention and in 1919, in the last edition of ‘Reflections on violence’, he hailed Lenin as the accomplisher; Nietzsche’s will to power had already turned away from Bismarck’s * Giovanni Gentile (1875-1944), Italian Idealist philosopher and Mussolini’s minister of education.



empire, and fascism for him would perhaps have been ridiculous and a painful shame. Nonetheless, both philosophies were usable by fascism; Sorel in particular, with his political elan vital into the empty, the unpreordered, influenced fascism. This kind of belief in the will, which is psychotechnological, has already been noted within the technological utopias (cf. Vol. II, p. 683); the belief that the will has no limits. This belief now most definitely pays off, as the hope of moving mountains by political decision. ‘Force individualiste dans les masses soulevees’, ‘accumulation d’exploits heroiques’* are, in this still proletarian theory of activity, expected to go on general strike, at any time, immediately, everywhere. Proletarian ‘violence creatrice’ together with intuition are to topple capitalism; success depends solely on the ‘etat de guerre auquel les hommes acceptent de participer et qui se traduit en mythes precis.’t (Reflexions sur la violence, 1919. P- 3I9)- The proletarian element here, however, obviously lies only in the impulse, not in a clear class content and in the economic-historical mediations of its path. On the contrary, Sorel, all spontaneity in this respect, wants thunderstorms everywhere, but nowhere electric power stations, wires laid. The elan political and its wishful will are therefore so broad or so empty in their enthusiasm that Sorel in choosing his models combines movements with quite divergent social mandates. In the same breath he praises the warlike will to glory of the Spartans and Romans, the revolu¬ tionary wars of 1792, the German wars of liberation of 1813; the heroic storm here seems to be almost sufficient in itself. On top of these come the ‘mythes precis’, probably also archetypes in which Again and Again appears, history is submerged. A mythical image of freedom takes its place, is that which enthuses and drives the enthusiastic mass forward. It is that which gives the strength for martyrdom as well as the courage for vertu, for the unlimited use of violence, for the inevitable triumph. According to Sorel, it is only through this impulse in itself that a class becomes a historical motor; it certainly does not become one through party offices and manifestos. Sorel with his hope in the power of shock tactics is clearly attacking not only social democracy, the bureaucratization of a would-be revolution. Nor is he merely attacking the incorporation of the revolu¬ tion into liberal Fabianism, into endless chatter, into discussion which is endlessly putting things off, into parliamentarianism (with ‘truth in the middle’). Rather Sorel is objecting to all so-called schemata which master

‘Individualist force in the risen masses’, ‘accumulation of heroic exploits’, t ‘state of war in which men agree to participate and which is translated into precise myths.’



and rationalize life from outside, indeed he even turns the dream of the actus purus against - utopia. This too is rejected as the product of reasoning sti¬ pulation, as the invention of intellectuals and literati; not because it contains too little but because it contains too much science. Engels of all people, with his progress from utopia to science, is described as a typical rationalist; despite the fact that Sorel believed himself to be a Marxist. Of course, his Marxism is denuded of everything except the subjective volitional factor, which he makes totally absolute. Finally only Bakunin peeps out of this isolated putsch theory, as well as a Bergson injected into the will: as elan vital made thelic. The swift heroic act shares with the elan vital rational indeterminability and lack of content; this is why the myth of the general strike could so easily be exploited for reactionary purposes. This is why pure belief in will, as action for its own sake, could both approve of Lenin and pave the way for Mussolini. Just as Bergson’s elan vital could be used in different ways, simultaneously to justify a return to the Catholic church and atheistic anarchism. In Sorel’s call to violence there is so little trust in any co-operative element in history that history does not even appear amorphous, as it later does in Gentile. Rather for Sorel it is the same as matter for Bergson: sinking life which finally petrifies into a caput mortuum. History left to itself is nothing but decay and decline; consequently even from here nothing approaches from the will to power but that which calls it up: the enemy. ‘La deterioration, c’est le seul mouvement dans le monde’;* here is the extreme antithesis to Fabianism, which, with arms folded, anticipated a cheap, indeed a gratis sunrise. But here also is the most untenable antithesis to the historical-dialectical factor with which Marxists are in alliance. Anarcho-syndicalist energy thus inevitably becomes spasm and minority; for in the face of external tendencies to deterioration movements towards greatness would always be forced, and only movements towards chance would then be natural. The day of radical negation, of sovereign assertion, would thus require no ripening, for example of productive forces; it would always come in time to dawn and to break in with violence. The stroke against the current would supposedly always be necessary; thus the proletarian appears here with regard to the fate of decline as fate himself, as the blind workhorse of the necessary transition. As for pure violence, the western bourgeois unfortunately always had far more of it at his disposal than the proletariat; thus the actus purus became not general strike but coup d’etat. The strong man must always be careful to maintain his power. For this * ‘Decay is the only movement in the world.’



purpose any means will do, what is sought is merely the best choice and application of these means. The main theorist of this cold and not, as in Sorel, hot-blooded dream of violence is and remains Machiavelli. Every form of fascist trickery has prided itself on Machiavelli, though without ‘ proletarian’demagogic detours. Yet shabby dishonesty is utterly alien to Machiavelli’s grand style, and unscrupulousness could also be studied elsewhere, among the Jesuits for instance. Besides, Machiavelli is no hypocrite, he invoked neither an old nor a new morality, he omitted considerations of morality from the world of violence of which he wrote. It had never been there anyway, and now the mask falls too; what is taught is the technique of pure, irresistible success. Machiavelli’s book is about the prince, not the man, and it is simply a theory of the art of conquest and domination. Morality has no place here because it serves no purpose; it has no more place than absentmindedness in fencing or the order of columns in the building of fortifications. No admittance to this site for unauthorized persons; and for Machiavelli moral considerations have always been unauthorized in the power sphere with which his ‘Prince’ is concerned. The rationalized technique of political victory, this is the subject of this book of methodology, a book which is not so much cynical as artificially isolated. And if, as in this specific case, the victory is that of an Italian nation-state, Machiavelli even abandons the virtue which in itself, outside this purpose, he holds most dear: republican virtue. In the ‘Discourses’ on Livy he is a fanatical republican, in the ‘Prince’ he posits princely absolutism. For this appears to him the best machine of violence (especially against the Church) in the national conflict of interests. But the art of fencing of the will has here too an apparently lawless world before it, one on which, for this very reason, the more disciplined will can impose itself. In two ways, according to the humanly visible or conversely anonymous disposition of the adversary: either by intrigue or by iron manliness, by virtu. All these guiding panels themselves presuppose a world of will-matter which is not disciplined but drive-based and therefore controllable. Intrigue, which deals with a humanly visible adversary, can at least still observe the emotions which it plays off against one another; indeed, calculation is the essence of the intriguer. However, the rest of the works of people and of history, the anonymous world, is so thoroughly emotion-ridden that it does not even represent a mechanism consisting of emotions, a mechanism which would be calculable if not comprehensible, but merely - a wheel of fortune. The antithesis of virtu is fortuna; in the face of which the only counsel is to use one’s energy and strike regardless. Hence Machiavelli’s contempt for the dilettante, ‘who performs



his task half-heartedly, with half-cruelties and half-virtues’; hence the Either - Or: Virtu ordinata or the unsupervised world of chance. The world becomes a battlefield between virtus-ingenium and fortuna: ‘Fate is mighty where no power is ready to resist it, and it rolls on relentlessly where there are no dykes and dams to check it’ (II Principe, 1532, ch. 25). Thus the new bourgeois man of action appears most vigorously in Machiavelli but even more the pure power-hope in the chaotic background which this presupposes. Distrust of objective tendencies connects Machiavelli with fascism, just as it abstractly connects the beginning and the end of the bourgeois era. In both cases the world is seen as a pile of passions and contingencies; with the difference that in the Renaissance the concept of its law was still knocking on the door whereas in fascism it is thrown out of the door. Furthermore, Machiavelli wishes to be Roman in his virtus, like Cato, Sulla, Caesar; but in his fortuna, which is typically anarchic and alien to man, he is not at all Roman but medieval. Precisely Sulla felt himself to be, and called himself, Sulla Felix by virtue of the special connection he believed he had with Fortuna-Tyche, which for the Romans and the Stoics was still the same as providence, indeed grace. Precisely in the heyday of Rome the element of chance had increasingly been thought away, felt away from Fortuna; the changeable fortunes of war, where the fate of empires could hang on an unoccupied or occupied hill, also seemed to have been eliminated in the Pax Romana as necessity. It was only in late Rome that, for obvious socio-political reasons, Tyche, and especially Ananke, the once so highly rated necessity, were demonized. It was not until the Middle Ages that Fortuna was completely reduced to the wheel of fortune, the capricious up and down of the world; as in Machiavelli. All that remain are caprice and approximation, a world-woman who needs the whip, a wheel of fortune which can be stopped by energetic action. The swift heroic act everywhere presupposes this Fortuna, just as Fabius or the hesitant man of action conversely presupposes the mills of God, secularized into a spirit of progress which grinds by its own power. Things are in a bad way with the latter though, as we know. Indeed the Fabian, with his lack of subjective factor, first invited the technician of violence on to the scene. This time no Prince, but a gangster who stops the wheel of fortune. And the answer to the double question of the best form of political action is: neither non-violent hesitation nor cunning abstractness of violence, but violence concretely mediated, as the ‘midwife of the new society which the old carries in its womb’. This decision by Marx is comforting; it does not, like the impotent vacillators and Fabians, demand



of history a virgin birth, nor does it, like the advocates of violence, regard history as a barren whore. There is the great moment and the fainthearted generation* which is unable to grasp it; perhaps there is also the reverse. But only when strength and the ripe opportunity coincide, a double stroke of good fortune, with men ready for action and the time fulfilled, does the cause have the blessing of history, which makes victory inevitable. This is then not the victory of the tamer or even of the idle belief in progress as such which will simply dry all tears of its own accord; here is necessity at the same time obeyed and controlled.

Problem of breaking, Hercules at the crossroads, Dionysus-Apollo People are divided to the same extent that they are dark and indefinite. The will itself is split within them, sometimes aiming so to speak downwards, sometimes so to speak upwards. This is an old to and fro, pre-dating Christianity, between the flesh and the soul and an old restlessness about which of the two is better. The flesh is considered not only susceptible to attack but also attacking and thus egotistical. The soul is frequently pictured as noble and precious, altruistic wishes about our own behaviour and particularly the behaviour of others reverberate within it. Ever since Adam Smith and even earlier, attempts have often been made to reconcile selfishness and benevolence, these competing impulses, by the advantage of others seeming to be an extension of our own, especially in doings and dealings, and vice versa. But even in bourgeois society, not only in medieval society, the so-called joy of the senses and so-called peace of soul are directly opposed. And according to Schiller men have only the anxious choice between them. This is a theme with many variations, one of the will at the crossroads in its search for the most profitable but also the most pacified specific being. It is this division to which the old fable of Hercules at the crossroads owes its widespread popularity, which was clearly pre-Christian. Lust and virtue beckon here from the future, both standing on one leg, each with a value and a hope which sometimes one figure lacks, sometimes the other. The fable of this choice ranges from Prodikos, the Sophist who first told it, through Xenophon to Christoph Wieland (whose extolled choice of harsh virtue one cannot quite believe). The divided Hercules is also found in the puppet play Doctor Faustus; on the left below the doctor Cf. Goethe/Schiller, ‘Xenien’, 31.



earthly delights call, on the right above him heavenly delights, on his left evil flames and roars, on his right the good shines and calms. These are the two souls that dwell in Faust’s breast*, the earthly and the heavenly, the soul of the body and that of his noble ancestors, of the super-ego which comforts spiritually. In erotic terms, with so many interesting or banal variants, this is the wishful tension between Carmen and Elisabeth. And even here the crossroads image still holds good because not only earthly delights entice but also the inscription promising rest, the joys of the mind and peace. Above all in the north, in the world of bad weather and of cooler desires or at least of more barren springs, there is a converse entice¬ ment: to return to the cell, where the lamp glows cheerfully again. The cloister is less ascetic here than in the south, but on the other hand the northern type can find carefree sensual pleasure as difficult as asceticism, especially since capitalism and Protestantism have deprived him of all naivety and holiday potency. This is why here the advice to follow the path of pleasure can contain just as much renunciation and just as much propaganda as the advice to enter a monastery in the south. Nietzsche, for example, when he urges profit zealots but also brooding Fausts to become ‘laughing lions’, certainly had the incipient imperialist age on his side, with its mandate and transition towards the irrational, but his Dionysus-Apollo antithesis, occurring in the north, presents the Dionysian as equally non-given and celebrated it as a distant, even tropical wishful entity. And this further meant that even the full creature for which the Dionysian stands does not here seem self-evident, so that men need merely to rise above it, as something given, to attain peace of soul; but the Dionysian, too, is utopian. Precisely Nietzsche, with his Dionysus-Apollo antithesis, gave new utopian life to the tension between sensual pleasure and peace of soul, which had become philistine and commonplace. And he gave it, not to the frenzy, as a glowing fermentation, but against his will also to the Apollonian light, because this contains the conquered Dionysus within it; both have to be worked on, both are incomplete. The incomplete Dionysus, in Nietzsche’s work, is that which rebels against reduction, domestication, suppression of wild drives. It is the supposedly Primal, consisting of blood, night, frenzy, cymbals and the beating of gongs, but this pre-logical god is also the becoming-unbecome god. As such, he is only now supposed to posit spring: ‘Fie who has become wise from old origins, behold, he will at last search for the sources of the future and for new origins’ (Zarathustra, On old and new tables, 25). * Cf. Faust, Part I, 1112: ‘There are two souls, alas! within my breast.’



Thus the Dionysian wishful image does not end with the beast of prey and colourfully spotted regressio, it also knows the lust of the future, stands beside an enigmatic god of becoming. It has incomplete sealedness within it, but this does not of course disappear in Nietzsche’s image of Apollo, because, contrary to the agreement and the historical evidence, Apollo is completely omitted from the process of Becoming. Apollo for Zarathustra-Antichrist is merely the patron of taming and reduction, all perverters of instinct and slanderers of life are close to him. Socrates and Jesus are slandered and reduced along with this Apollo, and Apollo becomes pale intellect, domesticating moderation: all this is supposedly only the decline of life and of the still unlived golden resonance in the human creature himself. Nietzsche thus removes the Apollonian wishful image and its god from the sun, which is forever being highly praised in Zarathustra: ‘When I created the superman, I arranged around him the great veil of Becoming and made the sun stand above him at noon.’ The sun-god Apollo in Nietzsche is therefore not used as the expression of the light which shines in the sky above the frenzied sea, as the language god of Becoming - ‘like the sun, which talks the sea into reaching its height’. But by introducing the guiding image height-sun-noon over the sea, Nietzsche had to make Apollo the spokesman of Dionysus after all and thus made him the opposite of mere flat intellect. Apollo is the ‘abyss in the heights’, one who contains the abyss of the depths and who, like it, is incomplete. The Greeks had as unexhausted a feeling for the image of Apollo as for the Dionysian, they clothed it in Nietzsche’s veil of Becoming as dialectical ambiguity. Not without malice towards the philistine masters of moderation, the Greek legend says that when Apollo was born an oracle prophesied to his mother that her son would one day be given many names; he who strikes from afar, this name which is certainly neither relaxing nor relaxed was his first. In fact even today the naming, the categorial history of Apollo is still uncompleted, indeed it is the Dionysian ferment, the ferment of the will itself which continues in the clarification, in the always transfinite determination. Precisely the excess of frenzied possibility and indeterminateness which is signified by the word Dionysus indicates how much subject-illumination, how much - Apollo, still remains to be done in men. The Dionysian fire and its wishful image, like the flame, is both still and moving, but the Apollonian light has careers far beyond the standstills of reduction or of historical fixation. Hard though the tension between flesh and spirit is, it has become, in this form alone, tedious. This is due to the fixity of each one, only the choice has not been fixed, but it always seems to be one between the same



two paths. It is just this which seems philistine, like a change which alternates only between known quantities, seeing if the coin turns up heads or tails. Nietzsche was mentioned above because instead of pleasure of the senses - peace of the soul he posited the more utopian Dionysus-Apollo, yet the rigid choice remained. Again and again one guiding panel has been played off against the other, again and again the creaturely panel has been smashed by the moral or conversely, in would-be paganism, a so-called liberation of the flesh from the spirit has been brought in, literarized. Again and again attempts have also been made at synthesis, so that morality is possible and developable not as a break with, but as a blossoming of the human creature; for example, in contrast to Puritan and Kantian dualism, in the works of Shaftesbury, Rousseau, Schiller. However, this blossoming theory also proves narrow and static by limiting the human creature to mere so-called egotism and morality to mere so-called altruism; after which, in supposed harmony of interests, two blurred guiding panels can easily be made into one. Dualism, on the other hand, retains the sharpness of a crossroads, makes no combination out of it, but it pays for its inter¬ pretation of the creaturely or the intelligible man with even greater statics of both and with an antithesis kept completely undialectical. As a result, the two souls that dwell in Faust’s breast merely rub narrowly and falsely self-righteously against each other; hence Kant’s dualism is sour, Nietzsche’s dualism wild. Hence an isolated, antithetical Dionysus gives off little more than fermenting will-matter, though with the exhortation of the fire. Hence an isolated, antithetical Apollo finally seems devoid of content, and his purity, abstracted from all abyss, lives only in pale skies. In all, it is clear that Dionysus and Apollo are far from being grasped in sufficiently processual, processual-utopian terms. They are, like all earlier and similar antitheses, reified. They are still not in the utopian current to which men in body and in spirit are called, have not passed the mere vestibule in which they linger. The vestibule to still-unknown self-hood, self-identity, where there is no more division. The very fact that there is a choice between these guiding panels, and that neither choice satisfies, points to the lasting X with which both are struggling: the incompleteness and the incognito of the human essence. Only as themselves incomplete, not as fixed answers which can be played off against one another, are the alternating concepts of flesh-spirit, Dionysus-Apollo thus also meaningful. They form not a crossroads but an intertwined experimental path, and the sought and wishedfor goal does not coincide with either of the alternatives. Except in the dialectical resolution of both, in the Dionysian determined in Apollonian



terms, in the Apollonian which has the entire Dionysian content. This kind of thing can only even begin to happen in a society which no longer behaves competitively, not even in the choice between the pleasure of the senses and peace of soul. Where wholeness appears and melts down reified particularities, and where partial elements of a moving wholeness no longer contrast and struggle with one another as fetishes. Ultimately the whole question of the relation between natural and moral man is class-historical illusion, and as such transparent and already antiquated. Neither is the pre-domesticated type of man so wonderfully complete that he only needs to be unpacked and unleashed, nor has domestication in historical class society, despite the many names of Apollo to which it has advanced, established a morality so perfect in content as to justify suppressing everything in the human creature which does not correspond to it. Even the new kingdom which Jesus’ sermon against the old Adam and about him has opened up has not yet revealed the human incognito to the extent that there is now no doubt about our final and essential face. Now as before it still appears in a glass darkly,* and Paul impresses on his Christians that they too have yet to be changed into the ‘open face’.J Man is by no means, as the catechism hoped, an angel riding a tamed beast; for it is neither settled that the human X of determinability is a beast nor that the currently valid norm image of the rider is an angel. Thus precisely Apollo’s utopia, nurtured on the unopened and on Dionysus himself, intends this third term, beyond the sterile sensuality-morality pair and the anxious choice which dualism left between them. And on the path to this still only approaching third element, that of undistorted Being-With-Ourselves, Dionysus is regarded as nothing but the caretaker of that which is burning and unresolved in man; he remains the dark fire in the abyss. Apollo is regarded as nothing but the continuing determination of fermenting matter designated as Dionysus; he remains the abyss on high, the abyss brought up on high. Both remain unfinished, as is the human content which they intend and to which - here in the will and the flesh, there in the spirit - they are moving. Man himself has not yet been found, either as Dionysian or as Apollonian, indeed his incognito is still so great that the Dionysian and the Apollonian song and wishful image before him are both right and wrong. Drive-will and spirit oscillate, and that which they

‘For now we see through a glass darkly;’ i Corinthians 13, 12. t ‘But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord’, 2 Corinthians, 3, 18.



reciprocally form, in dialectical wholeness, will itself have only one name. It is the last name of Apollo, but also the first name of Dionysus; after which both alternatives disappear.

Vita activa, vita contemplativa or the world of the chosen good part The rivalry between the glowing and the bright song continues in highly outward form. In two desirable forms of the right life: that of action and that of contemplative stillness. The two forms may alternate directly with one another (as in the sequence workday-Sunday) or they may permeate one another (which will only be possible after the abolition of forced labour). But the question remains: which wishful image predominates, even in possible permeation, which more evidently contains that which is man’s? An Arab proverb says that beautiful women are good for a week, good women are beautiful for a lifetime. The good woman may be the active one, in the sense of running the household, the beautiful woman the one worth contemplating and probably devoted to contemplating herself. But what if activity or contemplation can be weighed up simultaneously, next to each other, alternately? A much-interpreted saying of Jesus on his wanderings with his disciples deals with this searching question of what is our better part: ‘Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her’ (Luke io, 38-42). This judgement seems quite clearly to set the contemplative person above the active. Of course, contemplation was always especially given precedence over toil wherever slavery was the dominant mode of production, and labour, this predominantly slavish activity, was thus degrading for the free man. Yet even the noble life of action, with predominance of the will and the emotions, never held sway unchallenged. The controversy about this, once formulated, flared up in the high and late Middle Ages: between the ‘theoretical’ Christianity of the Dominicans and the ‘practical’



Christianity of the Franciscans. And the Martha-Mary problem seemed so tremendous that it touched the medieval heaven itself. The question: action or contemplation, primacy of the will or of the intellect, was ultimately extended to include the medieval scholastic God himself. Duns Scotus, the doctor subtilis of the Franciscans, taught the universal primacy of the activity of the will over the spirit, Thomas Aquinas, the doctor angelicus of the Dominicans, taught the equally universal primacy of the spirit over the will. God is thus, like Jesus in Martha’s room, first and most supremely grasped in the former case by love, in the latter by contemplative cognition. Accordingly Thomas puts intellect above will-power in men too, as their guide, indeed their ideal content-related determination, and the theoretical virtues - here not least following the example of Aristotle - above the practical. Martha is lingering in the vestibule of perfect life, but Mary, says Thomas, already enjoys the ‘angelic bread of contemplation’ - pars mentis aeterna est intellectus,* and its fruit is peace (Quaest. 79). Thus there appears in Thomas the same order of priority which Dante establishes between two sisters from the Old Testament: Leah as oprare, Rachel as vedere (Purg. XXVII, 1.108). The mystic of the Dominicans, Eckhart, also praised the contemplative life, though not of course in quite the same way as Thomas. Eckhart wrote a sermon on the passage in Luke, praises Martha’s ‘steadfast diligence’ whereas he merely respects Mary’s ‘freedom from works’. Thus Eckhart reinterprets Jesus’ answer by means of many additions: ‘Martha feared that her sister would stick fast in ecstasy and in fine feelings and wanted her to become like herself. Christ’s answer means: be content, Martha, she too has chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her. This excess’ (what is meant is the excess of contemplation) ‘will pass; the highest good that a creature can be granted will be her portion, she will become holy like you. ’ The Dominican Eckhart, with this interpretation, reinterpretation, falls out of line with the intellectualism of his order, but not for long. For in his teaching as a whole the master of reading thoroughly wins the day over the master of living: the soul which sets forth and returns home, the coming forth of the world from God and its return to him, all these activities and hopes consist of various steps in a process of cognition and are therefore due after all to an ultimate primacy of theoretical virtues. In principle only the Franciscans thus put vita activa above vita contemplativa, a vita activa which aimed at being love and caritas, not yet anything else. Orcagna, on the predella panel of his altar-piece in S. Maria Novella, depicted the vita activa in ‘the intellect is the eternal part of the mind.’



the form of the - sacrifice of the mass. Although of course the love which never ceases came closer and closer to bourgeois efficiency towards the end of the Middle Ages. In subtle transitions to homo oeconomicus, to homo faber and to capitalist industry, where of course love certainly did cease. Never¬ theless, the old alternative did not disappear at all in the new conditions, always undergoing far more concrete modifications than the inward-static alternative between flesh and spirit, worldliness and spirituality. It now runs, as a double voice, through the bourgeois person’s day - all the more so because the ruling class had now abolished the maxim that work degrades. This is the Protestant or workday line of ever-striving effort; though close to capitalist efficiency, it nonetheless comes from its better times. Significant here is Lessing’s observation on truth: that it is God’s alone, and that the striving for truth is the prerogative of man alone and remains desirable for him alone. But next to or above this runs the Sunday line, a Catholic one, even where no Catholics have followed it; along it the old primacy of contem¬ plation and vision, of the fruitio veritatis as the highest good, applies. This thoroughly theoretical consciousness, with its equally theoretical content, therefore culminates in Spinoza, even more so ultimately in Hegel; even amor Dei here is understanding, and the last word in wisdom is again only the mind which knows itself to be mind. And yet even with these essentially contemplative thinkers, as bourgeois thinkers, active ‘fortitudo’, the ‘practical mind’ come right up close to the ethereal sphere of contemplative intellectuality, gaining it for the first time. For bourgeois production and the bourgeois world of work no longer allow Mary or contemplation unques¬ tioned primacy over Martha or the life accomplished in activity. On the whole, the workday line cannot be mediated at all with the Sunday line in class society, especially as interest in work has increasingly dropped out of the working day and the art of rest and of fulfilling contemplativeness have increasingly dropped out of Sunday. Revolutionary movements certainly do not permit any relieved stretching out on a bed of ease, even though their goal is nothing but life beyond work. Thus the ambivalence between practical and theoretical virtue also shows how much experimentingly unfinished material still lies in both. How little one or the other already contains a sheer human content capable of the answer. How intensively the dark glass in which the human incognito looks at itself again and again puts Martha and Mary one behind the other, behind each other in the mere foreground. Even the frequently low forms in which this double life can appear are connected with this. These would not be possible if activity or contempla¬ tion already clearly contained that which is man’s. Both Martha and Mary



appear distorted in capitalist existence, but they are also still capable of this distortion. Active life has become the drudgery of the exploited and the incessant bustle which profiteers make for themselves. It is even a selfdeception here that the capitalist really acts and decides in his business. He is tied to unfathomed and uncontrolled movements of commodities which stand opposite him and permit only the taking of chances. The contemplative life, on the other hand, is based largely on a system of sinecures or, equally dubious, on alms, and thus, imagining itself to be free intelligence, it adorns the alleged freedom from interest of pure theory. But in reality this is highly interested, namely in the justification of existing conditions or in withdrawal into the antiquarian museum. Consequently the difference on both guiding panels spins emptily and both point in capitalism to an empty, an ever emptier land. Consequently Marxists, as lovers of humane contents and their promotion, have become especially suspicious of vita contemplativa. For them the world has far too long merely been interpreted in different ways; whereas the duty of science, as con¬ science, is to change it fundamentally, i.e. from the finally moving foundations. At the same time, however, this Marxist decision contains a way out of the undialectical dualism which has so far kept spellbound even the vita activa - vita contemplativa guiding panels. A new level is at last reached in Marxist terms, that of revolutionary practice; it is already preparing the resolution of the workday-Sunday duality. And it would not be revolutionary practice at all if it did not contain contemplation as well as action as elements, united and resolved in the oscillation of theory-practice. Nowhere is there more genuine theoretical objectivity, greater emphasis on intellectual virtue than in Marxism, nowhere is the decision, on the basis of cognition and its staying power, more actively put into effect. The low types, the caricatures which have equally trivialized and degraded Martha and Mary alike, especially in the capitalist area, now disappear. How many wrigglers stand or stood under the merely active guiding panel, how many crude and intellectually empty individuals: types incapable of a minute of col¬ lection, acting from a worm’s-eye view and acting only because of it. As if there were no other insight than that which leads to a rapid turnover, or as if the Milky Way were there to be turned into butter. On the other hand, how many spineless types stand or stood under the merely contemplative guiding panel, how many intellectually incestuous, educated nonentities: types incapable of a decision, collectors of unsystematized, unflowing, aimless knowledge. Even when it is systematized, this kind of contempla¬ tion, if it remains detached, dispatches that which is its own into the



indifference of the museum; it still contains vision, but only of things which have become corpses. Bertram, the disciple of Stefan George, attacks the cheaply active, the bustling riff-raff when he asks: ‘Who made the noble, slow, exalted vision/Into the swift rescuer’s glance? is this already death?’ - certainly not, but death is closer to degenerate vision than to degenerate activity. On the other hand - and Marxism is fully aware of this aspect of the problem of cultural inheritance -, on the other hand past ages were not without the only sublime kind of contemplativeness. The expression of concentration, which is or was so closely connected with vita contemplativa, is captured in Holbein’s painting of Erasmus, the expression of studious elapsion time and again in Diirer’s ‘St Jerome in his Cell’. An element of the Thomist primacy of the intellect appears, undischarged precisely in theory-practice, as does an expression of wisdom, precisely in the restful, rest-assigned manner, which Dehio describes in Diirer’s so highly collected depiction that has elapsed from ‘Melencolia’ itself: ‘He (Jerome) sits, a small figure, in the background; if all the lines of perspective did not lead to him one might miss him; but his spirit is communicated to the whole room, immersing everything in it in contentment and peace: one seems to hear nothing in this holy silence but the rustling of the pen as it moves over the parchment, the animals are asleep, and the skull, looking almost friendly, promises a deeper, final rest.’ The language of the monastery is in Diirer’s engraving, the language of the studious cloister, the language of the humaniora and of their university, which, precisely from the perspec¬ tive of activity, are closer to Marxism than all the shoddy pragmatisms of profit. And its practice itself has life beyond work in its foundations and therefore a depth and a rest which does not pale in comparison with Jerome’s. The whole relation seems so complicated only because, even in and precisely in theory-practice, rebus sic stantibus it is still copied from the old dualism of practical and theoretical virtues. This very dualism is ultimately groundless or the reified division of mere elements; in existence without forced labour and in mere exemption from forced labour the entire question of precedence disappears. Just as a classless condition leaves behind it the creature-discipline, Dionysus-Apollo antithesis as it advances in self¬ movement, self-identification, so also the tension between theoretical and practical virtues. The good part, ultimately, is chosen neither by Martha nor Mary, it is the authentic element which shows activity its centre of rest from which it comes, to which it moves. Thus in Greek legend the men of action Achilles, Asclepius, Hercules and Jason at least had as their tutor the centaur Cheiron, the allegory of wisdom and action in one.



Double light of solitude and friendship Men have always been born alone and die alone. Even afterwards, in body and ego, they remain the most immediately dearest thing to themselves.* This kind of thing can easily be blown back into itself again by the wind of outside alien, even hostile, stimuli. And one of the most driven-back manifestations of the will to the ego has here its narcissistic origin: the wishful image of solitude. With the qualification that solitude is not in all situations a wishful image, on the contrary, it may be feared, a misery.! This depends on a person’s age, on the society and the era from which an ego is withdrawn. Of course the ego is older than the individualistic economy, as has been noted, but its solitude is not older than society itself and not real outside it. Solitude in youth or far from Madrid is just as much a social condition as sociability or friendship, though in the form of absence or antithesis. Shunning, isolating, detaching are just as much social acts as binding and uniting; solitude in fact exists only as a distant image of society, whether it be imposed withdrawal, with longing or bitterness, or voluntary withdrawal, with hatred or relieved happiness. The relation to the ego is always determined by the relation to society, without which there would be no loneliness, let alone the emotion of loneliness as pain. To youth, for which an hour lasts as long as twelve in old age, solitude is absolutely torturing, is only ever chosen briefly after bitter disappointment. Equally painful are the gloomy evenings of lonely women, the dreary Sunday, suffering that goes unnoticed but is especially devastating in its length. Sexual restlessness increases this anguish, monotonous existence between four walls imposed too early on a woman still young or which fear of being left on the shelf makes particularly harrowing. Solitude is far gloomier still for the person forcibly deprived of his once familiar or appropriate environment. Solitary confinement for most prisoners means despair, the languor of loneliness even more than the deprivation of liberty causes prison psychosis. Yet even a glasshouse existence in a very foreign land, chosen by people who could be their own best company but who need the multiplication of themselves in the pierglasses of society, even this solitude causes them only homesickness. If

Bloch is echoing a German saying here, the equivalent of which is ‘It’s every man for himself, t As well as ‘misery’, the German ‘Elend’ can also mean ‘exile’, and Bloch obviously has this resonance in mind here.



exile comes on top of this, the result is a monk in hell. Ovid, in exile at Tomi, wrote only one important work, the ‘Tristia’, and spring on the Black Sea inspired him only to a begging poem to Augustus. It is the affirmed splendour of the age and the society which makes solitude here on the whole black, which cancels out or at least suspends its narcis¬ sistic happiness. All these states are enough to make one sell one’s soul to the devil, and thus extremely undesirable; they ought to be called abandonment, not solitude. However it is different, crucially different, when solitude as voluntary, as an authentic wishful image, namely offreedom from disturbance, finds its introverted ground. It is precisely here that narcissism, with which Freud regards the body-ego as being primarily filled, announces itself: a mottled self-examination withdraws from objects to the ego. The wish for a subdued external world may appear subjectively all the more urgent, objectively all the more valuable, the more concentration protects a lamp which burns with a more than mere inward light. Solitudo musis arnica,* says a classical proverb; in its illumination another archetype is also at work, that of the nest, of incubation, of safely maturing development. Rural seclusion, winter which reinforces it, the quiet of the house and the night add to this a powerful wishful dream; and the lamplight shines in it as a literal aura around the manuscript. Writing in the country, writing at night, unite the southern and northern landscape in the same pleasant chthonics of production: Horace’s Tibur, Cicero’s Tusculum, even Nietzsche’s Sils Maria, despite the worlds between them, have become allegories. Actual poetic creations of solitude do not quite belong here, as in George, with his claim that the heights are lonely, as in Rilke, with his communication that the depths are lonely. But at least from Epicurean or Stoic withdrawnness and the manifold Studio around it, praise of solitude began also in more modest cases, combined with collection and again with longing for vita contemplativa. Of course th e praise of solitude depends not only on the disposition of the person who knows how to use it but equally again on the state of the social world within which the solitary person prospers. If a subject feels attracted and summoned by the tendencies of this state or if the state is even affirmed as such, then solitude is as closely linked to the time as an atelier to the city of Paris. If on the other hand the time is felt to be downright hostile, and seems to have no place in it for the person who thinks he is superior to it, the result is solitude as the happiness of escape, as asylum. To some extent even Tibur, * ‘Solitude is friend to the muse’.



Tusculum, Sils Maria had this character; it became abstract and exclusive in the Robinsonades of the eighteenth century. Communion with plants, animals, nature, books helped the solitary individual to forget people, i.e. society as it was; no court ball could compete with this. Even the agents and proprietors of corrupt social Being then fled into coquettish hermitages and solitary bowers; and non-agents all the more so. This age blossomed in more or less justified, more or less self-righteous narcissism. In 1755, Johann Zimmermann’s famous work ‘On Solitude’ appeared, it was translated into almost as many European languages as ‘Werther’ later was. And it preaches a democratic kind of withdrawnness, as Tusculum even without Cicero in it. This both long-winded and excited book devotes its tenth chapter to the especially fervent young men of the time, to their disgust with boring company, the taste and inclination for dignified aloofness, the ‘unhurried escape into the enjoyment of deserted nature, where the soul resounds endlessly’. This sensitive solipsism, a strange mixture of inactivity and enthusiasm, formed an alliance with the individualism of bourgeois society which was breaking through, with the urge to freedom of the capitalist economic individual. Bene qui latuit bene vixit* - this late Roman maxim applies to all declining societies, but in the eighteenth century another element was added to this isolation: the economic atom pathos, the person pathos, which both fled and cancelled out an old collective. The retreat had of course always been older, more powerful, the Christian tradition of inwardness, this feeling which pierced not so much the outer world as itself. Before and after the rebellion of the eighteenth century it was above all the Lutheran Christian who had his dwelling here. The solitary soul and its God, in the overall, now specifically northern and wintry solitude, form the essential location of Christian adventure and salvation. And so precisely the will of the last truly Protestant Christian, the existential recourse of Kierkegaard, is subjectively and objectively one of solitude, indeed it is the Christian exhaustion of it. Never before had its narrowness been so desperately longed for , never before enjoyed with such meek vanity, never before had the attempt been made to provide it with such a wide arc to the existence of the human. From the perspective of solitude, all Kierkegaard’s moral questions are monological; they have as their unreflected foundation the privateness of the small rentier, but their Object is an enormous one: to be as an individual in necessary solitude yet at the same time to be with the Absolute. To under¬ stand oneself to be in existence - this slogan calling to subjectivity would not * ‘The man who has lain low lives well.’



have come about without Protestant solitude; in Kierkegaard, however, it becomes the language of a totally paradoxical flight from the object: into the innermost mine of the most distant heaven. This became joy in sorrow, furnished the cave as an interior and placed it on high: ‘My sorrow is my knight’s castle; like an eyrie it stands on a mountain-top and towers high into the clouds... From this dwelling I swoop down into reality and pounce on my prey. But I do not stay down below; I bring it back up to my castle. Pictures are what I catch; these I work into a tapestry which I hang on the walls of my rooms. Thus I live like a recluse, with every experience I perform the baptism of oblivion and consecrate it to the eternity of memory’ (Either/Or). No communication is possible on this soil, except among sheer solitaries from castle to castle of their lasting solitude; thus the Christian-narcissistic wishful image breaks up here. And thus it does after all become egotism, though of a sublime kind; the solitary soul and its God cannot live with complete impunity in capitalist anarchy. It attains not quite guiltlessly from here part of its desperation and its temptation, of its sorrow-happiness and plausibility. From the beginning, private enter¬ prise promoted the extreme sharpening of egotism; this was the soul of business, it prescribed the escape route for even the most determined non¬ business-souls - into particularly extreme or particularly engrossed isolation. Solitude has even so overwhelmed the active entrepreneur in the world that he has become a hermit of his interest. Free competition capitalism has set up a profusion of negative stylites, it has set up real demon stylites of their company. Yet however much private enterprise has rewarded the private in the fullest sense, it did not invent solitude, let alone the flight into it as into collection or into an asylum, let alone the very old wishful image of corporeal concentratedness, undisturbed Being-With-Self. It has been exaggerated like the individual himself, but it is not only artificial or reified, not only clotted abstraction. Unlike the pleasure of the senses and peace of soul, solitude as the alternative to sociability will remain even in an ordered society, for the time being. Of course, with a changed function and with a wishful image which will no longer need to be one of escape. But rather one of that cell-space without which not even the most happily socialized person can come to himself. If resources and recourses of this kind remained unoccupied, community would become almost as empty as solitude without community is blind. The true dream image of solitude, neither oldish nor ivory-towered but creating powerfully refreshing pauses, voluntary and not hostile to man, still has much work ahead of it. All children are born alone but always grow up together. The earliest



men lived sociably, formed a group. The individual here was the outcast, and in times of utter wilderness this meant that he was condemned to death. The tribe was the mainstay of the body, the content of the scarcely developed ego. Consequently a self-centred body-ego stands at the organic beginning, but at the historical beginning stands community. And at times when the community is threatened, the wishes directed towards it are just as fervent as those for solitude. Wishes for security, which then need not necessarily even conflict with solitude but include it, at least in the small warm circle of friendship. This is also the most important element in love based on permanence and habit; thus most marriages break up not from lack of love but from lack of friendship. This develops later, but here it is, as Werther says, that ‘which bears fruit instead of withered leaves’. Even the individual who rejected large social bodies celebrated and idealized the collective in his small circle. Where society had become suspect, the wishful image of friendship emerged at the same time as that of solitude, not as an escape from society but as a substitute for it, its better garden form. Towards the end of the eighteenth century the subtle Christian Garve wrote his double or alternating reflections ‘On Sociability and Solitude’, and friendship won the day over seclusion: ‘Air when unchanged always becomes mephitic; the temperament which is not changed by external sensations, of which those which come from people are always only the strongest and liveliest, always becomes rather sad.’ And although friendship at first wished to replace the collective, it clearly, unlike solitude, became associated with it, especially in times of unbroken belief in the polis. The most elaborate celebration of friendship is that of Aristotle, a philosopher who defined man as a zoon politikon, indeed saw the ethics of friendship as definitely flowing into that of the state. Admittedly he wrote no utopia of the state, but he did write one of friendship, with an image of beauty which further elaborated friendship in its then existing form. The eighth and ninth books of the Nicomachean Ethics are devoted to this concrete idealization; here the zoon politikon is above all and primarily in friend¬ ship seen as a human one. For friendship, as the pillow and archive of With-Us, it is essential ‘that all wish one another well and that this mutual benevolence does not remain hidden’. The latter means that friendship begins where it proves itself, i.e. in most cases, where it goes to some expense; which is why Aristotle, both in the Nicomachean Ethics and even in his Politics (II, 5), quotes a proverb which was later often used for monastic communism: ‘Friends hold everything in common’ or ‘Friends’ goods, common goods’. Yet this equality as an element of friendship does



not leap beyond the small circle; Aristotle recommends private property for the simple reason that otherwise the virtue of - generosity would disappear. The circle of friends itself, because of its completion, is in any case smaller than the smallest polis: ‘Friendship in the perfect sense cannot be with many, any more than one can be in love with many at the same time.’ And friendship, as social completion, ranks higher than love. ‘For there is also love of the inanimate, of wine and gold; friendship, however, exists only between people; it presupposes reciprocation.’ Finally the ideal of the small collective even provides the bond for the large, in an astonishing manner: ‘Friendship is also that which maintains states and which is closer to the legislator’s heart than - justice. For harmony is clearly related to it, and it is the main goal of rulers, whereas they endeavour most to banish discord as hostility’ (Nicomachean Ethics, VIII, 1). What justice can merely demand, friendship freely grants; it brings about that harmony in which violation of mutual rights no longer occurs and so there is no longer any occasion even to think of justice. Again, as with the principle of inter amicos omnia communia, Aristotelian utopia runs into the circle of friends before the state; political agreement, an undisputed good which not even slave-owning society could produce, found its place of shelter in friendship. And soon also its place of declamation; as in Cicero’s ‘Laelius de amicitia’ or Castor and Pollux as a Golden Age for two which could be relived at any time. The three qualities which Aristotle attributed to friendship: benevolence, harmony, beneficence, made it very clearly utopian; accord¬ ingly friendship between more than two people mostly lasted only in groups which were themselves of utopian character or of utopian intent. It existed in alliances, sects, conventicles which attempted not merely to replace the collective but to model it on a smaller scale or to facilitate it in regional form. Hence the dream of friendship in all anarchist and federative utopias, in the breaking down of the social structure into acts of mutual help. Into small, self-governing communities where all members know one another and the fine liqueur flavour of old friendship runs peacefully through everything. A cut-price version of this longed-for brotherliness still appears in Philadelphias of nothing but small settlements, in the neighbourhood ethic of early America: the feudal world had been left behind, the struggle for existence was even more with the wilderness than with people. The collective seemed still almost tangibly to be made from the material which the Bible, on a not wholly unrelated, peasant-democratic foundation, had called the neighbour. Of course, in America it soon turned out, despite a remaining community gesture, that all this could not survive in the face



of the naked compulsion to pay; in Europe the mere dream image of friendship manifested itself partly as the bitterness with which the reality of friendship was measured. The familiar conversation about the absent person, even if he belongs to the circle of friends, showed the tension with the ideal, far greater than in the case of clean solitude; La Rochefoucauld’s ice-cold observation also belongs here: ‘Dans l’adversite de nos meilleurs amis nous trouvons toujours quelque chose qui ne nous deplait pas.’* And on this occasion Schopenhauer is not completely exaggerating his pessimism when he remarks of the union of souls: ‘This is so alien to the selfishness of human nature that true friendship, like colossal sea-serpents, is one of those things where we do not know whether they are fabulous or exist somewhere.’ Particularly in capitalism empirical friendship became rare, because when people relate to one another mostly only through buying and selling and exploitation fills the dominant consciousness, in this society of competitors even friendship in a small circle becomes an anomaly. The feelings of sympathy and hopes of harmony with which private enterprise originally believed itself to be allied - as in its ideological matins with Adam Smith - changed nothing here. Not only interest but also sympathy was regarded here as the driving force in human action; and just as market trading of interests seemed to flow out into the affluence of all, so too the exchange of sympathies was supposed to produce the social balancing out of all other individual differences. But although the selfish system, like the earth, turned on its own axis, it did not at the same time revolve around the social sun; - the socially extended dream image of friendship continued to gleam from afar in the capitalist system but it was less effective here than anywhere else. Whereas Aristotle was still able to bring together in friendship the group of slave-owners who constituted the ancient polis, with mutual benevolence among them as a high but by no means rare or thwarted ideal, the capitalist collective, if it can be so called, is nothing but homo homini lupus, ultimately the struggle between monopolies. This became so much hectic activity and mechanical response as well that friendship is no longer even a substitute but almost like solitude an escape. The associative-federative utopias seek the birth of the new collective from among a group of friends, as noted; this is the highly substitutive element in social utopias of this kind. Marxism, though radically opposed to the wolf-state, has no reason to expect salvation or even upheaval from friendship, the commune and the small business resuscitated in it. Marxism ‘We still find something not displeasing even in the adversity of our best friends.’



thinks in highly developed categories of production dialectically arising from capitalism, indeed even the power-state must, before it dies out, be conquered, must be used against the enemies of the revolution. And yet the old hope of friendship lives on, precisely in the image of a classless society it unfolds with new wishful and life dimensions. Although by its nature confined to groups and only very figuratively applicable to a wide national or even international collective, a collective of unknown people, it nonetheless possesses in this its potentially existing groups and circles, in brief the soviets of fraternity which is so vaguely and vainly invoked everywhere else. Like solitude, friendship in groups is by no means only reified or in this case made absolute as a substitute which disappears with the true collective. And just as solitude does not vanish from the community, on pain of social emptiness, so friendship - ultimately a counterpart and not an abstract alternative to solitude - gives the collective its warmth, indeed its in each case concentrated and tangible concretion. It remains even in classless society as the wishful and life condition of the With-Us of nearness, it fills broad, no longer alienated inter-subjective relations with concrete We and Being Together. The accepted socialist triad of liberty, equality and fraternity has this fraternity as its undoubted, though so far particularly dull and blotchy ground colour. Whatever remains fresh and unsentimental about the brotherhood of mankind, this old and somewhat old-fashioned sounding social image, comes from the guiding panel of friendship; but here too its indicated path-goal or essence are yet to come.

Double light of individual and collective It is too much to expect that people will ever appear on the scene lacking in ego. No one ceases to be an individual in this, his own framework, however weakly or incidentally. The wish to stand on one’s own feet is closely related to the wish to walk upright. In every person there is a will, however often frustrated, which wishes to be independent and not subservient. This will lives in a room of its own, or longs for it, all the more the less it is actually there. Private enterprise, with so-called free competition, is certainly nearing its end, precisely within capitalism. But all the more intensely even here, in sport, in war, are the few areas sought where the individual man is worth something, where he can distinguish himself. And just as an ego-containing, ego-preserving entity existed even before the individualistic economy, so too it will exist, though completely



changed, after it. It is even improbable that the particular sharpening which the exaggeratedly individualistic era has brought about will disappear without trace. Even when laissez faire, laissez aller has been unlearned except as a memory, a sound lad, a grown character will be unwilling to accept tutelage. Even when personality is no longer the greatest happi¬ ness, it will certainly not see itself as a misfortune or - a living colour in the social space - be felt as such. Greatness is by no means necessary in order for a developed individual to regard himself as distinctive, as indissoluble. Around every single person there is a colourful cloud of feelings, hopes, which he feels in himself but only rarely in others, although they are also surrounded by it; and around every single person there is a Quale which does not survive when added up in the group. Of course it goes without saying that it does not survive in the groups of mere capitalistic functional association. But there is no doubt that part of the very human life-light around the individual is especially lost where a so to speak organic collective appears solely as a herd. As fascism has shown, the raging of the crowd is not always sublime; here too it depends on the people who compose it and how much, in independently formed judgement, they know. In corpore there emerged here, from absolutely extinguished individuals, individuals deprived of responsibility, not only a fool but a beast which was in every sense nameless, namelessly terrify¬ ing. And as part of the process of bringing him to his senses the individual himself must be shown a mirror so that he can see what he looked like then. So that he can grasp by his own efforts how his human face was destroyed at that time and how it can be reborn. In an utterly different group, one which precisely does not consist of zeros and the panic of brutes. Dubious though ego and nothing but ego is, the merely general can be equally paltry or equally terrifying. The ego-being which is still mainly current today comes from the entrepreneur, but so too does the mere empty non-ego, and, as the Night of the Long Knives showed, even when raging it is useful to the entrepreneur. Thus the collective as such, independently of the individuals above whom, indeed against whom, it rises, cannot simply be played off against individuals per se. First of all, the most barren kind of generality, that of the soulless business concern, thoroughly corresponds to the ego which has degenerated into mere private enterprise. If the capitalist ego is not beautiful, the capitalist collective, which also exists, is even less so; it is futile to give this word a golden resonance because it forms a numerical and thus often illusory antithesis to private capitalist industry. It forms an antithesis to it in so far as factory labour is collective,



as opposed to the private form of appropriation of its surplus value, but this does not exhaust the so to speak supra-individual units in capitalism. It does not exhaust those collectivisms in late capitalism which are not at all progressive in themselves. In any case, the increasing uncertainty which the capitalist crisis has brought with it has already intensified the herd instinct. In any case, the formation of trusts has increasingly turned the former middle classes into an army of office workers, all dilutedly alike, anxiously trying to be without responsibility. Just as the herd instinct in times of danger drives people together, but in panic, not revolutionary courage, so the trend towards the office worker creates a collective of mere cogs, a collective far tougher than the socialist one will ever be. And most importantly, with reference to the Night of the Long Knives: was not the wish to abandon ego and to become a collective as such precisely exploitable as the most powerful means of maintaining capitalism, i.e. in the totalitarian state? Since the fascist ‘national community’ has come into being, individuality has no longer had to face the accusation that it is purely allied with private capital: collectivism in itself is as compatible with business as individualism is. It is as useful as the individualistic in capitalism, even in the crisis, even in the fears of life of the late capitalist era, precisely here. It is noteworthy that even countries without idolization of the state, purely capitalist-democratic countries, have always had their specific collec¬ tives which balance out individualism without detriment to business. Tocqueville, himself a great democrat, foreign minister of the French Republic of 1849, was the first to sense and to denounce this bourgeois collective in its most despotic form, namely in America (On democracy in America, 1835-1840). In the land of the most uninhibited private enter¬ prise Tocqueville came to the conclusion: ‘The absence of a single despot in democratic tyranny does not compensate for the collective and anonymous despotism which is all the more repressive and stupefying because it penetrates unnoticed into every cell of the social organism.’ The ‘guarantees of personal liberty’ which the liberal democrat suggested building into equality are not so interesting, but they also show that in the midst of the freest competition there was a collective, one which certainly did not resemble the socialist collective. The collective becomes socialist only when it is proletarian and class-conscious and, in its highest form, classless. Here the individual, far from disappearing, himself first becomes free because he is capable of becoming human. The collective of the militant proletariat is a protest against private capitalist appropriation of its production. But this very protest, as subjective contradiction, cannot dispense with the



always individual forms of existence and of operation of subjectivity. Individual and collective, both re-functioned, are therefore uniquely intertwined in revolutionary class consciousness; again not as alternatives, as vulgar Marxists claim, but as interacting elements. The Being-Beside-Oneself of individuals in an enthusiastically coalescing collective, even in revolutions, was limited to a very short period; it occurred far more frequently in bogus revolutions such as the fascist one or in reactionary dervish movements. The prose of the social revolution shows and demands individual courage, visible leaders right down to the smallest groups, personal manliness in solidarity. Manliness which in the Soviet Union, for example, is so strongly stressed that there exists not only a right but a duty to criticize, and this duty - with a dialectic which has scarcely yet been grasped in the West - is precisely an element of discipline, a function of convinced, genuine and unswerving solidarity. The individual here is not a bacterium nor even a prating windbag, the collective is not indolence, stagnation, conformism and guardians of morality; on the contrary, the class-conscious or even classless collective again constitutes a third element, a third between or rather above previous individuals and previous collectives. Just as there have so far been no true individuals, so too there has been no true collective; but the true one lies on the trodden path of a solidarity which is rich in persons and extremely many-voiced. The inscription over the concrete-utopian collective reads, as is well-known and agreed: Each person producing according to his abilities, consuming according to his needs. Communism is nothing but this, its collective is freedom within the framework of final order, it is not a termite hill, not the standardization of a majority of yesterday. With reference to social utopias it was noted above: ‘The very reference of concrete order to the will-content of concrete freedom maintains the legacy of Natural Right against every collective conceived in merely abstract and isolated terms, against a collective which is contrasted with individuals instead of springing from them, from classless individuals’ (Vol. II, p. 547). This legacy is entered upon in solidarity which is both individual and collective, in solidarity oriented by final consciousness (creation of the classless society and of its ramifications). Similarly, equality, the major battlecry of democracy, which since 1789 has been placed between liberty and fraternity, cannot in Marxist terms be confused with levelling down (which made Tocqueville so indignant). Engels, pointing the way, defines this as follows: ‘The proletariat’s call for equality has.. .a twofold meaning. It is either - and this is especially the case in the early stages, for example in the Peasant War - the natural reaction to blatant social inequalities,



to the contrast between rich and poor, between lords and serfs, gluttons and starvelings; as such it is simply the expression of the revolutionary instinct, in which and in which alone it has its justification. Or else it has arisen as a reaction against the bourgeois call for equality, draws more or less correct, more far-ranging demands from this, serves as a means of agitation to stir up workers against capitalists with the capitalists’ own assertions, and in this case it stands or falls with bourgeois equality itself. In both cases the real content of the proletarian demand for equality is the demand for the abolition of classes. Any demand for equality which goes beyond this inevitably lapses into absurdity’ (Anti-Diihring, Dietz, p. 129). And even more sharply, turning towards a coming, positively differentiated order of freedom: ‘The axiom of equality is.. .that there should be no privileges. It is therefore essentially negative, declaring all history up to now to be bad. Because of its lack of positive content and its out-of-hand rejection of all previous history it is equally suited to being set up by a great revolution, as in 1789-96, as for later system-devising numskulls. But to claim equality = justice as the highest principle and ultimate truth is absurd. Equality exists merely as the antithesis of inequality, justice as that of injustice, both are still tainted with the antithesis to the old history to date and therefore with the old society itself’ (l.c., p. 427). This clarification removes any possibility of confusion with levelling from the classless collective; such levelling would in fact be the dictatorship of mediocrity. And levelling down to an existing proletarian world is also eliminated. Marx warns against this static perspective when he writes: ‘When the proletariat wins, it will by no means thereby become the absolute side of society, for it wins only when it resolves itself and its antithesis.’ The classless collective does of course justifiably have preponderance over its individuals because it turns their faces in a common direction and is the marching order in this direction. But it is the individuals who provide the weight for this preponderance; thus the ideal collective is never again one of the herd, the mass, and certainly not of the business concern, it works precisely as inter-subjective solidarity, a many-voiced unity of direction of wills which are filled with the same humane-concrete goal-content.

Salvation of the individual through community Likewise: so far neither authentic egos nor an authentic We have appeared on the scene. Neither has yet had its time of blossoming, and if it does come



then the old forms will also be changed with the new content. The ego is to be retained but not the so-called unity of person of which the bourgeois individual was so proud. Instead it turns out that precisely the person is open, just as a good gardener, precisely because he is good, does not always make up the same bouquet. No ego is already so fixed in what it is and in what it can do that its core cannot be renewed, that it cannot surprise itself at its edges; or else it becomes its own epitaph. Likewise the collective, after achieving its socialist content, will have a fundamentally changed form. It need hardly be stressed that this will have nothing in common with functional associations, let alone with the state in bourgeois society; for in the latter generality existed only in abstract form and as a phrase. The bourgeois state, allegedly above party politics, is in reality the repressive apparatus of the ruling class, as has become clear. And because the repressive apparatus was always present, corresponding to the division of labour and the class structure, even the greater generalities which were made possible by the tied economy of the pre-capitalist era cannot provide a model for the collective. Since Novalis and, more well-foundedly, since Saint-Simon it has become common to look nostalgically at life as a whole in the Middle Ages. Indeed there have even been dreams of moving towards a new Middle Ages precisely via socialism: a futile dream, and where it was not futile it arrived in clerico-fascistic form only as an attempt to establish a corporative state, not as collectivization. However, in the classless collective repression, an essential element in every class-based and therefore ostensible generality, will no longer have any occasion or any object. Accordingly, even from this perspective a new social generality will not exclude the new individuals; on the contrary, after classes have disappeared, individuals on their way to a commonalty friendly to man will for the first time find space - there are many mansions in this house.* An arc will be described between I and We, will be described when the collective mode of production has finally rebelled against the private mode of appropriation and exchange; when the individual is no longer the individual capitalist or an obstructive quibble. When instead the collective has truly become total, i.e. when it embraces new individuals in a kind of community which has never before existed. Never has the salvation of the individual been worked for more intensively than in Marx’s ‘Kapital’, and from the - Totum as it also applies to the individual person. It is only from here that the struggle begins, against the division of labour and against the stunting of human beings ‘In my Father’s house are many mansions’, John 14, 2.



which it brings in its wake: ‘Not only are specific partial tasks divided among different individuals, the individual himself is divided, transformed into the automatic mechanism of a partial task.... Life-long specialization in using a partial tool becomes the life-long specialization of serving a partial machine. Machinery is misused in order to transform the worker from childhood onwards into part of a partial machine’ (Das Kapital I, Dietz, p. 378 and 443). And after completing his analysis of the capitalist factory collective it becomes a matter of life and death for Marx ‘to replace the partial individual, the mere bearer of a social detailed function, by the totally developed individual for whom different social functions are modes of activity which alternate with one another’ (l.c., p. 513). And again and again this totally to be developed individual requires the Totum of a society in which individual interest is not only granted by the general interest but, in its substantial goals, coincides with it. Only then will the fine phrases which class society has coined about the dignity of the individual or about the generality of true morality also become meaningful. There is the longing for independent Being-With-Self which the Cynics tried to satisfy by modesty in their needs; it will no longer need a barrel. There is the birth of humane, culture-saturated individuality which occurred in the circle of the younger Scipio (it is here that the word humanitas was first used), it was repeated, mutatis mutandis, in the ideal of the person in the Renaissance, in English and German classicism; this self-esteem, existing only on an individual level (persona proprie singulis tributa, says Cicero*), will no longer need an aristocracy. There is, on the side of generality, generality in the commandments of Stoic, Christian and Kantian morality; general both in the fact that they are equally binding on all and in their classhumane goal. Kant established the most formal but also the most radical guiding panel of the moral collective in the categorical imperative, in the moral law which commands without exception. The generality of the juridical law, which bourgeois society had established, bureaucratically established, to replace the chequered class and local rights of the feudal period, was here morally enhanced. On top of this, most important of all, came the guiding image of the citoyen, as a tribute to general humanity in every person, as the collective commandment of the good or citoyen world in the empirical world. Seldom has generality spoken more sublimely, seldom has the principle of general legislation in the maxim of every will been more rigorously anticipated. Yet at the same time it has never been * ‘personality is attributed correctly to individuals.’



clearer that here in facto a passing ideology of French bourgeois society was made absolute and that - particularly in facto - there cannot be any principle whatever of concrete-general moral legislation as long as class society, which is essentially ungeneral and antithetical, lasts. Which is why the moral collective only becomes meaningful in a classless collective; and the moral act of will will then no longer need the casuistry of its universally valid judgement. If, as Kant demands, man ought to make his own perfection and the happiness of others the purpose of his actions, this does not mean, rebus sic stantibus, the happiness of the exploiter, for which he is anyway being used as a means. Precisely the moral effectiveness of the categorical imperative presupposes a society which is no longer split into classes. Or to quote the scarcely mystical words of the mystic Sebastian Franck: ‘If there were no selfishness the gospel would not be so hard’; there is no ethics except without property. Thus it is only the new or real collective which guarantees the dignity of every person, and in the same act the new real person guarantees a collective without repression, without empty and therefore easily abusable generality. It is the utopian-content-based goal which invigorates in this way; and this goal, in Being-With-Self and in Being Together, is the revealing of the human incognito, the identification of our Self and We. It is only for this that solidarity is on its way, and only because of a rehearsal on this model that solidarity cannot be many¬ voiced enough, that the collective cannot be rich enough. Again, as with solitude and friendship, the individual and the collective are not alternatives; the alternative, as illusion, is confined to the abstract-reified antitheses of the pleasure of the senses and the peace of the soul, and also vita activa vita contemplativa. And classless society leaves these reified elements in progressing self-encounter behind it, fuses them. But like solitude and friendship, individual and collective also survive in classless society, as counter¬ parts, not as crossroads. The third element which circulates dialectically in both and which preserves and enhances each, this living synthesis is itself nothing but the classless collective, as noted. But it is new, classless, and open-utopian, so that partial individuals, partial collective can no longer appear in dualistically reified form, as rigid equivalents. This synthesis between individuals and collective, the resolution of these falsely reified and dualized social elements, can however itself only be the collective again, the classless collective, because it represents the triumph of community, therefore the absolute side of society; but this triumph is equally the salvation of the individual. In the classless synthesis the sought-for Totum is at work, that which according to Marx liberates both the totally developed



individual and real generality. And ultimately it is a Totum because it is a Totum of the goal-content, of the human content which is still circulating but has not yet been fixed. Within it resounds or dawns the general, that which concerns every human being and constitutes the hope of final content: identity of the We with its self and with its world, instead of alienation.



Sound it out! You will recover; Trust new sight of day. Goethe, Faust II, 1, Chorus

The wish to smash things Even the child, forced to be well-behaved, hardly felt at ease. An urge to destroy exists, as a small child Goethe brought it into play. It impelled the boy, one fine afternoon when all in the house was quiet, to keep throwing crockery on to the road because it ‘shattered so delightfully’. On top of this delight came a less definite impulsion towards something, which awoke quite appropriately in a secluded room. ‘This, as I grew up, was my favourite place, not sad but full of longing.’ But great things took place beyond the windows, the plain, thunderstorms, the setting sun, a strange world which at the same time was pleasant and near. The child saw children playing, neighbours strolling in their gardens and tending their flowers, groups of people enjoying themselves. Goethe continues, summarizes the effect of all this: ‘... this very early aroused in me a feeling of loneliness and a longing arising from this which.. . soon showed its influence and was to do so even more later.’ The adolescent prowled around in dubious company, found a hidden way into and out of the house, and learnt to tell lies. His breezy, cheerful, young, warm-hearted mother certainly did not force him into this but his father, who was too strict, and a narrowly circumscribed life encouraged him not to be too serious about everything. His fine breeding did not last either, even less so the closer the longed-for student time came. Goethe left his parental home with the following feeling: ‘The secret joy of a prisoner when he has taken



off his chains and has almost filed through the prison bars cannot be greater than mine was as I saw the days dwindling and October approaching,’ Thoroughly dissatisfied, the departing son sought a life that was more commensurate with him, equal to him.

Wertherian happiness and suffering The dangerously seeking element now set out in the strange world, against it. The I-do-not-know-what of childhood now clothes and reveals itself at the same time: it is, in everything, the beautiful girl. This appeared almost ununderstood in the childhood love of Gretchen, now the disturbing happiness roams the country in forms which have become burning. ‘As in morning brightness/You glow around me,/Springtime, beloved!’ - this is purest revelation of youth. ‘The nightingale calls/Lovingly from the hazy vale./I follow, follow!/Where to? Ah, where to?’* - this is sheer consuming cloudiness in the primal haze of youth. The lover who is still untrue to himself and restless even at rest writes to Friederike:t ‘I am not contented, I am happy! I feel it, and yet the whole content of my joy is a surging longing for something that I do not have, for something that I do not know.’ The feeling of these years remains unmeasured, indeed despite its objects almost objectless. Its place is between extremes, it enthuses to the extremest limits of suffering and of joy. The real girl is easily confused with and overshone by the imagined girl: the young Schiller thus wrote melancholia to Minna and fantasies to Laura, to whom there was scarcely a trace of an equivalent in reality. This utopian state of feeling (containing ‘brother Death and sister Lustfulness’) is never alien to the young Goethe, who is so much more concrete; excess of erotic fantasy found its most precise and bitter document in ‘Werther’. The rapids of this feeling of love flow into utopian regions; they have no place in the mere tearful tricklings of sentimentalism. ‘My only prayer is to her; no other figure but hers appears to my imagination, and everything in the world around me I see only in relation to her’. And the boundless love for this girl itself appears as the boundlessness in Lotte, in the happiness ‘of searching with her for more distant, more secret joys of the world.’ The extremest force of an overhauling, Utopian-completed but of course also idolatrous love consumes itself solitarily in its contrast to reality, grows weak and founders Both quotations are from ‘Ganymed’ which Goethe wrote in his mid-twenties, c. 1774. t Friederike Brion, with whom Goethe had an early love affair.



on it. Werther’s suicide, however, is only one side, the so to speak passive manner in which the fullness of youthful dreams is paid for. The erotic poetry also had in it social prose, at least as a setting: as disgust with a very particular world, one represented by bourgeois conformists and by a frivolous, shameless aristocracy. This politically directed disgust, not only self-destruction for utopian love, is youth in Werther; thus immense bitter¬ ness, occurring around 1770, mingles with socially aggressive Sturm und Drang. With aggression against a hostile society in which love, personality, strength, authenticity, freedom, beauty, premonition were blocked and frustrated. Goethe, for whom the erotic Werther experience was scarcely present any more when he wrote ‘Poetry and Truth’ (it was only the experience described in the ‘Marienbad Elegy’ which evoked again the ‘much-lamented shade’), - even the courtier Goethe also recalls the Werther era politically in the thirteenth book of ‘Poetry and Truth’. He talks of the disgust which everything regularly and compulsively recurring can cause, and sums up: ‘In such an element and such an environment..., tortured by unsatisfied passions, certainly not spurred on to important actions from outside, with the sole prospect of having to drag on in a slowmoving, spiritless bourgeois life, we came in our uncourageous exuberance to accept the idea that we could if need be put an end to our lives at will if they did not suit us any more and thus we managed to get through the tribulations and boredom of the days scrappily enough. This attitude was so universal that “Werther” had the great effect it did because it struck home everywhere and openly and lucidly presented the inmost nature of a sick, youthful delusion.’ The collision of the utopian feeling was thus not only one within the world of love, and the feeling itself was not only erotic. The tears which the young wept over Werther came from hearts troubled on all sides. They were wishes unsatisfied, activity inhibited, happiness prevented, suffering embittered. Suffering at their own inadequacy in the face of their own waking dreams and at the inadequacy of the world, suffering ‘at fate, the old dumb rock’ as Werther himself calls it.

The demand, Prometheus, Ur-Tasso Sharper drives now broke forth, and they did not renounce life. German youth in around 1770 was also not prepared to accept things as they were, to endure violence. Soon the emotions were completely unloaded, they left behind the timidity, the overloadedness of the merely suffering, i.e. passive kind. They vented themselves in the demanding turmoil of Sturm



und Drang, in protest. Thus the fervour of youth was joined by the new and special fervour of a time of change, by bourgeois-revolutionary unrest which rose up against serfdom, regulation, despotism and ‘un-nature’. The Sturm und Drang writers as a whole had the good fortune to be not only subjectively but also objectively as old as their age and to feel themselves in tune with the tendencies of the finally awakening German bourgeoisie. If, in Lessing’s words, physiological youth may be intoxication without wine, then in 1770 it was more than that: the external situation itself provided youth with its own urgent cause for intoxication, indeed almost too much cause, namely for intoxication which was often still without conception. A bourgeois revolution seemed to be getting under way in Germany, which did not then come after all; and with the country’s low level of capitalist development, it did not use the calculating, regulating intellect. It appealed to wild-vague feelings of freedom and patriotism, irrational fanaticism which came naturally to a still semi-baroque, i.e. pietistic petit bourgeoisie and also to youth. Strong emotional accents were also to be found among the politically clear-headed, long-since rational Third Estate in France; Rousseau brought them precisely with decisive impetus to the masses and they spurred particularly intensely to revolu¬ tion. However, in economically backward, politically unschooled Germany the emotions did not automatically ally themselves with the bourgeoisofficial Enlightenment which often became stolid immediately after Thomasius, but turned in their expression against it. Against the barrenness of the old, of the Gottsched era,* above all of what seemed to be the same wig, the same regulations that they saw in the despotic police state. Of course it was only the amalgam of a regimented conformist bourgeoisie and of regimenting duodecimo despotism which the Sturm und Drang opposed. In reality the Sturm and Drang in its entire content is wholly part of the Enlightenment, even though it rejected this term for the reasons given above. It is its most active part and is completely allied to it in all its themes: the education of youth, freedom, humanization of the legal system, Natural Right and so on. The rejection of intellect overlooked the then progressive role of the bureaucracy and of general law as a whole; but a wild Apollo and the liberation of the bourgeoisie merged in a unique immediacy in the young Germany of the time. Hence also the richly varied ensemble which was nonetheless, under the militant heading of ‘nature’, For a discussion of Goethe and the reactionary German scholar and writer Johann Christoph Gottsched (1700-76), see Vol. I, pp. 424-5.



felt to be uniform: the sentimental alongside the old German; the protest against the pigtail alongside archaism; the democracy of the popular song alongside Hamann’s solitary storm-Christianity, with strife, clouds, lightning around the red dawn. Seldom had so much ‘Lord, make space for me in this narrow breast’ appeared, so much shaking at the bars in man, so much youth as would-be lion-god, so much anti-philistinism per se, uncertain whether breaking out into wilderness or the bright sun, for both lay in the Sturm und Drang. This was the German, highly German turning point, mixed time of change which surrounded Goethe’s youth - a bourgeois revolution, despite the lack of a bourgeoisie behind it, despite the burning unclearness. From a narrow phenomenon, confined to the avantgarde and youth, emerged this exaggerated but also comprehensible category of Sturm und Drang, as that of youth and utopian overfullness together. Hence the enterprising man lived here, before setting about a very different kind of business. The blokish, as it was called, becomes in Lenz,* utterly lost to himself: ‘Thus he dragged out his existence’, and in young Goethe, utterly and completely healthy, driving him to write: ‘Leapt from bed like a madman reeling,/Never before so full of soulful feeling.’ Something powerfully overexcited, seeking a different space, rages and complains in Klinger: ‘I want to stretch myself across a drum to gain a new dimension.... Oh if I could exist in the space of this pistol until a hand fired me into the air. Oh vagueness! How far and how astray you lead man’ (Sturm und Drang, I, i).| Something utopian, far more humanly sore and impetuous, ferments in a movingly genuine way in Maler Muller, the rider from the Palatinate: ‘With how many inclinations we come into the world! And for most of them to what purpose? Seen from afar, they lie, like the children of hope, having scarcely entered into life; they are instruments whose sound has faded, that are neither used nor understood; swords rusting in their sheaths. Why is this being with five senses so limitless in feeling and so restricted in his power to achieve? When the evening often bears my imagination aloft on golden clouds, there is nothing, nothing I cannot do! I am the master of all the arts, I stretch, feel high up, feel awakening in my breast all the gods who divide this world in * ‘Lenz’: Georg Buchner’s story about the madness of the poet and dramatist Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz (1751-92). After meeting Goethe in Strasbourg, the real Lenz attempted to follow in his footsteps, imitated his poetry, and even tried to court Friederike Brion. See also Vol. I, p. 301. t Friedrich Maximilian Klinger’s play ‘Sturm und Drang’ lent its name to the eighteenthcentury literary movement.



glorious lots among themselves like booty. Painter, poet, musician, thinker, everything that Hyperion’s rays kiss into more life and from which Prometheus’ torch steals heat, I long to be yet cannot; in my soul I vanquish all, yet I am a mere child when I begin the physical execution, I feel the god flaming in my veins who hesitates under the muscles of the man. Why this impulse without satisfaction? Oh they must all come forth, the gods pent up within me, come forth with a hundred tongues and proclaim their existence to the world! I want to blossom out fully in all my tendrils and buds, fully, so fully! There are stirrings like a sea-storm over my soul, they consume me utterly. What then? Shall I dare to reach out for it? I must, I must get close to it! You idol in which my inmost soul is mirrored! Who cries it out! Skill, power of intellect, honour, glory, knowledge, achievement, power, riches, everything, to play the god of this world the god!’ (Life of Faust, Monologue). Something utopian, the ‘new dimen¬ sion’, wild-vague yet conjuring, a republic without cowards, exclaims itself in Schiller’s ‘Robbers’, seeks partisans for revenge, freedom, nature: ‘No, I can’t bear to think of it! - Am I to press my body into a corset and bind my will in laws. The law has slowed down to snail’s pace what would have been the soaring of an eagle. The law has not yet produced a great man, but freedom hatches out colossi and extremities.. .Put me at the head of an army of fellows like myself and Germany shall be a republic to make Rome and Sparta look like nunneries.’ Certainly this is not Goethe’s part, and even more certainly revolution in ‘The Robbers’ appeared only as a kind of poetic arson with a guilty conscience. Anarchic irratio even in the later Sturm und Drang showed the backwardness and indeed the thwartedness of revolutionary consciousness in Germany at that time. But the revolutionary-utopian emotion as such is unmistakable, its strength works its way through the braggadocio, its subjective absoluteness is clear beside the unclear goal-setting. From the beginning Goethe’s ‘titanism’ had, in ‘Gotz’ and ‘Egmont’, its surveyable material, which was made liberal in the former, and was national-revolutionary in the latter. On top of this came symbolic understanding of the mythology of rebellion, of the long-suffering but unrefuted enemies of Zeus. Thus Prometheus, inherently already the Gotz von Berlichingen among the gods, became Goethe’s god, the true demiurge of man, the all-wilier, all-dreamer, the rebel of light who brought fire to men, who is indeed himself fire. Prometheus is the blazing element, the considerer of the future, he is raging resignation on the rock and that immortal hope to which a Hercules comes. He is the victim whose liver, the organ of prophecy, is gnawed to pieces



by the vulture or eagle of Zeus, this age-old heraldic emblem of oppression. He above all others is the imprisoned god in man; as such he made the mythology of Sturm und Drang and filled its favourite son, Doctor Faust. Goethe, in the fifteenth chapter of ‘Poetry and Truth’, stresses the very late, very surprising continuing influence of this Promethean phenomenon - even in ‘Tasso’, indeed even in the world of ‘Iphigenie’. Now himself an Olympian, Goethe, asserted the ‘peaceful, plastic, at most long-suffering reluctance’ and this alone of his present sympathy, writes: ‘But the bolder characters of that race, Tantalus, Ixion, Sisyphus, were also my saints.. .1 pitied them, their state was recognized by the ancients as truly tragic, and if I presented them as members of an immense opposition in the background of my “Iphigenie”, then I certainly owe to them part of the effect which my play had the good fortune to produce.’ Opposition to authority can also be merely a palace revolution - and the later Goethe confined himself to the idea of palace revolution -, but around 1770, in the rising epoch of the bourgeoisie, the opposition contained a life that was not prepared to stop at a mere switching of fa9ades. A life that at least as anti-philistinism - continued to influence Goethe’s work even well into his later period of moderation, a moderation which, despite conservatism, was by no means played out, which could, as he put it, always think its way to what was right. ‘Tasso’ still shows breaks which stem from the first version, revised in Italy. The ‘Ur-Tasso’ of 1779 wholly affirmed the rights and the superiority of its dream-filled, though also liber¬ tine hero. And Antonio, his adversary, is portrayed in the first version with all the characteristics of his hated origins in the anti-world of Sturm und Drang, in the philistine even in high office and in absolutist reason of state; and even in the revised version he appears at the beginning as brusque, malicious, arrogant and envious. Only in the third act does he come across as sympathetic and positive, a calm, level-headed man of the world, whereas at the same break-point Tasso only here begins to play the vain fantast, unstable and at odds with himself. And similarly the ‘Ur-Meister’, with the hero’s theatrical mission, continues to influence the ‘Lehrjahre’, the curing from the mission, the realistic Erziehungsroman.* Here too the first book, full of effusiveness, still presents Meister’s self-created world, overcrowded with ideas, full of poetry and drama. Here too it is only the sequel which brings correction and sophrosyne; what * Erziehungsroman: a novel that describes the gradual education of a young man in the world. A genre of German fiction that flourished in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.



in Tasso was madness is here, in far lower characters, the misery of the wandering player’s life, the hollowness of aesthetic illusion. But when the hero, taught by experience, returns to active, real life, one which is truly praisable and thus praised, then - with obvious repugnance - it is not into a philistine existence such as that of Werner, that of the prac¬ tical man and man of experience who has never known the element of exuberance, whose practice is therefore spiritless and whose realism is itself the most incomplete. Admittedly in ‘Meister’ only the ‘Theatrical Mission’ contains a lingering trace of Sturm und Drang, but it is this which keeps the hero - however average he may be - alive and which keeps philistinism, which is both unfree and unartistic, away from Wilhelm. Thus the wild Apollo lived on for a long time, even when the god, in Goethe’s middle period, had partly turned into classical marble (but not during Goethe’s symbolic old age). It was the many-toned category of freedom which kept exuberance alive, which destined it for ‘Gotz’, for ‘Egmont’, for ‘Faust’. In the long polar winter as which the Enlightenment and the Sturm und Drang regarded all feudal history, the effect of the wild Apollo was like that of the sun at last beginning to rise from below the horizon. ‘Air of heaven - freedom! freedom!’ are the last words of the dying Gotz; and Egmont, the national-revolutionary hero, dies with a vision which hurls the entire ocean in tyrannos: ‘Brave people! the goddess of victory leads you! And as the sea breaks through your dams, break and pull down the walls of tyranny and sweep it away in drowning waters from the ground which it usurps.’ Rage and hope, these were and are here the two utopian emotions of a sharper kind, and they govern all others in the consciousness which feels itself to be full of a new figure.

Intention of sublimity, Faust Gothic and metamorphosis But the whole man must sound, and at that time he was whole only when he was writing. What was fermenting in young Goethe looked out at fermentation, tried in a related manner to assure itself of it creatively. Here especially was an extremely dawning Being Ahead and calling across, from the Across itself: An inexplicable sweet yearning Drove me to wander over wood and lea,



And as a thousand tears were burning I felt a world arise in me.* This is not only the fermentation of youth and time of change but the new fermentation of production; this kind of forward dawning has scarcely ever been expressed in a more experienced way. With all the deep morning red that seeks to come to light, both hesistant and exuberant. The hesitant does not coincide with the immaturity of the Sturm und Drang, nor the exuberant with its obsessive animation; for both - as already audible in the monologue of Maler Muller, of the poet who scarcely became one, of greatness ante rem - are part of productive incubation. Hence the torment, indeed the guilt-feeling of still wordless overfullness in ‘Werther’: ‘Why so limitless in feeling and why so restricted in the power to achieve? Why this sweet enlivening of my budding ideas and its dull fading amidst the impotence of men? That I feel so high up and yet cannot say “you are all that you can be”, this, this is my torment. ’ And the same sultriness of the New, right at the will to expression itself, before Werther-Goethe can already found, has already founded his later landscape: ‘ friend, when dusk falls around my eyes, and the world around me and the heavens rest completely in my soul like the form of a lover; then I often yearn and think: oh if only you could express that again, if only you could breathe into paper that which lives so fully, so ardently in you, so that it became the mirror of your soul as your soul is the mirror of the infinite God!’ The desiderium is the most certain Being and the only honourable quality of all men; the desiderium to give shape to that which foredawns so clearly, which questions in objects themselves and seeks its poet, with an as it were demanding gaze, is Having and Not-Having itself. Werther’s Not-Having in Having therefore constitutes the entire unrest in a different, now so unfathomably broader, deeper sphere, in Faust: at his desk, beginning around midnight, just beyond an earlier world of statement which had already collapsed, a world which had not become a statement, in efficacity and seed, either of inner or of external nature. But hesitation, even catastrophe, is also paralleled in production by its converse element: Having in Not-Having or the unerring power of exuberance. The power leads us into the Novum towards construction, hence the Weimar confession to Lavater: ‘This ambition to point the pyramid of my existence, the foundation of which is given to me and grounded for me, as high as possible into the air, this ambition outweighs everything else and scarcely allows me to forget it for a moment. I must not fail myself, I am already advanced in years, and ‘Faust’, Part I, 775-8.



perhaps fate will break me in the middle of it and the Tower of Babel will remain bluntly uncompleted. I want people at least to say that it was boldly conceived and, if I live, my powers, God willing, should reach up to it.’ Production in this power for the Unbecome already sees the end, which articulates and brings home; the morning red which saw so much new world slipping away from and arising within it already contains the built-saved element and Lynkeus, who declares it at the end of Goethe’s life: The sun is sinking and the final ships are sailing gaily harbourwards. A heavy barge here slowly slips along the channel to the wharves. The flags are brightly fluttering from rigid masts where rigging climbs; in you the bos’un counts his blessings and fortune greets you in highest time.* The highest time is that of the fulfilled moment, and around this, around the opening up of its sign, unloading of its content, all these faces of creation were moved or positioned, around the utopia of the fully stated Here and Now. Every production intends an element of the seventh day of creation, as the statement of the previously unsaid, the human hearing of the previously unheard. And ‘Wanderer’s Storm-song’, very close to the source of Goethe’s production, is arresting both because the storm carries away and because it abates, around a continually creating centre, around the ‘brightly shining, warmth-giving fire’ of the house, around ‘inner warmth, warmth of soul, centre!... .heart of the waters, marrow of the earth’, in man and in nature. External images had to respond to the inner ones, otherwise neither emerged. For the young Goethe, a ‘thin and meagre environment’ was not suitable for this reciprocal echo. The older Goethe recalls this signifi¬ cantly in Book Six of ‘Poetry and Truth’: ‘This much however is certain, that the vague, far-reaching feelings of the young and of certain primitive peoples are alone suited for the sublime, which, when it is to be excited in us by external things, formless, or shaped into intangible forms, must surround us with a greatness which is too much for us.’ And with similar deviation in the eighth book of ‘Meister’: ‘The inclination of youth to mystery, to ceremonies and to fine words is extraordinary and often a sign ‘Faust’, Part II, 11143-50. These lines are spoken by Lynkeus, the watchman.



of a certain depth of character. In these years one wants to feel one’s whole being moved and affected, even if only obscurely and vaguely. The youth who senses many things believes that he finds a great deal in a mystery, puts a great deal into a mystery and that he is bound to have an effect through this.’ This refers to the so-called hermetic societies, to Rosicrucianism with which Goethe came into contact as a student, to the sal philosophicum and the world of Fraulein von Klettenberg, * but it refers equally to the dash of confusion without which young productivity would find no form at all. Or only the slick form of the gallant period of the time, or the epigonally polished form of the classical age or even the falsely, i.e. banally naturalistic style, which are all mere cliches, not forms of reality, which is much-intertwined, richly edged. Sublimity and legitimate mystery, as the answering counterpart of his own ‘cloud trail and far-radiating Too Much’, the young Goethe discovered only in works which included clouds, forests, intensifications, fruitful darknesses: in the poems of Pindar and the plays of Shakespeare. Hence even Goethe’s statement in his remarks on Diderot’s ‘Rameau’, which applies to far more than Shakespeare and Calderon, unmistakably referring to the necessary barbarization in Faust, the deeply humane, not at all classicistic-imperialistic sounding statement: ‘To remain courageously at the height of these barbaric advantages, as we will probably never attain the classical advantages, this is our duty.’ In architecture, Goethe’s harmony with the Gothic, then most definitely con¬ sidered barbaric, had long since awoken at the sight of Strasbourg Cathedral, its forest world, its tremendous aspect as Humanum: ‘Few have been privi¬ leged to create a Babel idea in their souls, entire, great and even in its smallest part necessarily beautiful, like trees of God; and fewer still have then found a thousand willing hands to dig the rock, conjured up steep heights on it and then, dying, said to their sons: I remain with you, in the works of my mind; complete what I have begun, build it into the clouds!’ (On German architecture, 1773). Subject-object immanence in all this as far as it goes out, even in those truly protoplastic elective affinities where production and earth-spirit help into, indeed exchange places with, each other: And when the storm in the forest roars and creaks, The giant spruce collapses bringing down The trees around it, crushing boughs and trunks, A fall that thunders hollow from the hill, You lead me to the safety of the cave, See Vol. II, p. 6420.



You show me to myself, and in my heart Most deep and secret wonders are revealed.* Here the sublimity of familiarized shaping-reshaping draws away into the distance, into the unexhausted measure and excess of the genius or of nature, no matter which here. This reshaping does not abate even in the cooler transition from the protoplastic to the plastic insight. It is, as metamorphosis, the formative drive towards perfection of the species which is identical with production. ‘Stamped form which develops as it lives’, certainly there is in this something pre-ordered, a statics which repels the Novum: Yet at heart the power of the nobler creatures Is contained in the holy circle of living formation. No god can extend these bounds, which nature honours: For only thus limited was the perfect ever possible. These lines are from the didactic poem ‘Metamorphosis of the Animals’, which sets limits, a conservative version of Aristotelian entelechy. But even in the late Goethe stamped form is always only developing, never manifestly given; it is not a ready-made framework for shaping-reshaping, but a latent goal working from a latent idea of shape. Just as much as the conservatism of the late Goethe feared all violent production, so that he did not under¬ stand Kleist and Beethoven, indeed did not want to believe in vulcanism in nature, despite volcanoes, equally the primal phenomenon in every entelechy was never without shaping-reshaping; stamped form is no mummy. Goethe’s theory of metamorphosis always gives the reflection of his own life-long pro¬ duction, one which was unbelieving even in the face of death, which was often rounded, never closed. Existence is drawn in circles here, there is a law according to which all living things come to be, but the Goethean circles do not press phenomena, and the truly entelechetic outline, not only conserving but also developing, is always drawn in utopian dotted lines. Right at the end of his life, in the ‘Notebooks on Morphology’, Goethe set the following dialectically-open sentences against the statics so easily associated with the word shape: ‘For the complex of the existence of an actual being the German uses the word “shape”. J In this word he abstracts from the mobile, he assumes that a common feature is established, completed and.. .fixed. If however we consider all shapes.. .we find that nowhere does ‘Faust’, Part I, 3228-34. t The German word is ‘Gestalt’ here.



a constant, nowhere does a resting, nowhere does a completed entity occur, that on the contrary everything is swaying in constant movement. Hence our language, appropriately enough, tends to use the word “formation”,* both for what has been produced and for that which is being produced. If therefore we wish to establish a morphology, we must not speak of shape; but when we use the word we should think at the most of the idea, the concept or of something in experience fixed for a moment only. That which has been formed is immediately re-formed, and if we wish to achieve anything like a living perception of nature we must remain as mobile and malleable, according to the example with which she precedes us.’ Accordingly even Faust in shaped heaven gives no rest; indeed there is if anything too much rather than too little drawing onf here which even in paradise still has an eternal utopia. For the young Goethe production had an elective affinity with every formation full of sap, for the older Goethe it was the viceregency of the objective imagination and of its significant, i.e. entelechy-containing Objects. And Aristotle’s theorem that movement was ‘uncompleted entelechy’ would have been highly acceptable to Goethe. That a creation full of sap should well from his fingers, this was the youth’s desire. That this welling, as it is nature, should also be a forming like nature, with the inner necessity of the shaping of nature and of its products (an antique room, mysterious in the broad daylight), this was the ambition of the man. The world itself is here productivity towards its full content or a material Faust, who changes in all his metamorphoses because the distant identity whose name is not only Gretchen moves on ahead of him.

Ariel and poetic imagination The old masters led sober lives and worked as craftsmen. Poets, on the other hand, were never in a guild, even where they were not as free as the birds in the air. Sometimes they were exposed, pensioners of the power¬ ful, sometimes poetry, unlike the craft of painting, was considered a knightly art. But the peculiarly free-floating (or so it appeared to itself) art of poetry was in fact even objectively less tied to traditions of craftsmanship. Poetic * The German word is ‘Bildung’ here, t Cf. ‘Faust’, Part II, 12110-11: ‘The Eternal-Female Draws us on.’ The last lines of ‘Faust’.



production does not require the grinding of colours and the joint efforts of masters and journeymen in the workshops. Much as poetry in every point includes handicraft in the sense of technical skill and knowledge, craft handed down, further developed by the master himself: the imagina¬ tion here is far more thrusting, outgoing. For unlike the plastic arts it has the long road of time on its side and along it the adventure, even in the mediated sense, of a fullness of action moving onwards. It is this which is carried on by poetic ability itself and which is both inscribed on and pre-ordered in it. The poetic rules of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries certainly restricted the poetic imagination, but they have a very different origin from the old rules of the handicrafts. And it was Shakespeare, the star of the highest height, who produced a very light-winged symbol of poetic ability: Ariel. Prospero in ‘The Tempest’ has his magic wand but the best helper is Ariel, who loves his master: All hail, great master! Grave sir, hail! I come To answer thy best pleasure; be’t to fly, To swim, to dive into the fire, to ride On the curl’d clouds: to thy strong bidding task Ariel and all his quality. Ariel is the pneuma and metamorphosis who can even make the world shoot beyond its respective entelechies, with thoroughly delectable raptures. Ariel, the most graceful of all the spirits of freedom, plays on Shakespeare’s fairytale level and thus he phantasmagorizes and helps to bring about a cheerful ending almost limitlessly. At Prospero’s command he causes the imaginary shipwreck, changes into storm and fire, he joins the butterflies and swallows, changes into a water nymph. He creates the music which Ferdinand hears, with all the uncertain topics peculiar to the purest timeart: ‘Where should this music be?’ asks Ferdinand, bemused. ‘I’ th’ air or th’ earth?’ It is this freedom of Ariel by which great poetic abductors have violated the laws of time and place for the sake of richer or more concentrated encounters. So that Shakespeare’s Hector speaks of Aristotle, and Theseus can be connected with Oberon and Titania. So that we see Goethe’s Faust and Helen married in a Gothic Sparta after Faust, as a Norman duke, has just defended Helen, newly returned from Troy, against an attack by Menelaus. Thus time and space are enchanted here - a most powerful interlocking of poetic imagination and - for all their distinc¬ tiveness - its intertwining shapes of meaning. Probably no one has yet



attempted to produce an outline of all these dream worlds of the poetic imagination; with the constantly flowing relations between all its archetypes and entelechies it would probably be most complicated, resembling a kaleidoscope more than an outline. It is no coincidence that Goethe invoked Ariel when he switched from typical to allegorical-symbolic representation: Ariel also stands at the gate of the second part of ‘Faust’. And he is also at work in Goethe’s ‘Pandora’, unnamed, but as imagination, this particular eros which, though it does not begin everything, completes it in lovelier images. Ariel, changing from air into a coloured cloud, animates the gifts of Pandora, the content of her box, the simply beautiful magic: And merrily a starry flash came from the steam, And then another one; and others followed fiercely. Then I looked up, and on the cloud already hovered All fluttering a coloured crowd of lovely gods. Pandora showed and named to me the hovering forms: Up there you see, she said, shines happiness of love! And next to this, she carried on, delight in jewels Fast follows on the wavy train of billowing gowns. But higher climbs, with steady serious ruler’s gaze, A shape of awesome power that presses ever forwards. And others too melt into one another circling, Responding to the smoke, which surges back and forth, But all obliged to be the pleasure of your days. And this Ariel appears not only as ‘smoke-formed, desirable delusion’, as the airy spirit of illusion, but behind him beauty itself: Pandora, the imaginary figure created and sent by the gods, stands and bows down. The world in itself for Goethe is a universal life in which beauty inheres, to which the joy of contemplation of art is most closely assigned. From this contemplation and certainly in it Goethe’s imagination constructs its second world: not enigmatic and leaving phenomena behind it but shining through, bringing out, indeed rescuing phenomena into what is significant in them. Here an overshooting of what has already been stamped is inevitable, both in the subject and the restless characters (Tasso, Faust, even Wilhelm Meister) and especially in objectivity itself which has been



thoroughly shaped in art. The Romantics were not far wide of the mark in feeling close not only to the young Goethe of the popular ballads but also to the late Goethe with his symbolism or ‘the infinity which inheres in things’; in this one entity Goethe said what they could not articulate, he achieved where they, for the most part, merely fluttered around or indeed declaimed. And the imagination itself, that of the popular ballads and of rich symbolism, retains with Ariel its naivety, without which no creation whatsoever but only laboured work or flapping comes about. In this respect Ariel certainly resembles the divine child Krishna in Indian legend, whose mother happens to open his mouth; inside his body she sees the immeasurable splendour of heaven and of the entire world; but the child goes on playing peacefully and seems to know nothing of it. Such is the naivety with which Goethe endowed even those of his characters who are most sentimental in the Schillerian sense: Mignon, Tasso and even Faust. The great poet does not have the alternative of being nature or not being nature and seeking it - the antithesis which Schiller established to define the naive and the sentimental writer. But as a great poet he is nature and will at the same time seek it, namely that which is glimpsed poetically, which in actions and in characters is immanently driven beyond the incidental, the faltering and the undecided. What then comes about is not for example whimsical as in the case of those poets who have made only half of Ariel, and certainly only half of Minerva their own, as the ancients used to say, i.e. a whimsicality which does not overtake the course of things but merely veers subjectively and arbitrarily away from it. Yet exact imagination such as Shakespeare and Goethe possessed is never directed simply at something which is arbitrarily possible but at the objectively possible Possible; in such a way that their theatre-lights make characters, passions and situations not more arbitrary but more consistent, so that Faust’s magic cloak leads to adventures which mediate the world with its tendency, multiply the world in artistic pre-appearance, but do not leave it behind. The poetic imagination, leaving nothing half-shaped, thus endows each of its Objects with the capacity to pursue its metier fully, its love, courage, suffering, happiness, victory, sometimes even its weakness and absurdity, and precisely for this reason it is immanent-concrete. Indeed even Ariel’s poetic miracles remain connected with shipwrecks, storms, fire and the happiness of love in this world and they perfect this world without fragmentation. This faithfulness to the world despite all super¬ abundance, this superabundance held in check by faithfulness to the world are the aesthetic measure itself; and if this measure is not adhered to then



imagination either degenerates, as noted above, into whimsicality by merely veering away from the real subjectively and arbitrarily, or else - and this of course is a completely different kind of veering away, with a leap out of the entire aesthetic-entelechized world - imagination transcends into religion. Into the no-longer-creature of the breakthrough, into the nolonger-world of the transcendently miraculous. But poetic imagination itself is and remains in league with Ariel, the airy spirit who moves in the easily displaceable element above the earth but never leaves it and never bursts through it even in his fire. In its coloured reflection this imagination has life which is driven to its immanent-perfected end. This is the nature of the free-floating but world-faithful utopia of its own kind, from whose dream of transformation poetic production comes, to whose world without disappointment it goes.

The demonic, and the allegorical-symbolic sealedness which expresses itself For all this, creative power remains uncanny, both for itself and for others. Goethe said that its origin was a place where light does not burn or does not readily bum, and he called it the demonic. For him the demonic is not the dark per se but the dark which exercises power. Seductive or dominating power and a power of fascination, which causes terror and desire together, attraction through terror. The serpent has always been the symbol of this aspect of the demonic, but so too has fire. Another important thing about this darkness which exercises power is that it is sealed, i.e. that despite its undeniable and often intense influence on others it does not come out of itself, indeed at its worst extreme is reserved to the point of being gloomy kitsch. Because of this sealedness even the vitality so often associated with the demonic, for all its radiance, has a nocturnal aura about it. Typical of this dark radiance is the character of Don Juan, the arch-demonic; something manic, which operates most powerfully on the outside world, is here imprisoned in itself; thus, for all the emanations of the demonic, it is also incarcerated in unspeakable inwardness. As Kierkegaard, who ought to know, remarks narrowly - i.e. pastorally - but aptly: ‘This is the profound element in existence - that unfreedom takes itself prisoner. Freedom is constantly communicating..., unfreedom becomes more and more sealed and does not want communi¬ cation’. The opposite of sealedness is manifestation, but in almost all



cases the demonic does not express itself but merely breaks out atavistically. And not in words; its easiest and most frequent monstrosity-creating expression is not even, as one might expect because of its inwardness, individual, occurring only in and around the strange person, but mass delirium, although it is usually caused by such persons. This ranges from the frenzies of the maenads and the berserks to the pogroms of the crusades and the inverted aggression of flagellants, from the intoxication of battle to white terror. In all this the demonic does not communicate, not even when it goes to the masses or even becomes collective. On the contrary, the old sealedness remains even in its collective eruption; what appears to be communication is merely infection, and at the bottom of it all is the same loneliness as mass. The non-manifestation of the sealed is paralleled in demonic mass delirium by the fundamental absence of intellect, criticism, self-control and judgement; this is why it is also the perfect time for that quality least accessible to communication and to illumination: stupidity. But of course there is also - and this is crucial for the phenomenon stressed by Goethe - a kind of positive demonism, one which, without losing its unfathomable and powerful elements, is also adept at manifestation. Its locations are the liberating revolution and productive genius which gives shape to the New, celebrated by Goethe as early as ‘Wanderer’s Stormsong’; its symptom is not intoxication but enthusiasm. Intoxication only exhibits the urge to sacrifice, whereas enthusiasm possesses the courage of self-sacrifice, intoxication loses all hold on things and on reality, whereas enthusiasm possesses consciousness, knowledge of the content of the matter, communicative loyalty to the goal. Even in art, negative demonism which remains sinister is met by no glance which it itself casts, but only by an atavistically numinous element like itself, monstrous rather than awe¬ inspiring, an object of fear not of awe. Whereas positive demonism, the demonism of light, on the other hand, appears wherever terror is the begin¬ ning of the beautiful instead of its end;* where the numinous, like consolation at the border, is commensurate with Goethe’s words: ‘Distant and heavy hangs a veil of awe.’ It is therefore this positive demonism which finally governs the manifold revelations of demonic human and productive experience in Goethe’s work itself. This is instructive because here yet another tone is added to that of the harp. Ariel, the light, golden, wafting mode of playing which, even to Bloch is referring to Rilke’s First Duino Elegy: ‘For the beautiful is nothing but the beginning of the terrible’.



itself, is uncanny, is joined by a sphinx, which does not of course always remain one. Now appears the element of what was called power, not only by the Sturm und Drang; a hoof-beat of the winged horse and only then the source. Goethe, however, sometimes fuses the dark and the positive demonic in a value-free manner: he defines as demonic everything which erupts with the force of immediate nature, regardless of whether it is terrifyingly monstrous or prophetically divine. He even refuses at first to apply the term to himself: ‘It is not in my nature, but I am subject to it.’ He does not even apply it essentially to the excellent or to the produc¬ tively significant. His words here sound terrifyingly prophetic: ‘But this demonic element is most terrifying when it emerges predominantly in one person.. .They are not always the finest people, either in mind or in talent, they are seldom noted for goodness of heart; but a tremendous power radiates from them, and they exercise an incredible fascination over all creatures and even over the elements. Who can say how far this influence can extend? All moral forces combined are helpless against them; the brighter part of mankind tries in vain to cast doubt on them as deceived or deceivers, the mass is still drawn to them.’ But if Goethe is here seeking to keep the demonic away from himself, indeed to place it at a certain cautious distance from the excellent per se, he later revoked both reserva¬ tions; for he assigned both great natures and above all highest productivity, i.e. his own, to the demonic. Frederick II, Peter the Great, Napoleon, Byron, Mirabeau: Goethe called them all demonic, not only in their passion and their energy but also in their unsurpassable assurance. However the connection with the demonic - on the side of lucid obsession - becomes complete only in the case of poetic production: ‘There is definitely something demonic in poetry, and primarily in unconscious poetry in which all intellect and all reason fall short, and which therefore operates over and above all ideas.’ And absolutely emphatically to Eckermann in March 1828, in connection with the recurrence of puberty: ‘All productivity of the highest kind, every important aperfu, every invention, every great thought which bears fruit and has consequences is in no man’s power and is above all earthly power... It is related to the demonic, which overpoweringly does with it what it will, to which it unknowingly submits while believing that it is acting on its own initiative.’ Here, in connection with the lightning flash of inspiration which overwhelms the consciousness, Goethe recalls the myth of ‘unhoped-for gifts from above’; accordingly he describes the productive as ‘a vessel found worthy to receive a divine influence.’ Goethe adds more conventional explanations to these interpretations, which,



however, also seek to define positive communicative-manifesting sealedness, the category of productive depth both upwards and downwards, as opposed to the demonism which remains darkly below. Significant here is his definition of the all-embracing, work-sure, fruit-bearing assurance which is connected with positive demonism and gives direction. Direction away from the urge, the sense of mission, of an inescapably productive nature and direction from the star which chaos seeks to bring forth and on which all the dominants of his development are trained throughout his life. And the works themselves which are so necessarily produced are assigned to the star just as they stress and perceive it as Stella nova before all else. Goethe’s demon finds and forms its basic material in ‘Faust’, that of Beethoven in the ‘Eroica’ and in ‘Fidelio’, that of Dante in the ‘Divine Comedy’; indeed, as Goethe maintains in ‘Primal Words. Orphic’, it is even part of the law by which such natures embark on their careers that they must inescapably be true to themselves and therefore also to their time. The time in which their own basic material is ideologically available and also, in its Goethean, Beethovenian and Dantean ramifications, latent in utopian terms. Thus the positive demonic here determines the unerringness of the productive goal and principle which are newly posited, articulated for the first time. The sealed quality which manifests itself or the self-manifesting quality which is sealed finally makes such works necessarily allegorical-symbolical in all their central sections. In other words it makes them meaningful in terms of meanings which are themselves founded in the world of their Objects and therefore also correspond objectively to the sealed-lucid quality of demonic production. Thus a subject-object relation is founded which extends not only to the rising social contents of the time but to the advancing announcements sounding through in the object-world as a whole; to that in it which Goethe, with a thus only dawning sense, sense of nature, called ‘mysterious in the broad daylight’ or even ‘holy public mystery’. Inside and outside, inside as manifestation which is of a high order and presupposes sealedness, outside, in the Objects to be uttered, as sealedness in which manifestation still expresses these Objects. Both, language as well as material content of such production, contain the constant interaction between sealedness and Aurora rising: ‘Poems are painted window-panes’ * - and thus, like their Objects, like the colours of the Goethean world- and colour-theory as a whole, they lie between darkness and light. Consequently the form of representation and the form of objectivity of this public mystery, of this lucid demonism, can be none other than the allegorical-symbolic; in the early works * The title of a late short lyric poem by Goethe first published in 1827.



of Goethe in the straightforward manner of simile, in the late works in an often re-figured, indeed paradoxical manner. Thus meaning contents of this kind are not already written out so that an interpreter need only hold the pages up to the light for the finished writing to appear - rather the world itself has not yet brought forth, brought out its meaning content in finished form; hence the world itself is in this fermenting process of figural moulding, hence productive genius itself stands at the most advanced post of figural development. Productive genius for Goethe is the demonic brightened up, is the urbanization of the demonic, and for him the produc¬ tivity of the world is the same, with its living, developing entelechies; for they are all so many living, objectively existing allegories and symbols. This and nothing else is Goethe’s realism, everywhere seeking, finding, stressing ‘significant Objects’; it is not the realism of the reproduced surface but of the Real which in every one of its figures is the simile of an intensifying Being. Its perfection is certainly to be found in Goethe’s writing, even in his ‘cherishing self in nature, nature in self’. Here, in the pantheistic Whole, the book of nature certainly is written out fully for him, as in Giordano Bruno, and especially in Spinoza. But in the Onthe-way of the figures, of the true Goethean world, a constantly changing, inter-related and thus allegorical figure creation manifests itself, and inside it a symbolical constant star; called the Eternal-Female, it is itself not fixed, but hovers, still hovers.

fust those who know such longing: Mignon There is no experienced Abroad as such, every Abroad is merely far from something. The longing towards it is measured in terms of the distance and beauty of this Something, multiplies with them. But a shy, quite enigmatically artful seeking also lives in it; its Where To must then itself stand for something else. Goethe described this type in the remotest, most homeless of his characters, in Mignon. Kidnapped as a child by a troupe of acrobats, then snatched by Wilhelm Meister from the leader of the band who cruelly maltreats her, she remains even after her rescue the pure subject of lonely, unfulfilled longing. This longing has no feet on the ground, is therefore not female-sexual, despite the appearance of puberty and of its confusions. The ethereal-enigmatic creature is nowhere and never woman; otherwise she could not be so unconnected. Even her relation¬ ship to Wilhelm is questionable: he is not her lover, despite being called



this in the poem, nor is he her protector and father, he is the man as homeland, with whom she first experienced warmth, and he is not even loved as a person but because in him shimmers and operates that which is longed for as Italy, or rather not even as Italy but as the ‘solid house’ which is there. Her only ties, apart from the unreal ones with Wilhelm, those with Felix and the harpist, are those of a sometimes similar situation, nothing more. The lonely child among adults feels drawn to Felix, the other child, the naive to the naive. The isolated creature, marked by pain, feels drawn towards the isolated old man marked by fate, the musical being to the musician. There is no motherliness, no womanliness in these relations: Mignon remains sexless, a completely free-floating subject of longing, even in her outward struggle against sexual determination, for the right to wear boys’ clothes. That nothing bisexual or hermaphroditic is meant here, but the sign of a departure from all sexual colouring of longing, is shown in Mignon’s last song: ‘And as for those celestial figures,/They do not ask if man or woman.’ Nor is Mignon’s longing passive in contrast to the adventuring-active longing of a Tasso, Faust, even Wilhelm Meister; as passive longing of this kind it could still exist alongside the female. Instead, Mignon’s is a longing which even in the sphere of love is nameless as it were, which is therefore altogether disparate to the man-woman rela¬ tionship. Disparate, but not ascetic; which is why Mignon can be destroyed by the failure of an erotic relationship with Wilhelm. However, she is destroyed not by and through eroticism but solely by the total free floating of her longing, the transparency of her eroticism, the constant unendingness of her Not-Having and Having at the same time. This state never breaks out of distance, its emotion can never land on the earth, remains unreal and always merely a Seeming, never a Becoming towards Being. Thus the doctor, shortly before Mignon’s death, diagnoses her to Wilhelm as follows: ‘The peculiar nature of the good child.. .consists almost entirely of a deep longing; the yearning to see her country again and the yearning for you, my friend, is, I am almost inclined to say, the only thing that is earthly about her; both merely reach out into an endless distance, both objects lie unattainable before her unique nature.’ Because of its silence and its spellbinding being-spellbound this longing, like Mignon’s whole character, unnatural though it is, is still undoubtedly demonic. Natalie recognized the obsessiveness in Mignon’s scarcely developed ego and recalled it for Wilhelm: ‘She told him of Mignon’s sickness in general, that the child was gradually being consumed by a few deep feelings, that because of her great excitability, which she concealed, she was often and dangerously



afflicted with spasms in her poor heart.. . But once these anxious spasms were over, the force of nature manifested itself again in violent pulsations and now frightened the child by excess where previously she had suffered because of deficiency.’ But again nothing could be falser than to constrict this kind of demonism to child-women and other kinds of intermediate beings, to Klingsor’s* flower-girls or the soullessly Undine-liket simply seeking a soul. On the contrary, Mignon is nothing but soul, and she roams far into the distance, far beyond the man. This longing always tends towards the unconditional; thus the subject of longing per se, of nameless longing, becomes in the delicate image of Mignon a freely rising symbol, an archetypal symbol rolling from within itself. The late explanation of Mignon’s origin at her exequies by her uncle ex machina is no explanation at all but a break in the conception of this figure, a transition to another genus; this does not concern Mignon any longer anyway, she is dead. But the archetype of Mignon is a living one, the most delicately utopian one that has ever arisen from youth. And it surrounds, overshoots, all the seemingly fixed persons and entelechies of the Goethean world. In ‘Wilhelm Meister’ it is outside bohemia, outside society, cannot be accommodated socially, is not perceivable in the Become as a whole. It is primally known in the radical experience of longing of almost every human being, first of all in youth, and there it is disparate to everything that is already shaped as known, has become known. Mignon’s archetype is thus precisely appraised and experienced, therefore not at all romantically extravagant or, as inexperience claims, even a so-called irony on Romanticism. (What then are Mignon’s songs, which are among Goethe’s most typical, most beautiful?) Mignon’s quest does not have or does not yet have years of apprenticeship, but that does not detract from this very existing, very delicate prophetic warning which has found a place in Goethe’s work, precisely in this work - speaking an as yet Unknown, Unbecome truly under the rose. Wilhelm Meister’s certificate of apprenticeship, which ends the ‘Apprenticeship’, closes with the words: ‘The true apprentice learns to develop the unknown from the known.’ Certainly this is Goethean, but Mignon as a symbol of longing and its content show a trace circulating which at least cannot be developed from, is not accommodated in what has already become known. This is also Goethean, otherwise there would not,

* Klingsor’s fairytale appears in Novalis’ unfinished novel ‘Heinrich von Ofterdingen’, and is used by Wagner in ‘Parsifal’. t Undine: a water nymph, also the title of a fairytale by La Motte-Fouque.



besides Mignon, also be the incomparably more defined Tasso, not even the Un-At-Home of Faust. If this intended trace is called ‘unsatisfied every moment’ in other places, full of breaking out and moulding, is called Tasso, even Faust, then here, where it is quiet and restrained, it is justifiably called Mignon or the here so little excelling longing par excellence. It is significant that everything in her comes out in song, and thus only in this form is not sealed. She sings her songs, she seldom speaks them, and then only ‘with great expression’, which holds back everything in it: ‘Do not bid me speak, bid me be silent. ’ Absolute longing is denied not just love but friendship, the dialogue in it: ‘A single oath now keeps my lips quite sealed/And now a God alone can open them. ’ In three songs Mignon sings out the eros which began everything, in which she ends. ‘Just those who know such longing/Know what I suffer’ - a burning and a pulling which follows the beloved into the distance, which pulls much further and is yet spellbound, powerless, in the Here. Then the Song of Italy, enchantingly concrete in the opening stanza, description which is pure poetry, phenomenon which is the teaching itself: ‘Among dark leaves the golden oranges glow,/A gentle wind blows down from deep blue sky,/ The myrtle stands so still, the laurel high/... There! There!/With you, my dearest love, I long to go.’ But it is also an Italy which does not exist or which exists as such only in her soul, it is etat d’ame, the landscape of this longing itself, its Orplid.* Thus not only is Italy recognized as this landscape by Mignon, but Italy itself, the object as subject, sees again and recognizes Mignon as she comes: ‘And marble images stand and look at me:/What have they done, oh my poor child, to thee?’ They are compassionate marble statues, like protectors and fathers, and in them longing is a support for itself. Not the last, for in the Mignonspace of Italy there is another: the ‘hall of the past’ in which she is buried, in which ‘life and eternity’ are supposed to have blended. Mignon’s last song is about this other space: ‘So let me seem till I become,/Do not take off my dress so white’: the white dress is not dissimilar to Faust’s ‘ethereal garment’ in his final wishful landscape. Mignon’s three songs thus sing out three in¬ tensifications of longing and a triply intensified reception by their own, ever more undistracted content. The content remains distant homeland, it is to this that all wishes in Mignon, the finest, stillest, purest subject of Goethean longing, are directed; without the by-ways and world-ways of the great, the titanic Goethean figures of longing. And this shows that Goethe not only, as he said, always conceived the ideal in female form but also that, as Mignon * See Vol. I, p. 96.



or unconditional longing is after all primarily a girl, he saw the striving for the ideal in this form. Although the ideal itself, in its attraction, never appears to him as such asexual passion as Mignon’s eros appeared to him and as it appears to Mignon. In the end Goethe’s celestial figures certainly do ask if man or woman, i.e. they do not perhaps ask about the man, but they answer him - as the sensed Gretchen, as Helen, as Pandora in the form of woman. Mignon, the pure subject of longing, cannot for the poet become an object of longing, but the Marian in her certainly comes out even in ‘Meister’ with that gracefulness which comes from grace. Not of course as Mignon, but again precisely representative of that which is signified in her, exemplified by one who understood her, namely the lovely horsewoman who comes to Wilhelm’s aid when, wounded by robbers, he is lying on the ground. ‘At that moment the vivid impression of her presence operated so strangely on his already reeling senses that it suddenly seemed to him that her head was surrounded by rays of light and that a brilliant light was gradually spreading over her entire form... He still saw the coat hanging down from her shoulders, the noblest form, surrounded by rays of light, standing before him, and his soul hastened through rocks and woods on the heels of the vanished woman.’ The lovely lady is met again later and revealed as Natalie, the same person who first recognized and described the all-powerful obsession in Mignon, just as rest recognizes and describes restlessness. In the vision of the rays we can already see the influence of devout, South German carving at work, the Catholicizing element for which the poet of the Faust heaven has been so naively criticized. This could already have been perceived in the long, light, white, winged angel’s robe which Mignon likes to wear and has to wear before her death. Longing, as Goethe’s Mignon, has attained its long look, its figure - in Mignon, the nun in the Trappist monastery of love.

Wishes as presentiments of our capacities Yet the living morning is not only full of longing but actively dawning. Here there is a Becoming in Seeming itself, in such a way that real ‘powers light up’. Goethe even posits this as the distinguishing feature of the male: ‘The girl is loved for what she is, and the boy for what he promises to be.’ Goethe’s saying that what one wishes for in youth one has in abun¬ dance in old age is explained gratefully and hopefully in the ninth book of ‘Poetry and Truth’: ‘Our wishes are presentiments of the capacities



which lie within us, harbingers of that which we will be capable of achieving. What we are capable of and wish to do presents itself to our imagination as outside us and in the future; we feel a longing for that which we already secretly possess. Thus passionate anticipation transforms the truly possible into an imaginary reality. If such a direction is a definite part of our nature, then with every step of our development part of the first wish will be fulfilled, in favourable circumstances on a straight path, in unfavourable on by-ways, from which we return again and again to the straight.’ This Goethean feeling overlooks the fact that not all blossomdreams ripen,* it seeks to free itself from guilt of omission by suffering from it and recognizing it, seeks to make up for the by-ways of that which remained plan, which was not carried out, by the well-ordered diversity of what is harvested. To make up for it all the more satisfyingly because Goethe’s old age, marked by recurrent puberties, at least never dissociated itself from his youth, despite renunciation. The young Goethe wrote to Salzmann in 1771: ‘My nisus forwards is so strong that I can seldom force myself to draw breath and look backwards.’ And in 1823, the old man told Chancellor von Muller: ‘There is no past which we ought to long to have back, there is only an eternally New which is formed from the expanded elements of what is past, and true longing must always be productive, must create a new Better.’ This is the same as that attitude and presence of productivity which did not diminish in the old age of any brilliantly talented individual. The exceptions (for example Klopstock, Schopenhauer) are few, the rule (with such astonishing prodigalities as Verdi) is one of masterly youthful force. Outstanding talent in its autumn both puts forth blossoms and bears fruit; even the plans and projects of his youth, which Goethe increasingly, with more interruptions than any other, left for his later years, were not only revised, not only mediated with the world-breadth of his middle years and with the depth of his old age, but they were transformed, ultimately by sources which first murmured in his youth, fertilized to become an allegory-symbolism in which only especially classicistic professors of literature have failed to find sensuous freshness. No poem from Goethe’s early period can equal ‘Blissful Longing’, Cf. Goethe’s poem ‘Prometheus’: ‘Did you suppose I should come to hate life, Slink off into the desert wastes Because not all the morning dreams Of my boyhood blossomed?’



the ‘Marienbad Elegy’, ‘Pandora’, the Helen and heaven scenes in ‘Faust’. Everywhere here the young Goethe is at work in the old, in a far more lively way than in his middle period; the seeing poet is joined by the visionary, the expres¬ sion. Gretchen is not less essential, but she is certainly no more essential than Helen; the landlady of the Lion Inn in ‘Hermann and Dorothea’, the Demeter-like woman, is - unless the reader can understand only the Homeric in great writing - no more formed than even Makarie, the Uranian woman in the ‘Wandering Years’. The style of old age is itself a Novum, as with Rembrandt, Beethoven, Plato, so with Goethe. It marks a now quite un¬ expected Venturing Beyond, a utopian element quite paradoxical for old age, which precisely because of this circulates in particularly remote, strange and certainly not rounded-off figures. In ‘ Werther’ the attitude and defiance of productivity was: ‘Why does the river of genius break out so seldom, so seldom roar in with high waves and shake your astonished souls? - Dear friends, there are calm gentlemen living on both sides of the river whose summer-houses, tulip beds and vegetable gardens would be destroyed, who therefore know how to dam and drain the land in good time to ward off the impending danger.’ The mature Goethe heard and fructified this river by no means only at its mouth; despite his own summer house, despite his fear of the July revolution and his aversion to vulcanism (minus his own nature, Napoleon and Byron). Precisely Goethe’s late works disturbed those living by the river throughout the last century and beyond, those who wanted to read into Goethe a refined bourgeois idyll or a kind of animalist-cosmic, if possible vapid classicism, a so-called ball of force. Not only this Georgian* classicism but also the completely petit-bourgeois classicism of the last, not yet entirely dead century, is wrecked by the real, i.e. the deep Goethe. The old Goethe in particular, with his powerful allegory-symbolism, has nothing in common with this kind of great simplicity, quiet smallness, beauty in retire¬ ment, and eternal rest for him is only in the Lord God. But Goethe says of the evening of his life: ‘In the composed mind thoughts arise, hitherto unthinkable; they are like blessed demons which settle brilliantly on the peak of the past. ’ And settle not only in the past, because as every past which has been great has peaks, it too, with them, like all that rises up and is mountain¬ like, stands in the future, and all mountains constantly get on well with early light, new day. Just as the downward and the upward path, when it is a matter of brightening, of its real Carpe diem, are one and the same. And nowhere was * Bloch is again referring to Stefan George here.



this present, again precisely this, more intensely experienced than by Goethe. Because he did not devalue it for the sake of a future which was moving away from it; as early as ‘Werther’, the ‘great dawning whole’ was for him a path to every structure of nearness, inscribed in this nearness.



When Karl performed for him tragic storm-clouds from Shakespeare, Goethe, Klinger, Schiller and gazed at life colossally in the poetic magnifying mirror, then all the sleeping giants of his inner life rose up, his father appeared and his future, even his friend stood new before him as if lifted out of that brilliant, fantastic childhood period when he had dreamt of him playing these parts, and even the cloud floating in the sky and the troop of sentries marching across the market-place were included in this inner procession of heroes. Jean Paul, Titan, 54th Cycle Such natures can be regarded as intellectual winged men who with their vehement utterances hint at that which is certainly inscribed in every human heart, though often only in faint and indecipherable characters. Goethe, Appendix to Benvenuto Cellini

No wet straw Yet there is the fear of not being there. And in it the nagging feeling that what has become of us is not right either. This can manifest itself as pushiness, but also as strength which makes space for itself. It rises with a leap out of the monotony which cannot even be well retained. A quite different colour, undispersed, coloured with its own wish, now begins and buds. This is what is already meant in the tale of the little tree that wanted different leaves. They did not take, the foliage was still not right. It is a matter of the right greening, now, at last. This requires the strength to get out into the open. In life this is not so easy, but on patient paper people, characters in fiction, are more easily impatient. Andersen, in the tale of the tinderbox, tells of a soldier, one, two, one, two, he comes marching along the country road. Thanks to



a witch he becomes rich, he keeps for himself the rare tinderbox which he fetched for her. Which he only needs to touch and three huge dogs fulfil his every wish. The people on the march of whom we are about to speak all act as if they had, indeed as if they were, the tinderbox. There are poor devils and great men among them, but they all venture beyond what is apportioned to them, flare up high like fire. They pursue, in foolish fashion or in one which concerns us all, the intention which they are and which they have also set for themselves. The little tree that wanted different leaves is frequent enough among people, but only a few keep this up so insatiably through life. In most cases this kind of thing appears more as fictional painting itself in a colourful light on the wall. But in such a way that, boldly venturing beyond, it very easily steps out of the book to the reader, also always without a tame ending. Attempters of living-life-tothe-full, living-to-the-end have their place here, attempting in the sense of mere tempting but above all of departure, of the Nevertheless against the Because of the habitual and the merely conditioning as habitual. Figures of this kind travel, remain true to unrest, as long as what could still it remains unfound. And because this very thing is not there, such unrestrained characters do not turn back.

Play the lute and drain the glasses What is first shown here is being on the alert as such. With a picturesque rejection of the bourgeois conformist which ranges from the merely gipsy¬ like to that with an individual, sometimes all too individual face. Even the vague word life could provide the watchword here, and it did so around the turn of the century. A rift opened up within the bourgeoisie between the parental home and its interesting sons or daughters. The Art Nouveau period marks the heyday of these human paintings, strutting about in seces¬ sionist fashion or reclining among cheap anemones one moment and expensive orchids the next. But the demand for an individual face and a life commensurate with it could also have very little to do with the arts and crafts. As in the look and negative backward look which Pontoppidan’s many-layered, all-losing, strangely winning hero takes in ‘Lucky Jack’. Trapped in a fusty world, as a youth he makes up lost ground through freethinking: ‘And truly he had never yet felt as clearly as at this moment that he did not belong down there in the dim, oppressive room where his father and his brothers and sisters were now sitting singing hymns



and saying timid prayers amidst the faery splendour of winter - a species of subterranean beings, blind to the brilliance of light, full of dread at life and its glory. Thus he felt thousands of miles away from them, in an utterly different clime, in league with the sun and the stars and the sailing clouds.’ Here speaks a type in which the personal, all too personal desire to escape seeks to be one of power, height, great status, even of sensuality and money, and all this genuinely, not decoratively. ‘Lucky Jack’ is a very upright piece of existence against the ghouls, and one which, as the sequel shows, is too good and too deep not to go astray in the capitalist world, unfortunately every world. It is quite different with the polished figures of living-life-to-the-full at that time, especially where a by no means still fresh venturing beyond but the incipient imperialist one was reflected in the personal sphere. As in several wildly stretched or draped images of artists at the turn of the century: the great actress, the great writer, below these nothing counts. D’Annunzio’s novel ‘The Fire’ thus depicts the Art Nouveau hero quite exaggeratedly, in an opaline but bombastic surge. ‘Ah, all that trembles, weeps, hopes and yearningly strives’, says the writer Stelio to the actress Foscarina, ‘raves in the vastness of life.’ Even in the vague phrase in which the word cosmic extends the word modern, the peculiar, the emptily over-filled gong-tone of secession is at work. All willing to be nervous, a gesture of living life to the full at any cost, as if it could be bought like this. What the late bourgeois sought once again had, in the early bourgeoisie, been truly fresh. Leading one’s own life in an unrestrictedly new way, this was then almost always progressive. The entrepreneur running his business individually announced himself here, the previously existent became a burden. Subject, which certainly does not wish to sow its wild oats, appeared and was varyingly praised in the Sturm und Drang and then in the period of so-called titanic world-weariness. In tyrannos, certainly, but there was also in this, with a simultaneous, often dangerously unclear substitution, the cry: against the philistines. And so on up to early anarchistic supermen, but also to the new revolutionary revulsion at the bourgeois juste milieu, especially when it posed as the so to speak normalhuman. The Swiss psychiatrist Bleuler, as we know, defined the model philistine thus: ‘If we had had to create Adam, we would have formed him syntonic, with a very slight manic complaint, which would have stamped him as a sunny nature.’ How far the dolled-up, let alone the genuine frontier figures of the still revolutionary, even romantic bourgeoisie are from this, how much more like a proper human being even their excesses



appear. Unrestrained demanders and bitter originals found space and, even more so, no space at the frontier: Hoffmann’s conductor Kreisler, Jean Paul’s Schoppe and Vult belong here. Grabbe’s plays, without exception, bring together artists of exaggeration and, characteristically, those who are utterly guiltless: it is always only external causes, the dull resistance of the world, through which they are overthrown. These Gothlands, Sullas, Hannibals, even Don Juan and Faust must be eccentric in Grabbe’s plays, precisely because they rotate so completely around themselves. This is the time when the life-picture of interestingness arises, venturing beyond the temperate zone; the lonelier the more decorative, the more tropical the more it seems subject. But real breaking-out occurs where the writer himself appears on the scene as if he were fictional, where he comes into the play not just from the back, with a lantern, like Grabbe in ‘Joke, Satire, Irony and Deeper Meaning’. Where also - far from the reflected man of letters - the subject cannot cast a comic shadow, but moves us powerfully, causing us to regret all that is sedentary. The true subject-genius of this period, Byron, casts his uninhibited figures not only in literature, he is so much those figures himself that it is almost only the verse which distinguishes Childe Harold, even Manfred, from their astonishing lord. The same melan¬ choly, the same rich despair, the same solitary boredom moves formlessly among these forms; and the same genius of enthusiasm is flung against the mist. A man formed from disdain, pleasure and the drive to be abroad comes to meet himself from his figures in the mirror, in a world completely freed of rabble. Byron’s Venetian harem and even more so his death in Missolunghi could be sung. Almost every figure is repeated, yet none is typical, all have the ardent individuality which can stand itself until the end. ‘Eternal spirit of the chainless mind!’ his hymn to freedom exclaims; although of course the chainless mind is always in league with solitude, as is its Manfred with the high mountains. Individual fullness of life of this kind inevitably creates the stranger. ‘From my youth upwards’, Manfred confesses, My spirit walked not with the souls of men, Nor look’d upon the earth with human eyes; The thirst of their ambition was not mine, The aim of their existence was not mine; My joys, my griefs, my passions and my powers Made me a stranger -



and only a storm-laden sky can accommodate such despair. Of course the defiantly solitary, too, the further away they moved from their clear social adversary, inevitably turned out ambiguous. Admittedly they had not yet become the barbaric-elegant, live-life-to-the-full figures of the fin de siecle, paving the way for a refined fascio.* But this continuingly individual kind of venturing beyond could become simply anti-social; as far as the criminal with the nerve, the Stirnerf and the Nietzsche to pose as a destroyer. Even before this, Lermontov’s Petchorin and then Dostoevsky’s Raskolnikov and Dolgoruky had superbly epitomized these characters, they too derive from an after-image of the Byronic, combined with the cult of Napoleon. Yet the seduction of that which was meant by the Byronic did not cease here, any more than the brilliance of a radical personal specific being. With the system of individual enterprise, bourgeois society first produced the taste for adventurous and gigantic subject-stimuli; and at the same time these appeared to it to be ‘unbourgeois’ when measured against the real citizen, the bourgeois. And a Manfiredian tone, both gloomy and splendid, carried over even to the last figure of this kind: Thomas Mann’s composer Adrian Leverkiihn. It is now time to turn to the originals of venturing beyond: Don Giovanni and above all Faust. Don Giovanni, all women and the wedding The fear of not being there certainly does not remain within itself. For who appears here as music, hunts and shines? A man, impetuous, faithless, wields his sword like no other, enjoys. Only to abandon this pleasure immediately afterwards, for in the next girl an untried pleasure beckons. Don Giovanni is hunted to this by a wish and drive which seems entirely his own. It is carried to the uttermost extreme in him and pierces whatever comes his way. Every pretty woman is all right by him because none is yet the right one, at every one the seducer casts his line, in every one the line is cast for a fish which does not get away but does not satisfy either. Yet all girls and women took particularly great pleasure in his company. Sex shows, with the highest attainable cultivation, in all its by¬ ways, what it can do; nothing else can compare with it. Even the so soulful glances are part of its pleasure, must, as it is an absolutely mutual pleasure, Symbol of the axe and bundle of rods carried by the Roman magistrates to illustrate their power to beat and execute. The symbol was revived by the Italian fascists. Bloch is punning here on ‘Stirn’ - ‘nerve’, and the name of the philosopher, Stirner. He is also contrasting ‘Verbrecher’ - criminal with ‘Zerbrecher’ - destroyer.



serve it for the best. Time and again the cavalier tackles another lady, hurts, amuses, forgets. The audience itself is plunged abruptly into the action, right into the middle. Here we have no hero slowly planning deeds, entangling himself in them only gradually. Instead Mozart opens with Don Giovanni in his prime, in the prime of his sins. Hence the first scene: Leporello dashing to and fro, dismal night, uproar in the house, Don Giovanni storms down the stairs, is seized, flings the woman aside, the escapade has gone wrong. Donna Anna has not succumbed to him, or not yet, the abduction fails, the Commendatore throws himself between them, a grey-haired old man, still daring. Screams, a duel, murder, escape, grief at the father’s death in tones almost plucked from madness, a vow of revenge - what suspense! Like a surge of blood the music rises, violation, death and guilt remain along the way. And at the same time as the cavalier’s advance the retrograde movement also starts up, one which is no longer diverted and for which, in the graveyard, at the highly disturbed banquet, no sentry is a match. Against the quest and the enjoyment of the Now the past gathers, against the sword the stone now rises, absolutely antithetically. Their tone-figures were already in the overture: their first tones are the past or the guest of stone as the deep majestic voice which rings out at the beginning; there follows, contrasted as lightly and frivolously as possible, brilliantly rapid pleasure in the form of the flashing violin run which here moves away from the stone. In other respects too the Don Giovanni tone-figures and those of the other side are sharply differentiated in rhythm and melody; they relate to each other in general as do movement and memory, action and Becomeness. What goes with the stone is music of faith, of a past which Don Giovanni never enters, which thus comes towards him from outside and buries him. But after the first escape the cavalier is fresh again, fresh for many things. He entices Zerlina with the sweetest song that has ever tempted a girl. ‘Ah, lasciate mi andar via’, the girl pleads. ‘No, no resta, gioja mia’, sings the seducer or unconditional dissipation. * Life itself is thrusting at Zerlina, and its castle is not far from here, it is Cythera. A demon of pleasure glows in the champagne aria, in the solitary presto which is exactly appropriate to him. The cavalier becomes forgetful to the point of callousness in the disguise scene with Elvira, and unrepentant, matter-of-fact to the point of sublimity as he pays the bill before the Commendatore’s statue. But all this Carpe diem takes place in a space no longer free, Don Giovanni’s path darkens with the suffering ‘Oh, let me go.’ ‘No, no, stay, my joy.’



of others which now no longer remains behind him. More and more clearly the tension between the sword (penis) and the stone becomes the basic structure, thus it stratifies itself. The line of this antithesis now runs through all the manifold complications, intermezzi and fight-scenes, buffooneries and serenades; indeed it orders the complex interweaving of opera buffa and tragic opera which makes Mozart’s work, in this respect, the musical equivalent of a Shakespearean work. At the end of the first act the counter¬ blow comes: the banquet scene presents it for the listener, with an incomparable counterpoint between the joy of life and blood revenge. The music is in C major, but not all rhythms and chords are consonant with it - not the stiff trio of the conspirators, not their rock-like homophony. Don Giovanni himself is not affected until the chorale which resounds into the graveyard from the Commendatore’s statue; and in the encounter when the guest of stone appears, the clash between the two tone-figures finally occurs. The structure of the overture is thus reversed in the action of the opera: the majestic andante of the first theme now stands at the end, comes from the end towards the cavalier. ‘Don Giovanni, al cena teco m’invitasti e son venuto’,* the guest of stone calls out, and finds Don Giovanni un¬ daunted. There is no music dramatically more effective than this, none with such precise antiphons. As we have seen, the champagne aria, its almost spaceless presto of pure intensity, is the most appropriate figure for Don Giovanni. But now the starry space of the Commendatore’s song looms, in Mozart’s broad intervals, and with an accompanying world-law which crushes the individual. Against the demonic force of nature, erupting here as boundless hetairism in an individual, another, later demonism arises: that of law, with crime and punishment. Because the force of nature no longer appears nameless but manifests itself in an individual, because law measures it by the standards of the order which has become and not for example by its strength or its beauty, the sexual force of nature itself appears as hubris, though of course in its precise sense as Dionysian. Don Juan becomes the most brilliant wishful image, the guiding image of seduction, the most un¬ questionable erotic power-person. And as such, though a man in his potency and precisely because of this, he belongs with the women’s god Dionysus, who has rebelled against marriage and order. The sword and the stone met on equal terms in the No! and the Yes! of the final scene, and the No to restricting morality does not capitulate. Its unconditionalness does not repent, does not mend its ways, chooses rather destruction than this: no longer to be ‘Don Giovanni, you invited me to dine with you and I have come’.



Don Giovanni. Unbroken sexuality, with the Absolutum of its love-drive, has no Ash Wednesday, does not buy it, certainly does not seek the highest moment in heaven. Don Giovanni shows himself to be at all times in command of the moment, i.e. in command of that moment in which the man is, in which he is as man. Precisely in his downfall, Don Giovanni’s presto becomes completely metallic and therefore just as indestructible, just as eternal, as the Commendatore’s stone. It is this kind of dynamism which at one point, in one person, perturbs even the opposing side, and, with Donna Anna, perturbs the music of piety (to her father and her bridegroom). Donna Anna, the only character on a par with Don Giovanni, seduces herself through the cavalier, she loves him and is in conflict. This is not only the posthumous interpretation of E. T. A. Hoffmann, in his famous novella; already a hundred years previously Goldoni, in his play ‘Don Giovanni’, had hit upon the truth: Donna Anna is engaged to Ottavio without any particular affection for him and is captivated by the great lover. In Mozart’s music, too, Ottavio quite clearly does not come across as a worthy object of the love in Donna Anna’s song, of the conflict-laden vehemence of its excess. Nor does her mourning for her father conceal the unhappiness of a different allegiance; this mourning is all the more revealing precisely because its music is formed more from the fiery material of the Don Giovanni world than from the world of piety. In Donna Anna’s last great aria: To crudele? O no, mio caro’,* mourning for her father quite clearly merges into pain of longing, into a flaming of coloratura which leaves nothing at all of Ottavio, and behind which Don Giovanni looms gigantically. Don Giovanni in his sudden flaring contains an element of depth which Donna Anna well understood, which ultimately could not be completely rejected even by the maestoso of the Commendatore, which is one of Becomeness and of its law. Turmoil from an as yet unilluminated natural force here takes on moderately elucidated history; morality has proscribed or at best halved eros, but it has not incorporated it or blasted it apart. And so it announces itself subversively; Don Giovanni himself, not just the Commendatore, thus gives a - prophetic warning. The Commendatore gives his warning from the heaven of the existing moral law and he makes it come true. But Don Giovanni gives his warning from an abyss which he not only races over but makes manifest by a demonic eruption: it is the abyss of the classical Dionysus. But can clearly evaluating words be used, moving all, for this kind of unrest? This is the question, especially when we consider the time in which * ‘I, cruel? O no, my dear.’



the cavalier appeared as life itself. Don Giovanni, or rather the perception of him, has undergone many a transformation, similar to that of Faust though not so fundamental. The Don Juan legend goes back to the fourteenth century, it formed, probably in Seville, around the historically substantiated person of a wild beau and seducer. The motif of the guest of stone is older, it possibly derives from fear of the pagan gods excavated from time to time, which were believed to be only apparently dead or only apparently of marble. Yet the guest of stone, transformed into the statue of a good man, was included in the action from the beginning; the lecher displayed his bold courage against it. The first dramatic treatment, Molina’s ‘El Burlador de Sevilla’ (The Mocker of Seville), 1630, heightens the medieval antithesis between the flesh and the spirit to authentically Baroque contrasts; on the one hand the most voluptuous enjoyment of life, and on the other God’s judge¬ ment, damnation, the jaws of hell. Don Juan, apart from his sensuality, appears as a mocker, but at the end he begs, in vain repentance, for a confessor. Nonetheless he is still a powerful piece of nature; his delight in mockery itself comes from force, not from intellect, and naturally believes the other world, against which it measures itself, to be real. But the cavalier comes across quite differently in Moliere’s slightly later version, ‘Don Juan or the Feast of Stone’, 1645; its hero is unlovable and nothing else. The play is a bitter-bourgeois satire, not one on the lust of the flesh in general but on French court society. In Moliere’s hands the seducer becomes the type of the beau of the time, fear¬ less but a cold rationalist, full only of egotism, without passion. He conquers also by the extraordinary sword of love, by domineering or witty charm, but even more by the social power which he can bring to bear and bring into play, and, with ladies of rank, by his promises of fidelity and marriage. Moreover Don Juan - in line here with the incipient bourgeois enlightenment - is an atheist, no longer a blasphemer; thus his final challenge loses its back¬ ground, and his courage - against supernatural forces in which he does not believe - becomes more a provocation of the religious than strong thinking. Moliere’s play had little influence compared with his great plays; the anti¬ thetical material was more closely preserved throughout the eighteenth century in puppet plays and folk plays; ‘with Kaspar’s merry pranks’,* which replaces Leporello, with the seducer who rightly, but also uprightly, goes to hell. And Da Ponte, Mozart’s librettist, regained for this ambiguous, brilliant Kaspar, sometimes ‘black Kaspar’, the name possibly derived from one of the Three Kings, was originally a cobold or folk-devil in German dialects. Via the popular comedies of the Viennese actor Laroche, in the eighteenth century, he became the central figure in the Kasperletheater, the German equivalent of the Punch and Judy show.



character all the dimensions which Mozart’s music needed in order to depict the villainous as well as the utopian-moving element. The villainous as well as the utopian-moving element, we said, an antithesis therefore, and here the far from clear aspect of this kind of venturing beyond and unrest, here Mozart’s Don Giovanni problem arises, as that of a strangely speckled titanism. Is Don Giovanni as Mozart portrays him a wolf or a human face among nothing but masks? Does he belong entirely to the society of the ancien regime, as its most immoral representative, or is there a trace in him, in his erotically explosive turmoil, of an element of return to nature? Does Don Giovanni, if he is recognized as an explosive phenomenon, epitomize mere blighted nature which breaks forth, itself corrupt, from collapsing feudalism, or does he provide unadulterated, in itself musical and thus certainly not corrupt nature for Mozart’s music? Is Mozart’s Don Giovanni therefore simply ancien regime and rococo or does this turn against itself, not only in his downfall, in the final act and the threats which prepare for it, but in a kind of pre-Byronic manner of the hero, who cannot bind his will in stunting laws? But again Don Giovanni’s frivolity contradicts this, even more so the exploitation of feudal monopolies for the love register, monopolies not connected with Priapus and Sturm und Drang but with velvet, silk, castle, beau; as in the case of Zerlina when the gracious master steals her away from the peasant Masetto. Doubts enough for a single character and about it, especially for the most brilliant guiding image of orgiastic and hence of Dionysian venturing beyond the limits. Since time began pleasure has after all only been for the gentleman, who does not work. An adventure leads the rich man to a bar, it lands the poor man in prison. And before 1789 Carmens, girls from the common people, were always possible, as were a few adventurers, but Don Juan, who is brilliant in every way, had to be presentable at court precisely for this reason. And this side of the seducer, that of the aristocratic lecher, unquestionably appears in Mozart too, although it again is very crossed. The abandoned Elvira speaks for all the dishonoured and deceived when she calls on the gods of revenge and the burning flash of lightning, although it is Don Giovanni himself who, without revenge, within desire, storms most powerfully. At first the libretto and music in Mozart are against the seducer, still contain much of Moliere’s interpretation, which saw Don Juan as a roue only. Consequently the familiar revolutionary accents are heard only from the peasant Masetto, his antagonist, and perhaps also in Leporello’s surly grousing, according to which his master would be sure to end up on the guillotine. In the case of this libertine it seems hopeless



and futile to talk of revolt, against tradition, against bigotry, for the Natural Right of passion. The French Revolution, the bourgeois-moral revolution, was clearly meant for Masetto, not for a privilege or Natural Right primae noctis. The beau is not repressed, he has only his utterly unrepressed lasciviousness behind him, the people are behind him only to avenge their ravished daughters. So this is one aspect of Don Giovanni, deriving from Moliere and partially preserved in Mozart’s work. Yet against this stands the other Don Giovanni, the forceful nature, very much after the hearts of the bourgeois Stunner und Dranger. Mozart certainly celebrates him, in the champagne aria and above all in the final scene, and was not the French Revolution, apart from its often resentful bourgeois morality, also versed in burgundy and free love? Did it not have beside its Robespierre its Danton, a veritable lion of pleasure and a highly popular one too? Has not thisworldly pleasure, so popularly at home in France anyway, been an ancestral part of materialism since Epicurus and Lucretius? In fact the image of Don Juan changed precisely through the French Revolution; the aristocratic lecher now completely joined the ranks of the free or of the ver sacrum against the mumbling priests - as with a democrat such as Lenau, an anar¬ chistic rebel such as Grabbe, and the kindred genius of Byron. Instead of the cold egotist, the bringer of joy or the absolutist of a single boundless feeling now appears; Byron’s ‘Don Juan’, certainly intended as a satire against cant, reaction and bigotry, precisely for this reason (‘to sail in the wind’s eye’) can identify the Titan of joy:- ‘There’s not a meteor in the polar sky/Of such transcendent and more fleeting flight.’ With the Romantic transformation his affinity with all other types of defiance now also emerged, i.e. not merely of insistence on individual specific being but on an uncon¬ ditional drive aiming at the unconditional. Don Juan’s affinity with Faust emerged, the radical love-drive in the former, the radical drive for knowledge and experience in the latter. Indeed the two passions did not even remain separated from each other and thus confined to their respective types: Faust is completely organically connected with the Gretchen material, and Don Juan, at least in Lenau’s deep version, displays a drive for knowledge. What he is simply seeking here is the One, the idea of woman, and his empirical unfaithfulness is the highest faithfulness to love, i.e. against the being with whom he could stay. Lenau depicts Don Juan as being as universal in his way and as in need of landing as Faust: ‘The mind which seeks to grasp all things must feel/imprisoned and forlorn in each detail; -/This is what makes me thirst eternally/And drags me from woman to woman fatally.’ And so this other Don Juan rushes through ‘The magic circle, so immensely



wide,/Of lovely women, all the charms they hide’, just as Faust journeys through his world circles; both in pursuit of the moment which does not turn to disgust or boredom once it is entered. Though, of course, Don Juan’s stops on this quest are both more numerous and more incomplete, indeed more incompletable. In Spain alone he makes one thousand and three such stops (Kierkegaard very acutely points out that this is an uneven number), and as for the end, it comes through Don Juan’s death alone, not through a presentiment of a highest happiness, as we know. Never¬ theless, Lenau’s Don Juan, in his magic circle of women, provides - though in a far narrower field - the unmistakable counterpart, one which has since been clearly worked out, to Faust’s drive for fulfilment. The eccentric Grabbe even coupled Don Juan and Faust in a single play, dividing the two souls in Faust’s breast among two unconditional absolutists. Grabbe’s Don Juan became Faust in the region of ‘the south of life’, Grabbe’s Faust is Don Juan ‘in the cold zone’. The memory of Moliere’s courtly villain has thus vanished altogether: ‘Oh tropic land of hottest powers of love!/ Oh magic wilds where deepest passions move!’ - this is not the court of the ancien regime or the joys of vice seen through the eyes of bourgeois morality. A curious shifting indeed, a shifting of the beau to become a titanic bohemian, ambiguously titanizing against the reduction which has come about and is known as the bourgeois. It was precisely against the latter that the new image of Don Juan rose up, above all E. T. A. Hoffmann’s: as yes to joy, no to embourgeoisement and to all the statues of an extinguished past. This is the most prominent motif of this figure, one which even combines Carpe diem with impietas towards the dead (father, ancestors). The living to the full of the Now, the standing stream of happiness are sought, not abdication of the most natural of all excesses in the face of tradition, habit, Becomeness and alienation. Don Juan and Faust seek instead, in boundless setting forth, the moment when at last wedding could be, at last high time. * The lightning flash in which Don Giovanni appears and remains is certainly not the brightest light for the incommensurate in man, but it is the most dazzling. Faust, macrocosm, Stay awhile you are so fair The urge to the Here and Now is never confined to its own, inner place. It is only felt first here, and released here, but in such a way that everything Bloch is playing on the literal meaning of ‘Hochzeit’ - wedding, which is ‘high time’.



outside is to be well and truly collected and prepared in this nearness. This unites the figures of unrest as soon as they make and have space around them. En route to fullness they are equally world-experiencing, churning women and everything else up in search of what can still their longing. Most visibly the maestro of unrest, who now appears at the peak above and in the midst of all others: Doctor Faust, or unconditionalness which is both intensive and extensive. He is the venturer beyond the limits par excellence, yet always enriched by his experience when he has ventured beyond it, and finally saved in his striving. He thus represents the highest example of utopian man, his name remains the best, the most instructive. This hero had certainly not seemed destined for such a role, on the contrary, the first Faust-book con¬ demned ‘the arch-sorcerer who tried to grow eagle’s wings to explore the secrets of heaven and earth’. The later puppet plays were no exception either, they performed the execution of his sentence to hell in a manner which, though moving, was also forbidding. And the Ur-Faust of 1587* was not the later Sturmer und Dranger, the free, questing, unconditional man, he was caricatured as a Catholic scholastic. The presentation, though not the hero, of the first Faust-book was Protestant, in the dark Lutheran sense. Luther had taught the complete unfreedom of the will and he hated ‘foolish reason’: both were meant to appear as forbidding as possible in the sorcerer Faust. Faust, with his haughtiness and his scholastic diabolical knowledge, was even meant to serve as the exact black foil to Luther, the plain, god-fearing man of faith, and this in the same town, Wittenberg. Obviously it is a long way from here to the Faust-image of later Protestantism, to the affirmed excess of the thirst of will and the thirst for knowledge. An ideological scene-shift took place, corresponding to the emerging individualistic economy, which was delayed in Germany. In England, where no more feudal barriers stood in the way of entrepreneurial activity, the re-interpretation of the sorcerer was easier. Marlowe’s Faustus of 1604, f though the jaws of hell also await him, already appears not as a sinner but as a kind of complex martyr. The martyr of his intellectual excessiveness, his denial of God, his will to the un¬ attainable; in short, the conquistador in Faust found sympathy. But Lessing was the first to conceive the plan of transforming the ‘in aeternum damnatus’ into a salvation, indeed into a triumph; also the motif of the wager by which the alliance with the devil is kept hanging in the balance, so to speak, this ‘Historia von D. Johann Fausten’, chapbook which appeared in Frankfurt in this year, t Bloch is giving the first publication date here (of the contested ‘A’ text). Marlowe drew on P. F. (Gent)’s English translation of the ‘Historia’ and wrote his play possibly in the late 1580s, but certainly by 1593, i.e. the year of his murder.



momentous motif is first found here. Lessing’s Faust fragment opens up the new standpoint, in keeping with the eighteenth century’s individualistic drive to perfection. Faust’s soul is still consigned to hell, but only in a vision; a voice from on high calls out to the hoodwinked devils: ‘You shall not triumph. God has not given man the noblest of drives in order to make him eternally unhappy.’ Thus the path to the salvation of Faust’s soul was clear, as in heaven so on earth, at least in literature; the widely decried sorcerer becomes canonical. In Goethe’s hands, his individual case becomes universal, a representative of that subjectivity which despite its finiteness seeks to grasp the infinite. In appearance and not-yet-appearance, before it the day, behind it the night, beneath it the waves To venture out into the world I dare The woes of earth, the joys of earth to bear, To fight with storms without a care And in the grinding shipwreck not despair* a representative of the exodus to powerful surprise. The will of an intention not confinable to its bourgeois shape remains glorious as on the first day: the intention to experience subject-mediation in the world and through it - with the problem of fulfilled moment at bottom. This moment of full Being-There and its Intentional-Absolute - is experimented with throughout the entire work, from Auerbach’s cellar to ‘free people on free ground’t and beyond: it works on in the Faustian question and in the respectively answering, respectively re-transcended counterparts of the world. The theme of the Here and Now or of the self-presenting moment was already given in ‘Werther’: ‘How can you say: this is! when everything passes? When everything rolls past with the speed of clouds, the whole power of its existence so seldom lasts, alas! is swept into the torrent, submerged and smashed against the rock?’ The theme of the fulfilled moment, i.e. the moment which is made to stay, the emptied-out, attained moment, constitutes Faust’s wager. Certainly not in the sense of an abstract idea and its thin thread, which Goethe ridiculed, foreseeing schematists and intellectualists ignorant of art. The life-poem Faust, on the contrary, moves towards a very concrete idea, one so concrete that it is no longer an idea at all but an experiment, though one with a goal, directed at the fulfilling. This is sought by a man among men, beginning in Auerbach’s ‘Faust’, Part I, 464-7. t Cf. ‘Faust’, Part II, 11580.



cellar and on to ‘free people on free ground’ and beyond, but - to remove all doubts about its equally totally outside-world character - the striving and resolve for the highest existence is kept in line with that of nature. Above all with its morning, its significant morning: You, earth, were also constant on this night And at my feet refreshed you breathe anew, Now you begin with pleasure to surround me, A strong resolve is moved and stirred by you To strive for highest existence constantly.* Thus for Faust there is no longer any subjectivism in self-fulfilment but an eye-opening of the world he has thoroughly experienced; hence the complete outward look in the inward look, indeed in-dwelling of the Faust subject. The incognito of the driving content in the spacious gallery of states and attempted final states which Faust strides through just as it moves through him: this existing incognito is here extended from the person to the world and at the same time circumscribed with world-figures. Faust in the magic cloak which carries him through the air lives and ventures beyond everything which has been granted to him out of the most concen¬ trated and extensive will for the moment - the same will which determines the wager. The Faustian centre goes through world and heaven, both work in progressive mediation as symbols around it, but of course in the end neither the world nor its heaven yet enclose this eccentric centre. So this ego is everywhere on its way, does not remove its cloak till the very end. Faust tests himself, learns en route, a route constantly animated with Objects. He extends his self both to the existence which is apportioned, could be apportioned to all men, and to comradeship with wood, meadow, storm, fire, star. He who ventures in all directions attains the infinite; thus the subject enters ever new world-circles and leaves them both enriched and - unsatisfied. The action of Faust is that of a dialectical journey in which every pleasure attained is deleted by a separate new desire which awakens within it. And every attained arrival is refuted by a new movement opposing it; for something is missing, the fair moment is yet to come. From his experience in Auerbach’s cellar Faust realizes that pleasure debases, in the Gretchen tragedy love gives rise to guilt, and war irrupts into the Helen of Troy scene: nothing uncon¬ ditional is at its goal. The final scene on earth is prophetically capitalistic, describing the foundation of land mingled with robbery and murder - ‘My ‘Faust’, Part II, 4681-5.



most prized possession is not pure.’ Faust’s dialectical world-tour, with its continual corrections, has only one parallel: Hegel’s ‘Phenomenology of Mind’. Faust changes with his world, the world changes with its Faust, a test and an essentiation in ever new layers until ego and Other could harmonize purely. In Hegel this is the ascending mutual determination of subject by object, of object by subject until the subject is no longer tainted with the object as with something alien. It is from this will to the fulfilled Now and Being-For-Itself that the agent of the wager stems, as it carries the self- and world-movement of the poem usque ad finem. Goethe gave the wager a precise legal formulation and the profoundest utopian formulation: the ‘Stay awhile, you are so fair’, spoken to the moment, describes the utopia of Being-There par excellence. Everywhere the rest-giving moment, Being-There which stays to objectify itself, is still absent: in the creation of a paradisial land the Stay Awhile itself appears as land. In its presentiment the real Ithaca, the Ithaca congruent with our longing, the identity of the impulse of human intention with its content, is touched on. Such presence has nothing in common, not even at its edges, with the transience which lives from day to day or from moment to moment. Grasping of self, power over being, is not Carpe diem; otherwise Faust would have been finished as early as Auerbach’s cellar. And it has also become clear that even the consummate and penetrating desire, the lust embodied in Don Giovanni - a figure so closely related to Faust - even la nuit et le moment still remain in the forecourt of the real moment. Faust at least in the arms of Gretchen, of Helen, even in the presence of classical beauty, did not - utter the presentiment which causes him to lose the wager and gain bliss. The motive for the enjoyment of the highest moment is added - though merely vicariously - only at the end, as an act of reclaiming land, but in hct paradisial land, its foundation from what was once swamp, is intertwined with it. A ship is signalled that is at last slowly slipping to the wharves, a ‘masterpiece of the human mind’ is supposed to be signified, a portion of the seventh day of creation. If Don Juan diffuses a Dionysian aura, then Prometheus is alive in Faust: not merely the Titan but the one devoted to man. Faust’s final action is undertaken wholly in the spirit of this devotion, i.e. human nearness, indeed it is this; the macrocosm becomes free people on free ground, a purely human drama. And in it the macrocosm or Faust’s cosmological extension curves towards the one thing that is needful - morality. Everything that is really uncon¬ ditional lands in morality and has in it its graspable practice, gathering up the entire world to a final point. The unconditional aspect of striving



is not the infinite, neither the bad infinite, as eternal, empty, formal continuance, as flight over the restricted, which, as Hegel says, ‘does not gather itself within itself and cannot bring the negative back to the positive’, nor is the unconditional aspect of striving a content-based infinite which, when called God, is supposed to be located somewhere in a strange transcendence. The purely human drama which Faust finally stages and in which he experiences a presentiment of the highest moment is, on the contrary, morality of the end; for all end, if there is anything substantial going on in it, is morality. That which is conceived as God or highest good, for Faust too, as in every genuine intention of the unconditional, tends towards the regnum hominis. It is this unconditional aspect and its re-connection with human nearness which emerges at the end of Faust, and which leads Kant to say: ‘God and the other world are the only goal of all philosophical investigations’, but also leads him to conclude: ‘And if God and the other world were not connected with morality they would be of no use.’ It is because the Faustian moment lacks a supernatural background that the utopian-humane character of nearness emerges so un¬ mistakably. Regardless of the heavenly sequel or the higher spheres or the higher unrest: for even in the transcendental high mountains of the Faustian heaven, Gretchen carries the moment with her. Goethe, in the Eternally Female, describes both the eros which began everything and the loveliest Humanum in which the element of unrest of the all-beginning symbolizes a landing. In the goal-content of Faust’s wager Goethe thus identified the human-worldly final problem per se; the adequation of the most deeply intending, intensifying, realizing, into the Here and Now (the fulfilled moment) of its content. The moment is the That-enigma of being which itself is hidden in every moment as this moment and which finally wishes to urge itself on to its What-solution or content-solution. ‘Stay awhile, you are so fair’, spoken to the moment: here is the metaphysical guiding panel for full existence and without hinterworld. To shudder is the best part of mankind, i.e. when the figures of unrest harmonize with the cantus firmus of Hie et nunc in the world, in this intended - Nunc stans.

Faust, Hegel’s Phenomenology and the event The hunger for a fulfilled life did not wait until it had been described. But the rising bourgeois movement made it particularly varied, resounding in broad youth. It is no coincidence that from Marlowe to Lenau the Faust



theme itself was tackled restlessly. It is no coincidence that as the Sturm und Drang ego began to learn from experience the Faust theme estab¬ lished contact with the emerging Erziehungsroman. Goethe’s dramatic poem lives from both, from storm against the world and from restorative education by the world; during its genesis it grew of itself from one into the other. Apart from its subject-matter it has little in common with Marlowe’s power-hungry Faustus, and only the final tone coincides with that of Calderon’s drama of grace, in which striving endeavour is crowned. On the other hand, Goethe’s Faust was illuminated by the good, by the best of what, chronologically and factually, lay so close to him, regardless of whether Goethe knew it: by the idea which the path from Sturm und Drang to the Erziehungsroman arrived at. As we have stressed in the previous section, the dynamic of Faust is closest to that in Hegel’s ‘Phenomenology of Mind’. The movement of the restless conscious¬ ness through the spacious gallery of the world, the inadequate as Becoming the event: this stormy history of work and formation between subject and object connects Faust with the Phenomenology. Most visibly in the characteristic style of immanent mediation which occurs on ever higher levels between the way of man and the way of the world. Under¬ lying it is the journeying forth or setting forth of the bourgeois subject from the narrow conditions granted to it into the wide world. At least Sturm und Drang offers opposition in Germany, and so Gotz, Karl Moor, delight in letting off steam, the infinite prerogative of the heart, and self-commitment come into their own. But a counterforce to this is increasing grown-upness in the bourgeois world, together with the growth of this world itself: the course of the world works against the immediate, ill-mannered character. This reaction is expressed in the Erziehungsroman, with the subject as receptivity and progression through years of appren¬ ticeship. ‘Wilhelm Meister’ thus in parts became anti-Werther and anti-Gotz, to the same extent as existing society acquired a good, even a commanding, conscience or even as the feudal rallied against the Jacobin. The historical-social object rallied against the subject, though in such a way that the subject remained present in it. With the departure from self which it had acquired, with the index of journeying forth and thorough experiencing which it had brought into play, with the Ratio now becoming ‘concrete’ to which the Become-worldly had to show its credentials. The structure of Faust and the Phenomenology is now incessantly formed from setting-forth and the way of the world. Faust ‘paces out the whole circle of creation on the narrow stage’; Hegel’s Mind partakes in re-membering



of all world figures. It reconstitutes for the world-mind the adventure of necessity, or the patience ‘to pass through all these forms in the long extension of time and to take over the enormous labour of world history, in which it has fashioned its entire content’ (Werke, 1832, II, p. 24). Hegel in the Phenomenology goes on the philosophical grand tour to the courts of the world, and though he lacks Faust’s magic cloak he does have the ‘seven-league boots of the idea’. In Faust as in the Mind of the Phenomenology the desire is again and again aroused to perceive oneself as the question, the world as the answer, but also the world as the question and oneself as the answer. Again and again the subject travels through the object as to an answering Object to the respective kind of subject, again and again, by means of the object itself, in its thorough experiencing, a new level of subject is attained. It is not the same Faust who starts off in Auerbach’s cellar or in the Emperor’s palace. ‘When therefore the mind,’ thus ends Hegel’s Phenomenology, ‘appearing to depart solely from itself, starts its creation again from the beginning, it is on a higher level that it starts. The realm of minds which has thus formed in existence constitutes a succession in which one replaced the other and each one took over the realm of the world from its predecessor. Its goal is the revelation of depth, and this is the absolute idea; this revelation is thus the cancellation of its depth or its extension, the negativity of this ego being-within-itself, which is its disposal or substance, - and its time, that this disposal disposes itself on itself, and thus in its extension as well as its depth is to the self’ (l.c., p. 611). It is a powerfully related intention which runs through the action of Faust, which extends Faust’s self to become that of mankind. And this subject seeks to be related to every travelling force in things, related even to the earth spirit: the agent of the entire world is Faust, and Faust develops in all forms of this world-agent. The journey is out of the inadequate, which is eternally thirsting, to the event, which ends disposal. The ego, freshly and fittingly, always starts out here anew, its eye changes. The man stands as another before the mug from which he drinks and again as another before the woman, the job and everything that is meant to satisfy him. This adaptation, whether Faust is entering Auerbach’s cellar or other places, has its prehistory, which is that of the gradually comprehending subject. The gradation of the ego in relation to the respective non-egos mediating with it is reflected world conduct. Goethe’s dramatic poem implicitly contains this gradation, the Phenomenology contains it explicitly, in its ordered structure. And its prehistory clearly begins in



medieval mysticism, in its travel books (itineraria) to God. The traveller himself here changes his equipment and preparation according to the terrain and the object he has to cope with. The first Faustian and knowledge-seeking soul to emerge clearly was Augustine, and the Augustinian Hugh of St Victor was the first to map out the succession of stages through which a religious Faust approaches his religious Eritis sicut deus. These are cogitatio, meditatio, contemplatio, the three eyes through which we know; the objects correspond¬ ing to them are: matter, soul, God. Nicholas of Cusa, on the same journey, writes of four stages for the subject of cognition: sensus, ratio, intellectus, visio; the objects corresponding to them are: individual things, the distinct genera, the dialectical world of numbers and the mystical union of all opposites, including subject and object. And it is again an itinerarium, this time without theology, which graduates the various starting points in the Faust poem. As rejuvenation, as renewal stressed again and again: in the meadow of flowers after Gretchen, in the high mountains after Helen, as blindness before the active vision, as the heavenly chrysalis state.* And it is the itinerarium of the Idea which in the Phenomenology connects starting points of scientific form to one another, together with sheer world-terraces: sensory certainty or the This - perception or the Thing - self-consciousness, reason, mind, absolute knowledge. Indeed it is instructive that the above-mentioned gradual itinerarium which makes Faust and the Phenomenology methodologically similar has at the same time two smaller parallels or even counterparts. One in a poem of Schiller’s, strung together on the progress of a walk, the other in a treatise by Schelling where academic study forms the main thread of the development. Faust’s magic cloak appears in milder form in Schiller’s ‘The Walk’ of 1795, Hegel’s seven-league boots of the Idea - stamping right across the land of knowledge - appear in miniature form in Schelling’s ‘Lectures on the Method of Academic Study’ of 1803. The wanderer in Schiller’s poem enters, in seemingly haphazard order, places which come after one another in history. The subject is so to speak decked out with the elements of the meadow, the wood, the blue mountains, the fields and villages, the town with its various occupations, the river and the distant treasures which it brings with it; the chamber of the wise man is glimpsed and again, high above, the pure altar of nature. All this is linked with rich associations, starting from and again returning to the wanderer, a didactic poem of history emerging, in a sequence of perspectives. ScheUing’s vade-mecum, on the other hand, moves entirely in the town itself, indeed in the shades of the lecture hall. But in * Cf. Faust, Part II, 11981-8.



such a way that he gives the shades blood to drink and now, as if they were departed souls, they give an abbreviated account of the remembered world.* The sole location is the universitas litterarum, the main theme is the sequence of lectures, which journeys into the process of the world like the universitas into the universe. From self-knowledge the primal knowledge of the universe is supposed to be developed, the world of numbers opens up, the world, fuller in ideas, of the philosophical Idea, the various branches of knowledge appear with their world, theology, law, physics, medicine, and finally the study of the fine arts. The entire progress takes place within the framework of study, or more precisely of the construction of a primal knowledge which on its way through the faculties is supposed to remember and unfold itself. The sequence of the faculties is so disposed as if it recapitulated an idea-sequence of the world itself; the subjects of scholarship become the same as opened writings, indeed mountains in which essential being sparkles. But to return to Faust, his line is not only that of the paced-out world but of the wager which strikes into the moment. The perfect moment remains the fundamental problem of the Faust-subject, the powerful moment which no longer pulls him into alienation. But here the newness of the Goethe version also appears, it appears precisely in what the form of Faust has in common with the Phenomenology in so many ways. In what it also has in common with Schiller’s wandering poem and with Schelling’s transparent pedagogy and at all points with the merging or succession of Sturm und Drang and the Erziehungsroman. The Stay Awhile, spoken to the moment, is as original as origin and its end itelf, it remains the unique, so long uncomprehended metaphysics of the Faust poem. So that light is shed on previous philosophy only from the content of the wager, no longer vice-versa. Even meanings striking powerfully into the existere are illuminated more by Faust than Faust by them; here the wager has a monopoly. The journey to the spheres itself, in which Faust transforms and identifies himself, is related to the Phenomenology, and the Faust poem has in this a philosophy of its action, but in the philosophy of its core the relation is reversed: Hegel’s Being-ForItself is illuminated and made important solely by the backgrounds of the wager. The form of action in Faust is legitimated in Hegelian terms, i.e. by the constant dialectical relation of consciousness to its Object, by which both continually determine each other more precisely until an identity

Cf. Homer, ‘Odyssey’, Bk. II, where the shades cannot speak to Odysseus until they have drunk the sheep’s blood.



between subject and object is developed. But the core dialectic of the Phenomenology is legitimated only by Faust’s self-fulfilling intensity and morality of the intended moment; it is only here, strikingly, that what Hegel posits as the superior knowledge of Being-For-Itself proves itself. It is only the wager which makes Being-For-Itself cancelled reflection or involved reality; it is only on the path to the moment that Phenomenology really becomes that which Hegel celebrates: ‘Progress to this goal is therefore inexorable and at no earlier stage is satisfaction to be found.’ Phenomenology, outside mere mirror-consciousness, becomes an appear¬ ing, namely of the Absolute in self and world, it becomes in reality ‘the path of the soul, which passes through the series of its fashionings, as stages staked out by its nature, so that it may refine itself into mind, attaining by the complete experiencing of itself the knowledge of what it is in itself’ (l.c., p. 63). For Faust the act, most emphatically the act of pursued identity, is not only at the beginning but also at the end. Kierkegaard, and before him Schelling, criticized Hegel for his merely conceptual processing-out of self from immediateness; an exaggerated criticism, for within the cadre of the Idea Hegel never talks of anything but the fact that mind becomes for itself, comes to itself, unites with itself. It is not Kierkegaard but the central key-phrase ‘Stay awhile you are so fair’ which cancels out the eternally distant thought of consciousness. It not only interprets but ignites, which is what the Phenomenology ultimately wants of the course of consciousness: ‘By driving itself on to its true existence it will reach a point where it casts off its appearance, of being burdened with the extraneous, which is only for it and as something different, or where appearance becomes identical with essence’ (l.c., p. 72). The Faust plan, in its constantly recurring sequence: topical Now - historically ramified sphere of figures - informed yet unsatisfied existence, this subject-object-subject plan is the basic model of the dialecticalutopian system of material truth. And the event* of the moment, of the all-driving, all-containing moment, remains the conscience of this plan; the attainment* of the That or of the striving itself. Goethe’s poem described its content together with the speculation of the time and above it; it describes the stages in the world tour to the fulfilled moment, i.e. to a world like Being-For-Itself. Equally it is in the content of the Faust wager and only in it that the precisely striking metaphysics of nearness at which venturings beyond the Emit aim is described. A metaphysics which is no longer duped * Bloch is playing here on ‘Ereignis’ (event) and ‘Erreichnis’ (attainment).



by so many distant hinterworlds or superworlds; the further then seemingly the better, the higher then seemingly the more sublime. Genuine utopian metaphysics is latent precisely in Faust’s immanent key-phrase, a metaphysics which is versed not only in what the poodle contains* but also in what heaven contains. It leads from the other world into the deepest, i.e. most this-worldly This-world, just as it also uses the entire long tubus of unrest, world-width and world utopia to glimpse what is really nearest - the moment. In order, in the moment, to make sure of the real world-knot and therefore also of the great joy which possibly seals its loosening. And another point, almost the most important: Goethe’s Faust certainly does not, as is finally the case in Hegel’s Phenomenology, sense and touch the Being-For-Itself of the fulfilled moment, as loss of Objectivity itself, as resolution of all objectiveness, therefore not only of alienated objectiveness, into the subject, one which has finally become worldless. On the contrary, precisely Faust’s contact with the fulfilled moment is such because at the same time it has around it the sphere, no longer alienated from this moment, of an at last adequately contacted object-basedness (reclamation of land, eternal realms). The moment of this Being-For-Itself is therefore certainly no withdrawnness, although of course it settles in the border-condition and the border-ideal of a life- and world-situation which no longer has any situation. Faust as one of the extremest guiding figures of venturing beyond the limits intends purely in the human moment and its world against the status of mere situationalities towards the cry: land. Stay awhile, spoken to the moment, thus becomes a symbol of true, utterly immanent home¬ coming, of the real Ithaca. Only a symbol; because the poem and the philosophy succeed only in shaping as existent the utopian intention, not the utopian content. ‘Rejoice! it is achieved’,t or ‘Science shows itself to be a circle coiled within itself’: this is not the high-point of Faust or of the Phenomenology. The high-point of Faust is the unerring presentiment of the highest moment, in the right place, with Carpe diem nostrum in mundo nostro in it. That this striving endeavour could not yet end in any figure of venturing beyond makes it great. Not only has it not lain down on a bed of ease, but even the Faustian heaven knows only movement and as yet no finite rest-symbol of landing.

‘des Pudels Kern’: a colloquial phrase meaning ‘the heart of the matter’, but Bloch may also have in mind the poodle in whose guise Mephisto first appears in ‘Faust’, t ‘Faust’, Part II, 11953.



Odysseus did not die in Ithaca, he journeyed to the unpeopled world

Oh reach out further, further, storm, And take upon your wings so vast The highest star, the lowest worm, To bring us all back home at last! Lenau, Faust

For the hungry man it is more than right to long for food. The man who is freezing wants to get to the stove, the lost man to his house, the traveller looks forward to seeing wife and child. But when the wandering father of the house is called Odysseus or something similar, the return does not become so clear, nor that everything is finished now he is in his own bed again. The lost man was not only the long-sufferer, he was also the voyager who had seen the cities and lands of many peoples, Calypso and Nausicaa as well. Silly interpretations have seen the moral of this story in the fact that an honest father despite all dangers always strives to return to house and home. But Daumier depicted this Odysseus wearing a night-cap, sitting beside his pointed-nosed wife, his helmet and sword hung up as decorations on the wall - et habet bonam pacem, qui sedet post fornacem*. Home¬ coming is certainly an important category; all the greater, though, are its perils and corruptions, similar to those of rest. If Ithaca were not a symbol, it would be a problem, and Homer brings down the curtain on it, once the master of the house has re-asserted his rights. But the legend did not remain silent, it worked on in a kind of Flying Dutchman motif about Odysseus, a late, wild, unknown Odysseus. According to this legend, Odysseus does not even return safely to Ithaca but sails out further, into the uncharted, he makes his previous fate into the metier of his character. This astonishing twist appears in the Divine Comedy (Inf. XXVI, 11. 79-142); the reluctant long-sufferer thus attains a far from reluctant daring, indeed he becomes a sea-Faust. Virgil asks the figure enveloped in flames about the end of his earthly life. Odysseus replies that he found no rest after he left Circe, neither affection for his son, nor filial piety towards his old father, nor the love of Penelope had overcome him:

*‘and the man who sits behind the stove has found peace’.



nor did they douse the restless flame to see the world and fathom all that man possesses there of worth and blame. And so Odysseus and a company of sailors took to their ships again; with sails braced four-square, they sailed with a glorious breeze behind them out to the open sea, to the African coast, to Spain, to the Pillars of Hercules, the old limits of the ancient world. There, though now old and heavy, he called his sailors to the boldest voyage of all - to an Ithaca of trial and fullness: ‘O brothers’ I said, ‘you have reached the west through dangers hundred thousandfold, with this brief vigil you are blest before your senses lose their hold, do not that new experience forego that tracks the sun to the unpeopled world. (di retro al sol, del mondo senza gente). Consider how your seed must grow: you were not made to live as chewing brutes, but made to follow virtue and to know.’ (Considerate la vostra semenza: Fatti non foste a viver come bruti Ma per seguir virtute e conoscenza). The journey took them out into the Atlantic, due west, then south, and after five months Odysseus saw land, a high mountain in the distance, in the mondo senza gente, on the other side of the world. But a whirlwind rises up from the mountain; for this is Mount Purgatory, which no living man enters and the pagan Odysseus not even as a dead man. The human venturing beyond the limits comes to an end, the Purgatory land of the other world, with the earthly paradise at its peak, remains glimpsed but unentered. Thus far the astonishing version; from the perspective of adventure a quite different, a Gothic Odysseus appears. A Sinbad for whom the perils of the sea and marvels had become a natural element was also inherent in the long-sufferer of antiquity, but he was not acknowledged. And the defiance towards Poseidon, who had plotted against him, was missing, together with the huge distant horizon alien to antiquity. The Flying Dutchman of Baroque legend wanted to sail round Cape Horn,



despite heavenly headwinds; so he was condemned to sail the seas till the end of time. Odysseus, the captain of Hubris, dies, but in Dante he is the first titanic man, derived from the knight, not the long-sufferer. He is the first to emerge from the monomania, above all from the unconditional¬ ness which later appears in Don Juan and Faust, which casts its comic shadow in Don Quixote. This voyager is strange, indeed he not only has his own gnarl in him. For together with Faust a real person is also foreseen here: Columbus. Neither the Homeric Odysseus nor its later Hellenistic and Roman inter¬ pretation gave rise to either of these. The Homeric voyager was of course extended, M. Terentius Varro wrote an ‘Odysseus and a half’ who went on wandering for a further five years. Lucian made the phantast Odysseus vouch for the authenticity of the Vera historia, his travel satire about fabulous western lands. But this was all satire, not admiration, the literary after-ripening of the long-sufferer was that of a Munchhausen, not of an extravagant courage. In Homer, too, Odysseus again set off on a journey, this time certainly not voluntary, to fulfil the task which the seer Teiresias had given him in Hades (Od. XI, upff.): to set out once again with an oar on his shoulder and to keep wandering until someone asked him what was the strange corn shovel he was carrying, and then to make a sacrifice to Poseidon. But what he tells Penelope, reminiscing, and announces as yet another parting (Od. XXIII, p. 267ff.), although it also means a journey into the very distant, the unknown, does not refer at all to sea-faring, let alone the desire to track the sun, as in Dante. Instead, the journey is to a country so alien to sea-faring that its people take an oar for a cornshovel, and above all there is no hubris whatever at work. On the contrary, a powerful god is to be appeased, perhaps even his cult is to be spread; that is the main motif of this conformist expedition (cf. Domseiff, Odysseus’ letzte Fahrt, Hermes, 1937, p. 35iff.). There is therefore no connection whatever between the rural passage in Homer and the purely maritime, highly billowing passage in Dante, unless, as Philalethes supposes, it is the formal one (Gottliche Komodie, German translation, 1868, p. 199, note 22) that Dante darkly blended Odysseus’ descent into hell with the later journey Teiresias prophesied he would make. This so-called blending, however, brought the above-mentioned Novum of a sea-Faust, to see the world and fathom all, even as far as the mountain which no living man may enter. Whereas Homer’s Odysseus returns from his mere Poseidon wandering to old Ithaca again, and death comes to him, in accordance with Teiresias’ prophecy, as a wealthy ruler and father in the midst of



his people (Od. XXIII, 28iff.). The Odyssey itself was almost unknown in detail in Dante’s time; in Dante the new picture of an Atlantic explorer leapt into the general picture of this seafarer. Non plus ultra was written on the Pillars of Hercules, Dante’s Odysseus passes beyond them and thus, highly astonishingly, he is an anticipation of Columbus’ voyage. That this Odysseus - discovered America, so to speak, is clear from his course, though not yet from the term mondo senza gente, which in medieval geography was applied to the entire supposedly unpeopled world south of the equator. Thus also, of course, to deeper Africa; in 1291 an expedition led by Vivaldi of Genoa sailed beyond Ceuta to circumnavigate Africa, and was lost. Dante may perhaps have attributed this contemporary heroic exploit to his Odysseus. But quite apart from the westerly direction, di retro al sol, the stressed boldness of the dream-voyage, the five months of solitude and the failure to sight land all conflict with the Africa theory. Finally, the fact that Dante located Mount Purgatory on an island contradicts this theory; the giant con¬ tinent of Africa, which even then was believed to be one mass of land even in its southern part, could not possibly rise up like a mountain from the sea. The land of Purgatory lies on the other side of the globe, only this distance is appropriate to the boldness and venturing beyond the limits with which Dante endowed the later Odysseus. No news of the discovery of America by the Greenlander Leif Ericson three hundred years before could have reached Florence; even in Greenland it was soon forgotten. Yet there was in classical Rome a striking attempt to reach beyond the known world, in a passage of Seneca, often cited by Columbus (cf. Vol. II, p. 773). The passage from the chorus in Seneca’s Medea was demonstrably known in Dante’s time: ‘ Venient annis saecula seris/Quibus oceanus vincula rerum/Laxet et ingens pateat tellus/Thetisque novos detegat orbes/Nec sit terris ultima Thule. ’ The future centuries which Seneca mentions are assigned to Dante’s Odysseus: ‘in which the ocean breaks its chains and the earth opens up, when the sea-goddess Thetis reveals new lands and Thule will no longer be the outermost limit of the earth’. Odysseus himself broke the chains which would have made him a king in a obscure corner, a retired sea-captain so to speak. He not only has this impatience to see the world, he is this impatience, it contains his own definitive being-here. Life here too becomes the same as sustained venturing beyond the limits, per seguir virtute e conoscenza; thus in the midst of the medieval world Dante gives the early bourgeois catchphrase: trepassar del segno.*

‘To venture beyond the limits’. Dante calls the Pillars of Hercules ‘Ercule segno’ in the ‘Inferno’ (XXVI, 1. 108).



Furthermore, Odysseus was understood as a kind of knight of an unknown Arthurian circle, or rather with this circle on his ship. He does not set forth as a Christian, so he is all the more unprotected on his wondrous journey beyond the known world; his courage is even greater than Gawain’s or Roland’s. And he casts no comic shadow like many of the rigid-sublime Arthurian heroes even in their original versions, let alone the last great dreamer of knight-errantry, Don Quixote. For the goal of the Dantean Odysseus: to know oneself in action, towards the unknown earth, cannot, like a chivalric ideal, become obsolete. In mondo senza gente, in a world which is not yet man’s, among men who do not yet have a world adequate to them, the goal has yet to be reached; despite and because of the hazardous straits. Hamlet, sealed will; Prospero, groundless joy But thus the fear always lives anew of not being able to be there at all. External deprivation is more than sufficient here, more refined cares about survival strike it as mockery. But not more profound cares, these remain grounded in shadowy life itself and for a long time. People of this kind, although sharply distinct and peculiar, never emerge from the shadow of the not-here. Their unrest does not set out, it is dispersed, actionless. Hamlet is the fictional example of this, he is, although definitely will, the inward counter-phenomenon of all setters-out. The will to hold one’s own, to hold one’s Now, remains sealed here, conscience drives him to action, lonely brooding prevents it. He is so much his own prisoner that even his mission of revenge, in so far as it is linked to a deed, does not break through this existence at distance. Hamlet is surfeited with conscious¬ ness in the sense of a distance, of a medium which does not allow him to come to himself or to things. He is a concave, dispersing character, in contrast to all Shakespeare’s other characters, who are collected. His distance from being-here makes him the friend of the actors, and he himself is capable of acting madness. His world remains gloom, melancholy, Saturnian being-locked-within-oneself, it is this kind of shutting off in potency, i.e. the graveyard; only here does Hamlet, who is everywhere slowed down, become lively, cheerful and clear. He too is, on the whole, a dreamer of the great, utopianizing kind, but the subject of this dream is not fired by anticipation of the goal, indeed he is not even paralysed by too much anticipation (substitute for action) of the goal. His indecisive¬ ness stems rather from a particular exaggeration of the distance of con¬ sciousness, that which is here called the pale cast of thought. Of course



with this so famous and so general diagnosis the question must be asked: what is the specific nature of the thought which pales here, and above all in what period does its paralysing quality emerge? It is a time which is ‘out of joint’, i.e. the difficult time of contemporary transition with its uneasy mixture of the bourgeois and the neo-feudal. Man was beginning more than ever to be a wolf to man, and perspicacity taught men to trust court circles as much as they trusted rattlesnakes. The pale cast of thought quoted above is certainly not that of the fresh bourgeois Ratio at the same time, not that of Renaissance ideas such as those of Bruno or the highly unparalysed Bacon. Hamlet’s philosophy does however largely correspond to the moods of night, indeed of nothingness, which typified mannerism, the disjointed style of life and art after the Renaissance, in the midst of the Baroque. The consciousness of death as being very close to life was part of mannerism; these allegories of memento mori lit by the pale cast of this thought belong here. One of them, a head portrayed as divided, the left half a living face, the right half a skull, accurately reflects Hamlet’s world-picture, the same that again philosophically justifies the melancholy man’s being locked within himself. For against the death background of life there can be no permanently meaningful setting-out, no action; the place of fulfilment which at the same time devalues everything is then none other than the graveyard. Here at the same time the neo-medieval element in mannerism manifests itself in Hamlet’s attitude, i.e. no liberation by the materialism germinating in the bourgeois Ratio but on the contrary a religious horror at its own irreligion. In other words, the extinguished other world sends only its coldness across to the poorly demystified; it increases its distance now even cosmically from the real, the meaningfully realizable. Thus the reaction to the unclerical approach which Shakespeare’s prince learnt at his universities is nothing but a double memento mori, totally devaluing life and action. Hence the sole final prospect is ‘how a king may go a progress through the guts of a beggar’ or: ‘Imperious Caesar, dead and turned to clay,/Might stop a hole to keep the wind away.’ World-matter here certainly does not smile at man with sensory freshness, as in Bacon, indeed in Bruno; on the contrary, it is what Bruno bitterly rejected, ‘a cesspit of chemical substances’. This belief, which has now become entirely negative, utterly paralyses any surfacing into being-here: ‘O cursed spite, that ever I was born to set it right!’ And not only the private revenge for his father but also the existing plans to reform the world come to a standstill; world-weariness even prevents any possible approach to the achieved Here and Now, to presence in being-here. This



is what constitutes Hamlet’s contemplative nature, at the same time showing all the features of what was manneristically known as a weeping contemplation. This, together with the nihilistic content, means that Hamlet speaks daggers but uses none, an Orestes manque, indeed a reformer manque. Hamlet, by means of weeping contemplation, finally heightens even his own distance of consciousness to distance of the idea from the world, to a hopeless distance. Thus the will becomes doubly paralysed and sealed, its unconditional aspect, amid general appearance, becomes doubly melancholic. What is ‘a vice of kings, a cut-purse of the empire and the rule’, what does the private revenge with which the ghost charges him mean, against revenge and correction of the whole world? But of a world where all men are villains, all women whores, where appearance is a lie and the rest is silence. Hamlet thus becomes the paradox of a great dreamer who does not believe in his hopes and goals; of a venturer beyond the limits who believes that beyond the become limits is nothingness, which is finally disparate to all plans and actions. The goal pursued with utter commitment, because it never steps out of the shadows itself, is at the same time the goal avoided with utter commitment. Thus the saving deed, when it occurs in spite of everything, comes almost incidentally and accidentally; it occurs as an uncourageous stab in his death-throes. The dying prince, when he has nothing more to lose, not even his melancholy, stabs the guilty king. Hamlet’s sealed-heightened distance is thus the opposite of the Faustian pull towards the arrested moment, the moment plucked from indecisiveness. Fortinbras, who asserts that the prince was likely to have proved most royally, bids the soldiers shoot. The proving, nowhere is this clearer, still faced the test of being-here, and nowhere else is it more negatively clear what this kind of pent-up setting-out is and what it is about. Beside the fear of not being here, there is the form of not affirming it. This happens in the dream, which moves with itself, in renouncingly beautiful, groundlessly fiery colours. Hamlet avoided the Here and Now, but Prospero in ‘The Tempest’ wants it to blossom all around precisely in the dream, in the poetic dream. The figures of unrest which truly break out lie between the two, narrow, sharp, unconditional, utopian. Shakespeare’s time certainly knew them, both as adventurers and as immoderate characters, phantasts, men obsessed. Tirso de Molina wrote Don Juan, Marlowe wrote Faustus, Cervantes created Don Quixote, but no figures from this lineage occur in Shakespeare. Such figures would have been too abstract in the space of the great Pan-creator’s world, but also



too pointed, too tearing. They have nothing unless they have everything, and this is something different from the universe, indeed it is not even necessarily contained in it; abundance is not unconditionalness. The everything towards which the venturers beyond the limits push is not the universe of Pan to which Shakespeare’s profusion belongs, with repletion everywhere. However true Schlegel’s assertion that the lost earth could be reconstructed from Shakespeare’s works, the adventurers of the uncon¬ ditional, precisely because of this Pan-like quality, are not to be found in this hugely animated space. But the marginal figures of the unconditional are all the more intensively depicted: Hamlet and Prospero, sealed will in the former, groundlessly sparkling delight in beauty in the latter, and both before the night, i.e. before the silence which Shakespeare saw for Hamlet and for Prospero around the world stage; now darkening the venturing beyond the limits, now surrounding it with the most colourful dreams, indeed amusements. But the insatiable is missing, Prospero means the favoured, prosperous, he is no wrestler. True, Prospero in particular has often been compared with Faust; the magic wand, wisdom, the founded community of happiness and worth lent themselves to this comparison. But Prospero’s Faustland appears entirely without questions and tempta¬ tions, no devil sticks his nose into Faust’s solitude, no bliss is wagered for the sake of the darling veritas, existence comes as a gift after an escape and remains in fairyland, never emerging from it. Here no Richmond is needed either to right wrongs, no Fortinbras to establish reality; Shakespeare no longer assigns them this function. His three last plays turn to ‘romance’, i.e. to the fairy-tale solution, as if all were well, to aesthetic grace. ‘Cymbeline’, ‘The Winter’s Tale’, ‘The Tempest’, in constant dreamappearance, provide magic means of making the impossible possible. This magical element, in ‘The Tempest’, is precisely fictional being-here, appearing-here become as it were spotless, dwelling easily beside each other. Prospero and his daughter Miranda flee their homeland, where wicked men have usurped power, they escape to a solitude where virtue as existent, can preserve and also prove itself. The chosen place is a distant island, in keeping with the old utopian tradition, but not of course to praise and imitate the original goodness of the inhabitants. This Shakespeare had undertaken even in ‘Cymbeline’, indeed there the drama as a whole was constructed on the contrast between corrupt civilization and unspoilt nature. But not even in ‘Cymbeline’, let alone in ‘The Tempest’, is unspoilt nature equated with the common people. Caliban, the savage, is also the ingredient of the mob, differing from an animal only in his wickedness. Precisely



the land of beauty, in its stressed lightness, knows the common people only as ugly, just as in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, where the antics of ghosts and spirits are similar, it serves only for the boorish scenes and the artisans are not even enchanted on Midsummer’s Eve. Admittedly, Prospero’s former minister Gonzalo praises a natural state, free of property, civilization and letters, but Prospero’s brother and of course also the usurper of his throne observes that this state would produce only idlers, whores and knaves. Prospero himself regards Calibans as born to drudgery, for him the ideal state in which the blossoms of culture are preserved and its diseases purged can only be built on total inequality. But even this reactionary, scarcely tolerable attitude, stemming from Shakespeare’s courtliness, is ultimately sustained by aesthetic dream-appearance, by the realm of Flora which in ‘The Tempest’ both conceals and blossoms all around the real Here and Now; Goethe, in the Helen of Troy scenes, with similar aesthetic autarky, posits very similar injustice, against the chorus. Prospero has his books with him, the finest creations of noble minds, and only beings with such minds are invited to partake in the new alliance. People who are themselves like works of art form their exodus to another drawing-out, to the extract: art at its goal. This noble ideal includes the common people only if they recognize the moral law, which is pleasantly binding; for the good is also part of the beautiful, of kalokagathia* in the land of romance. The marriage of Miranda and Ferdinand adds to this prospect the High Pair, art and moral strength marry. And Prospero’s art as such always comes at the end, as a stage of glowing appearing-there, in a resounding world. Thus drama and music are at work again and again in this intended blossoming all around of high and highest moments. Dreamappearance emerges hovering, and in it, though not enterable in corporeal form, a beautiful land of elapsed lightness, served by the airy spirit Ariel. Art at its goal, not as appearing pre-appearance, is at work here; for as in Hamlet all appearance is a lie and the rest is silence, even here. But appearance, precisely in its aesthetic perfection, provides this groundlessly sparkling joy in beauty, which is here all the more rare and precious as it occurs against the background of utter silence, sleep, night. Artistic fullness is here nothing but a trump-card against nihilism; its silence here is not at all devaluing, indeed no longer nihilism but incognito. Yet of such a kind that every step from the unconditionalness of artistic fullness leads from the Flora-realm of its Here and Now to something which is unmediatedly * A combination of the beautiful and the good, an ancient Greek educational ideal.



non-human. Thus venturing beyond the limits comes to its end here, the unconditional, which is attainable by men, rises up as an aesthetic magic island in the ocean of incognito. Hence Prospero’s final words of wisdom: And, like the baseless fabric of this vision The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on; and our little life Is rounded with a sleep. Dreams everywhere, nothing but gulls, as even Falstaff says, and even the noble circle, precisely this, is rounded with a sleep. Is then this powerful, glittering-dark world-picture a legacy from Hamlet’s hopeless-total dream, from his hopeless hope, his utopia suspended within itself? Yes and no; yes because no breakthrough occurs; no because the above-mentioned lack of meaning still does not devalue the magically airy goal-appearance. Hamlet’s graveyard melancholy does not come up to or close to the rapid, flashing evanescences on the magic island; Prospero is so far from being melancholic that even his renunciation effervesces. Spirits stage this per¬ formance, the baseless fabric of this vision, and then dissolve again into air, indeed the paradise which they cause to appear has no foundation or permanence: nevertheless, the Ariel-world in which Prospero and his followers live can be called a Stay Awhile, a staying in a Land of Appearance which, though fleeting, rests in its beauty. This is no victorious foothold such as Faust sought, far beyond the related spirits of the fields and the air in the Helen of Troy scenes; the Nike of existence has no absolute foot on Prospero’s island. Nonetheless, even Prospero’s renunciation would not be so indifferent to the transient, and his wisdom would not be so cheering in the face of the cheerless, if the dream-appearance which emerges here did not likewise have its potency. Indeed it finally becomes clear that the enigmatic lightness even in Prospero’s renunciation is certainly not attended on only by airy spirits and theatrical larks, it is ultimately far from mere dream- and magical-sphere. Even the melancholy of the farewell when Prospero lays down his wand does not enter into the sleep with which he says that our little life as well as great art is rounded; on the contrary, in the seriousness of renunciation the seriousness of amusement remains.



This is precisely described as the landing which has no ground; it is described as the groundless joy of humour. With it Prospero does not after all ultimately remain in aesthetic autarky, in fireworks before the night sky;- humour does not remain the goal in art or even in illusion. Humour is different from aesthetic grace, and if its seriousness does not take even nothingness seriously, there is ultimately a pre-appearance even here: not of art but of smiling. This goes along with enigmatically remote, never guaranteed landing; with utterly unpossessed landing in his possession, Prospero can lay down his magic wand, the airy spirit Ariel can be freed. Yet no despair remains, lightness comes, staying happens - not merely in a being-beautiful which is not refuted by nothingness, but also in a faith whose scepticism makes even nothingness wrong. At Prospero’s entrance and exit stands groundless, unguaranteed joy; only Mozart could have written the music for it. There is an entrance in this exit in which there are no longer any appearances and the non-appearing, in its great refinement, dispenses with the thunder and lightning of fulfilment. But all figures of venturing beyond the limits: the fire of youth, Odysseus, Faust and also Prospero’s deep¬ aiming humour want to escape from the other world of the wish into its this-world. Into power over the moment, where more is plucked than the given day, into the powerfulness of a conquered being-here. Of a gradual emergence from appearance, as the older Goethe said, into true, existent appearance which has become powerfully-light. Where the fine, deep contacts which humour in particular maintains with this powerfulness do not seem conquering at all, or even loud any more. On the contrary, they seem fleetingly fine, like Ariel in this thick world, they work with unpathetic grace.





ILLUSTRATED BY THE CASES OF DON QUIXOTE AND FAUST What distant spheres a ship, suspended between heaven and earth, evokes. The flapping sails, the ship constantly rocking, the roaring waves, the scudding clouds, the distant, unending horizon! On earth one is pinned to a dead point and locked in the narrow circle of a situation. Herder, Travelogue 1769 Now in practice in life it is far more important that the whole should be uniformly good than that an individual part should be accidentally divine and thus if the idealist is a more skilful exponent of awakening a broad idea of mankind’s capability and inculcating respect for its destiny, only the realist can carry this out consistently in experience. Schiller, On naive and sentimental poetry Spanish humanism is not content with the motto: Nihil humani mihi alienum. From the requirement that nothing human should remain strange, it goes on to the realization that everything strange, weird and wonderful affects us as human beings. Vofler, Introduction to Spanish poetry The fermenting will The weak kind merely dreams, stays within itself. The brave acts, its strength goes outwards. But if the brave man is not merely lashing out, he also has his dreams. He shifts wishes and goals, which to begin with are only in his head, outwards. But this is often an empty gesture, because no one is alone, because life has already begun long before him. Because youth does not possess the benefit of old age, i.e. has neither experienced what is, nor what can and wishes to become outside itself. Thus the deed is often loneliest where it would like to be most universal. A juice which is fermenting cannot immediately be clear. And so too a will not yet mediated with the outside, still fermenting with itself, remains clouded. And the more unconditionally so it is, the more it is at first trapped in caprice. Precisely where the beginning is unmediated, particularly in the impetuous, indeed quixotic outbreaks of later years. When a man wants



to make up for what he has missed, where an entire life, till then tepid, is to be exchanged. Where a love appears which makes everything new again, but also a goal which can be approached not only unmediatedly but also undistractedly. And it is already evident here that because such unmediatedness can also present itself at times as if it were undistractedness, the matter is not simple, there is more to it than caprice. Action which is merely unmediated is abstract and nothing else, and its downfall mostly seems ridiculous. But if it also partakes of undistracted action, then it presents itself as abstract-mora/ and its downfall mostly appears moving. But of course mediated-balanced action is capable of also being objective-moral and thus truly venturing beyond the limits, not into what is empty or expired. It is less heroic in its stance but more manly in its thrust; it has less blossom, but more fruit. Nonetheless, unmediated dreams, precisely in so far as they are undistracted, constantly lure us on. For they act not only as a warning but also as a reminder: never to take things as they are. Although, at the risk of a failure which is avoidable and therefore ridiculous, things certainly must be taken as they are, i.e. with experience, acting with worldly wisdom, concretely. The unmediated, the headlong rush at obstacles, has its disadvantages, its honour and its youth: the mediated, with circumspection and mastered experience, has its advantages, its dignity and its maturity. Whereas the latter leads, the former misleads, but also shows undaunted courage and a fiery conscience. At this point we may therefore cast a very penetrating glance at Don Quixote. Of all unconditional dreamers, he was the most inflexible, thus his actions are as laughable as they are great, he is at once a warning and a heartening reminder. Unworldly, old and utopian, he pursues an image that has partly passed away, partly never been. Don Quixote’s Rueful Countenance and golden illusion The man meant well and never stopped doing so. But wherever he lays his helping hand he knocks something over. He even looks like badly damaged goods himself, offers maidens his sympathetic protection, this Don Quixote who himself arouses sympathy most of all, a lonely fool. Long, gaunt, sallow, with ‘cheeks which seemed to touch inside’, wasted with delusions. Thus he has left house and home, his foolish niece, his limited life, to be what he has dreamt, to do what he has read. At an age when others are reaching the bottom of the barrel, he becomes a new man, a textbook knight-errant. Delusory though these dreams are, he carries them out, body and soul an unconditional man of action. But he got only thrashings for his pains, as we



know; the man who could never see the joke became the joke for others wherever he went. The noble dream fitted him badly and the world, unlovely as it was, never even tried the dream on. Everything about the foolish hero is half-baked but, within these limitations, decisive. As he appears to himself more than he is and can do, he is restlessly overdoing himself, he stretches himself taller than he actually is. He immediately awards himself three counts’ titles one on top of the other; Don Quixote is not troubled by the slightest doubt about his vocation. But this vocation was taken only from books, they first gave voice to his inexpressible longing and its contrast to the express banality around him. When the spark of folly started to burn in Don Quixote’s brain, it was caused by a spontaneous combustion of accumulated reading matter. With the result that even after his fantastic departure the emotions became literary, indeed sometimes consist of nothing but over-subtle emulation of scenes he has read. Thus Don Quixote, when presented, in a pause between deeds, with a good opportunity to mortify himself for the sake of his beloved, deliberated whether it would be better to follow the example of Amadis in his melancholy or Roland in his frenzy, finally opting for Amadis and his elegiac solitude after all. Thus the Junker was brought even further back into the past, to the belief that chivalric gestures, images of combat, images of love, images of loyalty, social forms, were still valid in his own very changed period. The caballero on principle always sets off without money, not just because he has none but, as he tells Sancho Panza, because he had never read in any story of a knight-errant ever paying. The principle of cash payment is thus everywhere opposed by a great heart, of yesteryear and taken from the anatomy of chivalric romances. It is his misfortune to believe knight-errantry and its ideal to be compatible with every economic form of society. But the old spear in the domestic umbrellastand or even the lance-holder could no longer serve for the best, even if wielded with the greatest vigour; what in the thirteenth century was the spirit of the age became in the sixteenth century a spectre, a harmless phenomenon reduced to a mere game. If Don Quixote had been just the vigour and not also the ghost of the old era, Jensen would have been right in his novel ‘The Wheel’, where he interprets the hidalgo precisely the other way round, as an - American left behind in Europe. Thus he is out of place, he says, not because he wears armour but because the old world no longer knows what to do with energy and adventure: ‘The Goths have moved on, are clearing forests in Connecticut and Rhode Island, only Don Quixote, their brother, still lives in Europe and so he becomes strange.’



But the so-called Goths in Connecticut became capitalists, whereas Don Quixote, even in scarcely capitalistic Spain, stood out as a revenant, as a chivalric apparition in everyday life. Part and parcel of the revenant is his unbroken faith in sorcerers and fairies, a faith which his age largely shared but which it applied to witch trials, not to doing and dealing in broad daylight. By taking an other-world from his antiquarian reading even in everday life, Don Quixote went around as a ghost on two counts, and a ghost of flesh and blood seems crazy. The knight himself is crazy in comparison with his age, crazed by the uncomprehended change of ideology, the uncomprehended absence of God; where the knights of legend appeared to succeed, Don Quixote could succeed no longer. His legend lacked the helping miracle, the magic stones from the Arthurian world which would have served to complete the crumbling arch of hallucinatory perfection. The belief in this highest superstructure of the Middle Ages also belongs in Don Quixote’s case to Romanticism, to one which is all the more perfect because the knight understood this darkened other world even less than vanished feudalism. The knight’s remote home did the rest, the desolate plateau of La Mancha, of the ‘dry earth’ (manxa), as the Arabs called this South Castilian desert. Here this unworldliness and fantasy flourished, Don Quixote’s tropical-utopian flower of chivalry. For no Gothic hero, especially when he was acting, was the world more vividly animated with spirits. Thick pandemonium all around, and the star of knight-errantry apparently shines from the motionless old heavens. But it is also true that this delusion was not sustained by reading and books alone. It also met with incomparable hope; this helped to animate the barren field of the age with foaming images. Faith in the unconditional makes the stalest reading, which nurtures it, into another faith, an antiquarian-utopian one. Such active hope resulted in Don Quixote, the reader of a thousand chivalric romances, himself becoming the staunchest of the genre’s heroes. Thus the reader of Amadis became the hero of a new chivalric romance, the most curious of all, one whose richness puts Amadis in the shade. Don Quixote, by becoming the doer of what he had read, the faithful hero of his reading matter, now really, as Cervantes says, ‘plunges his hands up to his elbows in adventures’, into a book of adventures in which no fewer than six hundred characters appear, and the leading figure in this strictly action-based entity is always utopia, equestrian utopia. Confronted with the onset of this utopia, the real, in so far as it was commonplace or even banal, could not survive, could not even be perceived: sheep become soldiers, clouds castles, windmill-sails



giants, half a barber’s basin glinting in the sun becomes Mambrino’s helmet. The chivalric wishful dream is crammed full of winged horses and winged Hons, of burning lakes, floating islands and palaces of crystal. This ventures beyond mere social anachronism, it is also archaic-utopian, permanently con¬ nected with the anachronism of a future world, one which is thus more noble and more colourful. Existing facts as such, even when they are not completely altered by the fantast, simply weigh nothing compared with the magic-utopian entity that solely constitutes truth here. Thus Don Quixote remains incurable even by experience, all the more so because it often confronts him in exaggerated, even coordinated-negative fashion, in the shape of endless thrashings, dupings, swindles and disappointments. This wretched reaHty is no match for the dream-layer, the only enHghtening one, which lies buried and waiting: ‘For you must know, friend Sancho, that heaven put me on earth to reawaken the Golden Age in our iron age’ (I, Chap. 20). On one occasion experience gave the knight such a severe battering that his whole body had to be covered with plasters and he could hardly move with back pains. But in the attic of the miserable inn he had crawled into there now appeared a cow-girl, sneaking to a mule-driver to indulge in her usual nocturnal pastime with him, and Don Quixote stretched out his hands to receive the consoling maiden: ‘He immediately caught hold of her shift, which, although it was of sackcloth, seemed to him like the finest and softest batiste. The glass beads she wore on her arm shone for him with the brilliance of finest oriental pearls. Her hair, only slightly inferior to a horse’s mane, to him was like strands of finest Arabian gold, the brilfiance of which eclipsed the sun, and her breath, which smelt of the stale salad of the previous night, brought the scent of spices and fragrant aromas to his nose. In short, his imagination depicted her to him as that princess in his books who, overwhelmed by love, came to visit her wounded knight in just such jewellery and finery’(I, Chap. 16). As Don Quixote is at his most perceptive when he is most unrealistic, his imagination still does not swerve from the hallucinatory golden image even when another dreadful and interminable thrashing brings home his mistake. But instead of recognizing the mule-driver who had come in and struck the love-smitten knight such a fierce blow on the chin that his mouth filled with blood, he invents the figure of an enchanted Moor under whose protection the cow-girl princess stood; and the inn itself, which the day before he had taken for a castle, ‘with four towers and silver-gleaming battlements, which did not lack the drawbridge and the deep moats and all the accessories with which such strongholds are always depicted’ becomes



an enchanted fort. Such transformations of reality are Don Quixote’s staple diet, indeed when the knight wakes up for once and is assailed by scepti¬ cism about what is going on, the damaged delusion is not replaced for example by empirical reality, on the contrary it is repaired by a new, far greater delusion. On one occasion the knight almost drowned when he attempted to take a mill by storm on an enchanted punt and fell between the mill wheels. But the dousing did not bring him to his senses, instead, to go along with the first spirit who provided the enchanted punt he invents a second who smashes the punt and prevents the heroic deed. Another state of scepticism broke through when the knight, between two deeds, on a hot country road, reflected on the wondrous account of how Amadis killed ten thousand enemies in a single hour. The knight pulls up his steed and Sancho Panza behind him his mule, critical awakening in empirical terms begins with the reflection that Amadis, even endowed with the greatest strength, would have taken a week instead of an hour to kill ten thousand enemies with blows of his sword. Thus doubt about the shrine of Don Quixote’s credulity, the chivalric books themselves, sets in, and the Junker seems to be on the way to coming to his senses, to an under¬ standing of the empirical world. But at the very moment when this threatens, Don Quixote hits on the following solution to his problem: the ten thousand enemies of Amadis were not of flesh and blood but spirits, enchanted spirits, therefore of gelatinous substance; that is precisely why Amadis’ sword blows could go through several bodies, many bodies at once, and the incredible heroic deed was done. Thus idolatry, precisely when reason intervenes, entangles Don Quixote in far greater delusion. The physical nature of spirits, spirit statistics, come to the aid of this faith in heroes, and empirical reality, both in the case of the thrashing and in subsequent disillusionment, has no truth. The same phenomenon appears in even stranger form in another disillusionment, by not becoming one at all; for if abstract utopia, world-blind hope, has no limit, nor does it have any means of correcting its fantastic notions. Precisely when Don Quixote takes sheep for soldiers, a flock of sheep for a foreign army, and even discerns coats of arms and colours, with martial music, mottoes and devices at their head, precisely here there is no lack of hypotheses to enchant a boring world, indeed to present an already disenchanted world as itself illusion again, indeed an illusion particularly easy to see through. For when Sancho instead of martial music hears only the bleating of ewes and rams, his master declares this to be a delusion of fear; this, he says, is a drug which numbs the senses and never allows things to appear as they really



are. And when the knight, soon afterwards, struck by stones from shepherds’ slings, is lying on the ground in a most pitiful condition and might now be convinced of the reality of the sheep and the shepherds which Sancho saw, he is not convinced at all. On the contrary, again and again he introduces a sorcerer as a new drug: the sorcerer is envious, has turned what were squadrons into flocks of sheep, but he can do nothing to stop them reassuming their former shape a little further off. Their true, real, human shape, the only army worthy of engaging with chivalric utopia. Indeed the hope in which Don Quixote travels has no petty objects at all; it does not perceive them, or else it suffuses them with gigantically transforming hallucination. Medieval land of legend on all sides, a fixed world of a traditional and rigid kind, with utopian spirit nonetheless casting around in it. The Junker becomes utterly effusive in the case of the woman he has imagined for himself. This too is partly read, acquired through reading, but only in its general outline and the role the beloved plays for him. Dulcinea’s role is to be the perfect maid, at the same time protectress and voyeuse through whom the knight can look at his deeds. It is part of the all-encompassing dream, and also of the fear of awakening, that Don Quixote never seriously wishes to see Dulcinea. In courtly love in general sexual vigour had waned, as it has in this epigone. In courtly love no woman was considered perfect except the one who had never been possessed; this hoping at the gate, enjoyment without empirical reality, becomes grotesque in Don Quixote’s case; for he has intercourse only with Dulcinea’s image. What he praises about the knights errant is precisely their idolatry of love in which the fair lady remains unattainable: ‘Love is as essentially natural and proper to them as the stars to heaven’ (I, Chap. 13). With stars there is no hasty rencontre; which means that everywhere else Don Quixote feels close to the reality of deeds, albeit to his own conception of it, a predominantly contemplative exception appears only in the case of Dulcinea. He even avoids the lady when she is supposedly nearby, on the pretext that she has banished him and he is not yet worthy of her beauty. He is so far from being keen on the Being-There of his dream that he can completely disregard the hideous sight of the real Dulcinea in Toboso. He even remains remarkably cool when a supposed Dulcinea, veiled and in torchlight, is played before him in all her radiance at the Duke’s palace. His dream-beloved is so beautiful that even the features of a theatre princess are nowhere near good enough, pearl eyes are inadequate, only those of an idol will do: ‘Dulcinea’s eyes must be like green emeralds,



finely slit, with two rainbows for brows’ (II, Chap. 11). Here everything inhabits the interior of a reflexive though overpowering utopia, a fantasizing which spurs, carries away, consumes and replaces the thirst for action, and when we hear the words Tieck puts in the mouth of the troubadour Jeoffroy then we hear Don Quixote’s confession: that he has never seen his beloved, but when he does see her then the reality must surpass his premonition, as with all beauty when it one day appears unveiled to our disembodied eye. Except that in Don Quixote’s case the premonition itself already uses a disembodied eye and thus has no organ for perceiving reality where Dulcinea is concerned, nor indeed can any merely real woman anywhere be classed with the dream-star Dulcinea. In fact ultimately we see that on the whole Don Quixote has his existence proved in the waking dream, his vigour, too, occurs only within that dream and also the energetic desire-to-he-present in the significant moment occurs exclusively in the Ideal, seen as existent. Don Quixote’s hope-world is for him already so to speak the real world, namely that of chivalric legend and its ladies; it is only in and on this world that Don Quixote can impose his presence, a presence which - with this limitation - is certainly extraordinary. Thus in reality even Dulcinea, la femme introuvable, is not after all so much the contem¬ plative exception she appears to be; but rather Dulcinea is also presence in the dream, if only in the untouchable dream of the star. It is just that the fear of awakening at this point, that of the fantasized highest fulfilment, is also the most active; so that wicked sorcerers at this point must serve as an explanation and a device to keep the land of legend intact. A land of legend which the knight-errant never leaves, which seems to him the natural, the already natural state of things. The moment in Faust’s sense, as the landing of something unconditional and its intention in the present unconditional, for Don Quixote, during his utopian period, does not exist at all as an object of intention but always as supposedly real in the paradise of his fantasies which hallucinate the intended as already fulfilled. It is touched on only once, though in a deeply moving manner; right at the end of the dream-journey, paradoxically right in the middle of the catastrophe of awakening, on his death-bed. Thus, when an empirical selfidentification finally breaks through in place of that which was permanently suffused in an antiquarian-utopian way, the dying knight says: ‘I have been a fool but now I have come to my senses, I was Don Quixote de la Mancha, but now I am Alonso Quixano the Good.’ Alonso el Bueno: it is the quietest, most heart-rending name; not just a delusion, also an incognito in him is cleared up in this death-scene. Till then the present



had been everywhere and nowhere, i.e. the illusory present of a buriedexisting, transcendent-existing heaven in the dream. Its reality: legend-utopia as Being and Being already as legend-utopia had, as noted above, for the Junker only been temporarily suspended from view by abnormal incursions of enemies and demons. Even Dulcinea, la femme introuvable, does not need to be sought, let alone wooed, she does not even need to be discovered; only the obstacle must be removed that has come between the loveliest Here and Now and its knight. The perfectly achieved is available, in the waking dream and the antiquarian-utopian world that has come down to it and is suffused by it. Don Quixote thus re-established for himself a relation which had become utterly untenable, the relation between anticipation and past, between an unparalleled power of hope and the now deaf heaven of a now dead class world. The heroic feat of goodness, the gigantic dream of a future world, was layered into the superstructure of the Middle Ages, into a fixed, simply prevented, other world. The result was a caricature of utopia - a pathos to itself, a comedy to others, in practice a history of the thrashings suffered by the abstractly unconditional. Quixotry is a bearing which learns nothing and acknowledges nothing changed, which is never mediated, which fails to see that medieval times have shifted, even in Spain and especially in its healthy people who are so fond of laughter and alive to irony, and therefore because of its abstract idealism it is the caricature of a phantasma bene fundatum and of its constitutive content. That content is goodness, indeed a golden age, as Don Quixote himself says, but the road to it is paved with the craziest and most battered abstrac¬ tions the world has ever known. It is this, this collision, which constitutes Don Quixote’s madness, from this stems his tragi-comic fate. He is the greatest utopian in fiction but at the same time the travesty of a utopian; and Cervantes first, foremost and ostensibly has subjected him to nothing but mockery. But this mockery certainly does not have the last word, Don Quixote remains a too moving example of utopian-active conscience for that, one of the initiators of utopia, with huge cloud-castles over the plain; but the mockery makes clear what a merely abstract dream triggers off and releases. Self-exaggeration, antiquarian reading and its imitation, hope with its head in legends, vigour in permanent abstractions: all this in the first place combines to form a warning against the utopian knight of the lions. Every dream which skips over things and keeps itself vague belongs to him. Thus every will to a life which ventures beyond and a full existence can see in the example of Don Quixote its danger zone, the perspective of a crazy downfall. It is not the overhauling which constitutes the delusion,



but this: that the overhauling goes into the vacantly exaggerated, disregarding the obstacles, unallied with the driving forces of the age before it. Monuments to Don Quixote could stand in all bohemian quarters, he is the patron of inadequate, of seK-deluding greatness. But this Don Quixote, transformed from the harmless into the reactionary and then into the reactionary-terrible, also lives on in the dizzy, politically fraudulent masquerades of modern times, in political romanticism as a whole. In historical costume and the knight’s armour which no longer comes to the aid only of the distressed, on the contrary. Here the feudal magic charms: loyalty, honour, leader, allegiance, are not compatible with the socio-economic tendency, but rather with tinsel and deception. Even Sancho Panza, at least the earlier, easily misled Sancho if not the later governor Sancho with so much sound common sense, even Sancho Panza, as the believer as well as the object of the deception, has his place here, transformed to suit the times. It is no accident that the homespun-crafty petit bourgeois became the squire of the maddest man; it is precisely his utopia (he always has a vision of a purse of doubloons before him and he wishes to get at it in the quickest, shortest way) which makes him the liegeman of delusive romanticism. A homespun character alone is no safeguard against folly, indeed because of its short-sightedness and gullibility, which stems partly from lack of education and partly from unrectified deficiencies, it is especially likely to fall for false prophets. In the original of Cervantes, Sancho Panza falls for a false prophet who is himself without guile, a seducer with a pure soul; in reality, many a decent fellow has fallen prey to impostors and political mystification. ‘The Return of Don Quixote’ is the title of a remarkable masquerade and prophetic novel by Chesterton: his return aided and abetted fascism, political romanticism became draped exploitation, indeed chloroform. And yet from a quite different angle, from the angle of abstract purity, Don Quixote is clearly the patron saint of honest-abstract social idealists. In so far as they drag the high, usually the all too high, down into the lower regions, to remedy morally or indeed to overthrow what can only be tackled economically, in the homogeneous dirt of the matter. The seven-armed candlestick is not designed to be taken into the privies of this world, i.e. social ideals cannot be preached among profiteers. Even if the revolutionary work must always bear in mind the whole and the highest ideal of its goal in order to be more than reform, the better society does not come about through fanaticism or ideal propaganda from above. Not through a pure soul without habitation in the movements of the world and without knowledge of the less pure interests which move



the world. Thus almost all idealistic social Utopians were and are of Don Quixote’s breed, above all those who recalled lost ideals to the conscience of the powerful. In fiction, Marquis Posa* belongs here, so too, absolutely, does Gregers Werle in Ibsen’s ‘Wild Duck’ - a Don Quixote figure under other stars, calling in ideal debts with no eye for the insolvent, indeed vanished debtors. In history even such great Utopians as Fourier and Owen come close to the world of Don Quixote in terms of their abstractness. As organizers of a better - though not an antiquarian-better - world to be installed immediately, with an abstract plan of construction, in the old. Marx took exception to Don Quixote precisely because of this kind of utopia; he inter¬ preted the caballero as a complete world-view and as its fate. In the sense, as Marx says, that Don Quixote himself paid for the error of believing knighterrantry to be equally compatible with all economic forms of society. For which reason Marx also represents Don Quixote as an incarnation of false consciousness, of the interpretation of the world by abstract principles. And it is abstractness which finally makes the resourceful Junker unique even as poetic unconditionality - in instructive contrast to the other dream-figure of setting-forth, Faust. Faust, too, was restless, world-weary and full of un¬ certain premonition, but he attempts to come to terms with the regions through which he travels, he strengthens and instructs his subjectivity by means of them. His magic-cloak ride through the world proves to be a pro¬ gressive concretion, the magic cloak becomes the vehicle of finding and leaving, of thorough objective experience. Nonetheless, Faust’s will to full existence does not yield, it does not capitulate, the great moment is never confused with its footprints in the dirt, not even with its legend or its cathedral. Quixotry, on the other hand, almost everywhere remains in the pre-world, whether of bohemia, of political romanticism, or of idealistic utopia; the dream does not land here, or only for a short time, when abused or legendary. It is true that in the dream of the unconditional, especially with Don Quixote, there lives the complete religious conviction that the given cannot be the illuminatingly true, that above the logic of facts as they stand a lost and buried evidence is valid in which alone the hope-truth, as world for us, dwells. But in Quixotry as method even the passion of purity which seeks to bring out a world in keeping with itself sinks back into the harmless or overblown, the inessential and the extravagant. The purpose here is not to practise pedantry on the comic antics of the resourceful Junker, except for that which Cervantes himself practises in his countless humorous In Schiller’s play ‘Don Carlos’.



exegeses. Everywhere it is the haze of an inappropriate dream-content which causes a magnificent man and a golden intention to lapse into comedy. Into comedy there and then, into political romanticism later, when monopoly capit¬ alism puts on armour and captains of industry pretend to be knights of heaven. Much about the Junker looks melancholy and yet we can laugh about it. All the more so, the greater his aspiration and the more he overreaches himself in all his pretensions and intentions. The grand entrance, the significant background, are crucial for every comic impression; without a significant goal and a correspondingly miserable failure to reach it there would be no comic effect. Hence apples, because they are what they are, cannot be comically caricatured, whereas even animals can, because they lie along the same line towards human beings or can at least be regarded as such; and this is all the more true of semi-heroic people, knights of the rueful countenance. The bourgeois conformist, gloating and maliciously revelling in the misfortune and downfall of a problematically significant type, is not the only one to laugh here. Also laughing here is a different kind of self-assurance, a worthy streak in man, one which takes the goal itself too seriously to take Don Quixotes seriously as its warriors, in short which does not and must not tolerate even honourable shadow-boxers. What Don Quixote himself intended was done better by the real knights, and so it is superfluous. What Don Quixote intended with the background of his dreams: the realm of justice, has never been furthered but often discredited by abstract heart-thumping for the good of humanity; for ignorant magnanimity is no stalwart fighter in this realm. Thus not even Don Quixote’s moving death can make us forget the comedy he has per¬ formed. Even he now knows that he was a comic hero, but by this he ceases of course to be one; for only the tragic hero knows and can bear the knowledge that he is tragic, the comic hero never knows, or if he does realize it, the comedy ceases for the spectator too. Yet the entire comedy of his previous performances remains; the falling-away of folly from the dying Don Quixote as described by Cervantes, with a seriousness which brings on tears, does not in itself put Don Quixote on to the tragic plane. It does, of course, put him on to the level of the tragic play:* compassion, weeping contemplation, painful sympathy now become avail¬ able for him with this ending. For Alonso Quixano the Good, as the dying man now calls himself, for the nobly defenceless victim of such endless * Bloch is again distinguishing between tragedy (Tragodie) and the tragic play (Trauerspiel), see Vol. I, p. 429n.



torment, nastiness and disappointment in this world. Don Quixote can none¬ theless be understood in individual-comic terms, in the full callous pleasure of measuring the distance between desire and ability, the direction and the goal. Seen as a whole, an individual conducting himself gloriously, heroically, goes under in his exaggerated and foolish antics, a doer without deeds, a quester without an answer. Because the helpful Junker carries on like this, because Don Quixote masters nothing, is crushed by the merest bagatelles and yet ultimately finds that his exaggerated ego goes under in the naked truth of his emptiness, as his messianic dream does in conjuring the ghosts of history, this same retarded character, rejected by earth and by heaven, can do nothing but perform a harmless act, which represents no one, is comic and therefore humiliatingly indulged, before unmoved nothingness, before the unblinking Hon of fate. Almost everything sublime here turned to folly and chimera, even though it is the folly of a full existence and the chimera of a messianic ideal. And yet the last, most telling word about the convoluted man has not yet been spoken. No figure seems so much of a piece, but none becomes more ambiguous when contemplated for a long time. The laughter is joined by the radiance which emanates from Don Quixote, and it is not simply refuted by the laughter, by the warning. The Junker is a half-wise fool, a very perforated fool, with patches of light in his head. He acts within his delusion circumspectly, indeed he sometimes astonishes with his sober judgements, almost as if the delusion was only feigned. Don Quixote says on his deathbed, when urged by Sancho Panza to return to further chivalric nonsense, with the people around him indulgently playing along: ‘Steady on, gentlemen, it’s no good looking for birds in last year’s nests’ (II, Chap. 74). In this sentence he anticipated the entire later socio-economic refutation of chivalry. Granted, he spoke this sentence only after he had come to his senses, but had not Don Quixote known even beforehand that several of his birds of paradise were not in the nest at all? He took them from the past, but only because the past seemed more human, more fit for human beings than a present stripped of all chivalrousness. Don Quixote did not extract from the feudal age the holy tithe and its ideology as pohtical romanticism did, he saw the knight-errantry of yore as nonetheless a nobler guiding image than the budding bourgeoisie. The later bourgeoisie, in its still revolutionary stance against the ‘dark Middle Ages’, certainly transformed Cervantes into a liberal, and his ironic-ostensible intention: ‘to hold up to ridicule the fabulous and senseless stories in the books of chivalry throughout the world’ - was made absolute. It is certainly a



different matter altogether, as Marx suggests, to condemn Don Quixote from a belief in concrete utopia itself, both on account of his antiquarium and above all of his abstract a priori. But then not because the knighterrant was no Hegelian or as though the utopian space itself is abandoned. On the contrary, the humorous critique, if it is any good, is always directed against and ends with the phenomenon of utopian will and unconditional¬ ness: as, ambiguously or cryptically, with the great composer of dreams Cervantes himself. This merging of great amusement and great melancholy, indeed of both warning and obligation has repeatedly made itself evident in the ways later centuries have been affected by Don Quixote. When a Spanish king looked out of the window of his castle and saw a man reading convulsed with laughter, he said: the man is either insane or he is reading Don Quixote. But Dostoevsky, from a different window and with a different view, remarks of Don Quixote: ‘When the Last Judgement comes, men will not forget to take this saddest of all books with them.’ Both reactions are right, and on top of these, as the last or penultimate one, comes the melancholy-frenetic response expressed by Andre Suarez: ‘King of the noble-hearted, lord of the distressed, crowned with the golden helmet of illusion, none has been able to defeat you, for the shield on your arm is all imagination and your lowered lance is all magnanimity.’ A man like Kant, who can hardly be accused of the least inclination to chivalric romanti¬ cism, most certainly did feel affected by the unconditional aspect of Don Quixote, so much so that, in this respect no perfect reader, he even reproached the author for his humour. As in this remarkable sentence from Kant’s posthumously published writings: ‘Cervantes would have done better if, instead of ridiculing the fantastic and romantic passion, he had directed it better’ (Werke, Hartenstein, VIII, p. 612). Clearly comic is the effect on all impartial readers of the endless thrashings which the Junker, like a clown in the circus, receives throughout the first part of the novel. But in the second part, where the thrashing scenes characteristically dis¬ appear, even in the reader the amusement which these scenes rightly caused is reversed. For the thrashings, with a powerfully revealing switch from quantity to quality (II, Chap. 68), are now replaced by - a herd of swine which tramples over Don Quixote. This occurs after the renunciation of chivalry, shortly before his death, when his receding folly no longer provided a protective layer. Is this bristly adventure, as Cervantes calls it, now also a reaction, an amused acceptable reaction of the world, especially of the world-background, to the inadequate reformer? Or is the trampling herd of swine on the contrary a synonym for the usual way of the world and



for Alonso Quixano the Good’s defencelessness in every region? An uncanny affinity threatens to be recalled here, one which has been latent throughout the whole account and which now appears: an affinity between this other Don Quixote and - Jesus, both in terms of the mockery they are subjected to and the abruptly introduced ideal. Don Quixote experiences only a harmless and distorted miniature of this, and yet the mocking faces around Christ on the way of the cross and the herd of swine, Pilate’s amused query: ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ and the duke who uses Don Quixote as a court jester - all these faces are not so very different. There is an ecce homo in the knight’s derided purity, a kind of reflection of Christ even in this debased caricature. Dostoevsky certainly understood Don Quixote thus, and Turgenev, in his sombre essay on Don Quixote and Hamlet, openly interprets the bristly adventure as the ‘final tribute all Don Quixotes must pay to indifferent and impudent misjudgement’. In such manifold ways Quixotry is able to break out of the comic as if it were no more its essential part than the tomfoolery of enchantments and spirits. The half-wise fool, the dreamer who is trampled by swine, the uncanny reminder of Jesus, the aura of magnanimity and of fantasy surrounding the knight of the rueful countenance and his golden illusion; these are so many iridescences of this comic hero which bring out from the warning the hearty reminder, something not to be forgotten. The comedy remains and the implicit rejection within it, but at its end comes an evening red which sheds a very serious light on Don Quixote. Indeed a morning red, cancelling everything agreed to be antiquarian; and within it there is the quintessential basic utopian shape, with all the dangers, all the legacies of overhauling unconditionalness. Concrete utopia does after all delineate itself against the abstract kind, just as sharply as it honours its frontier life and the power of its waking dream. So it is not simply a matter of how mad we consider the Junker to be. But of how correct we consider the facts in which and against which he rides. He is fighting for a lost cause, certainly, but is the laughter which engulfs him really a triumphant cry of life? The emerging bourgeois world which Don Quixote combatted with lance couched is not so glorious as to make even a futile struggle incomprehensible. The age of chivalry was somewhat nobler, less alienated, and what is more: in the second part of the novel, at the duke’s court, Don Quixote does not even appear entirely as a revenant from this age or the romanticism about this age. For though at the duke’s court and in Spain itself he was still caught up in unexpired conserved feudalism, corrupt feudalism, the knight shines here if anything



even more strangely than among innkeepers and policemen. As against the courtiers, as against the vulgar frivolity of the ducal couple, Don Quixote comes across not just as a fool, a court-jester, a court-buffoon; in fact his dream does not end feudal-romantically at all. The flower and essence of all knight-errantry, as the duke styles Don Quixote with a grin, has another very different essence, even within himself. For in the final analysis this dreamer does not only wish to restore the authentic chivalry of old (although this in itself would be a criticism of its corrupt remnants). In his chivalric dream, the dream of a Golden Age keeps coming back: ‘There were so many wrongs for him to put a stop to, so many injustices to be redressed, so many abuses to be remedied, crimes to be avenged, duties to be fulfilled’ (I, Chap. 2). However lopsidedly and inappropriately this dream was launched, however easily it could be defeated by the world in all its abstract-romantic positions: martyrs for such a cause are never utterly refuted. Even mere utopian land of legend, even the caricature of a phantasma bene fundatum need not feel embarrassed by the vulgarity which now constituted feudal pleasure. How empty is even the illusion or art with which bored vacuity fills its time, along with the traces of too lengthy a service beneath the banner of love, compared to the illusion with which Don Quixote now envelops himself and the world. Schelling says at one point in his ‘Philosophy of Art’ that the duchess has every¬ thing in common with Circe except her beauty; in fact everything here is a world of masquerade, Don Quixote is the only one who is not turned into a swine. In fact the theatrical performance at the court is utterly cynical, a bathing in froth and fraud; Don Quixote, on the other hand, who does not need this kind of theatre at all, sees even here nothing but the embodiment of the wishful dreams in which he believes. Here the wonderful is and remains reality for him; veils and sparkling diamonds in the theatre of fulfilment which the duke puts on for him point in this direction, and his vision outdoes both. In it dwells Dulcinea, and Don Quixote surrounds this imago with an adoration no real girl has ever experienced more intensely. It is true that this is hallucinatory thinking of terrifying unreality but also of the most faithful ideality. Dulcinea is incomparably more beautiful than the most beautiful women who have ever appeared in life or even in literature. With this fantasy-love, Cervantes, establishing pure ens perfectissimum, causes even the ideal to split into an as it were empirical and a utopian layer, and Dulcinea dwells completely on the utopian-superutopian side. It is only the latter’s formlessness which prevents even the Trojan Helen from being reduced to the mundane level



of the Egyptian Helen in comparison with Dulcinea. Thus Dulcinea is la femme introuvable even in the existing wish- and fantasy-layer, not just in existing reality. But of course Don Quixote builds himself a bridge between existing reality and fulfilment: precisely the mythical bridge afforded by legend. The world is enchanted by black magic, precisely in its hardest places it is spellbound; and not for a moment does the frenzied optimist doubt that the great moment can come and the crust will crack. This is what he was seeking when he rode out on his fantastic expedition, and still seeking in his rueful homecoming: fulfilment must come. On his deathbed, the great moment was morality, during the dream it hovered ahead, the bright glade of the world : ‘From behind every turning the wonderful can come forth like a silver-gleaming nymph.’ In the transport¬ able dream-cell he lives in, Don Quixote sees no really existing world, yet he is also far from a belief in fate, a belief in a naturally given or divinely imposed necessity. Quixotry, when combined with worldly-wisdom, certainly can make the lion of fate blink very hard indeed; just as surely as this lion remains unmoved by the deluded elan of a merely unworldly Don Quixote. Realpolitik with a dash of this re-defined quixotry: this enthusiastic dash of unconditionalness in the shrewdness of the conditional does not make the impossible possible, but nor either does it weaken in the face of what is difficult to achieve, of objective possibility. Indeed as long as the historical world consists of objective possibility and the subjective factor, then the subjective factor, if it is to avoid being defeatist, will always possess an element of correctly understood quixotry. With that knowledge of time and the world so utterly lacking in Don Quixote the fool, with that belief in obstructed magnificence of which Don Quixote the dreamer possesses too much. The expedition on the nag, with an inadequate personality, grotesque delusions and an outdated ideology, is and remains comic. But the will with which this subject sets out: ‘By his strong arm to drive away/injustice from the world’ is as great as the world’s reaction is coarse and despicable; and the goal - an order without galley slaves and dullness - is serious. All guiding figures of unrest have a path with them which in the course of time does not simply remain crooked, and the venturing beyond the temperate zones also ventures beyond antiquarian ideals, in the present case the chivalric ideal. Even the wistful yearning hunger for the unattainable has music of the absolute moment within it: the unattainable here is undoubtedly intended as an event, in the most present sense. Figures of the unconditional risk their plus ultra here, as living Utopians they follow their dream of the perfect life. Mediated



venturing beyond in the manner of Faust or of actually occurring experience, this realism is the correct one; but the other Don Quixote, who can also be interpreted positively, reminds us, after Faust in the world has become cleverer than the cleverest man, to act even against this cleverness, that is, without making peace with the merely existing world which parades as complete.

A related question: the wrongs and rights of Tasso versus Antonio All this fits into the old struggle between enthusing and maturing. In a disparaging sense one can be described as the inwardly blustering fool and the other as the withered, earth-bound bourgeois conformist. Enthusiasm and maturity of this kind coincide by committing their error only in the opposite directions. The enthuser raises even dogs to infinity, with the bourgeois conformist even the infinite goes to the dogs. But both the overstating enthuser and the understating philistine are mere caricatures of a serious state, an alternating phenomenon. One state reflects easily co-existing wishes, occasionally also thoughts, the other reflects restricting, sometimes seemingly completed matters, accomplished matters of fact which bump hard against one another in space. Schiller stressed this alternation of the subjective or of the objective factor in the bourgeois person poetically, in his distinction between sentimental and naive poetry. Flere again two veritable fields of vision are in competition, that of the ideally suffusing character and that of the character with experience of the real. ‘One can best arrive’, says Schiller, ‘at a true idea of this contrast by isolating from the naive and the sentimental character what is poetic in each. Nothing then remains of the former, as regards the theoretical, but a sober spirit of observation and a firm allegiance to the uniform testimony of the senses; as regards the practical, a resigned submission to the necessity (but not the blind compulsion) of nature; a surrender therefore to what is and must be. Of the sentimental character nothing remains (in the theoretical sphere) but a restless spirit of speculation which stresses the unconditional element in all knowledge, in the practical sphere a moral rigour which insists on the unconditional element in acts of the will.’ Thus the idealist and the realist are delineated against each other here or, to keep within our framework, a large element of Don Quixote (unconditionalness of feeling, Marquis Posa) and an equally large element of coming to terms with the world (Erziehungsroman, Mephisto’s constant cooling-down of Faust, the



nature of experience in Faust). The antagonism between the idealist and the realist, using both terms in the moral sense, appears in almost Schillerian form in Goethe’s ‘Tasso’, expressed in the simile of the wave and the rock. Tasso is completely unruly, bursting with the urge from within, blindly overflowing, he calls himself a wave, but Antonio, the man of the world, he finally calls the firm, silent rock. Tasso rants out solely his own inner images, images both passionate and high-spirited: ‘And can the beaker’s rim contain a wine/That frothing wells and foaming over¬ flows?’ (Act V, sc. iv). Tasso remains the unmediated. He walks in his own magic circle, and whatever reality breaks into it is understood, misunderstood not as a lesson but only as persecution, conspiracy. Beside him, with his feet firmly on the ground, stands Antonio, beside the absolute poet the soundly-reasoning secretary of state, experienced, cautious, cool, not without malice, wise in the ways of the world. And Tasso, when his vision proves bankrupt, capitulates to the enemy who in the end is not an enemy at all, finds mediation through Antonio: ‘So in the end the shipwrecked sailor clings/To just that rock on which he should have foundered’ (Act V, sc. v). Here is the transition from fervour to insight, from unmediatedness to mediation, from spontaneity to action in and with the world. But yet again at the risk of a compromise: thus ambivalence arises again, the choice between two guiding panels; in this case between the radicalism of the unconditional and the ordinariness, but also the lessons, of manly prose, the objectivity of the way of the world. In contrast to the joy of the senses and the peace of the soul, Schiller of course did not set up a simple choice between his moral poetic idealist and his realist, he expressed no normative preference for the one to the exclusion of the other. A remark towards the end of ‘Naive and Sentimental Poetry’ expounds this: ‘It is precisely this exclusion which occurs in experience that I am combatting; and the result of the present reflections will be the proof that only the completely equal inclusion of both can satisfy mankind’s concept of reason.’ And in fact the dialectical wholeness which the TassoAntonio problem takes up is rather one of permeation, of the prophetic plus process realism, as will become clear in what follows. But the un¬ conditional retains its primacy here, as long as it has only entered into process mediation, into concrete instruction and armament. This primacy of the unconditional prevents precisely the compromise in mediation, indeed it makes even temporary compromise into the method that leads the way to the victory of what is right. Permeating mediation is indispensable for such ultimately undistracted essence; its political form, against every kind



of putschism and abstract monomania, is Marxist. The enthusers, however, with the isolated, infinite Tasso, who is allowed to do as he pleases, are impatient in their merely abstract immediacy, and empty freedom without tectonic virtue crumbles anarchistically into destruction as petrified desire. Immediacy which skips over society, over the pages of history and the world, to achieve its goal more rapidly thus becomes abstract utopia in the highest abstraction. It is haste and omission which for this very reason is bound to revert to the mere emptiness of immediacy; in contrast to concrete utopia, with its path, compass, order. This is why in this respect Faust rises so far above Don Quixote, a subject of mediation and its phenomenology, without abstract fantasizing. This is why mediation, with analysis of the situation and constant time-dialectic, constant subject-object dialectic, is so unquestionably superior to pure spontaneity. The guiding panel of mediatedness is higher than that of immediacy, but it is only higher in that it has put on the radical conscience of immediacy, as mindfulness in every mediation. On this condition, precisely in such permeation and in it alone, Tasso retains the last word with Don Quixote against Antonio and becomes true. Cervantes gave his hero this epitaph: ‘Once as a bogeyman he entered the fray/By his strong arm to drive away/injustice from the world’. There is no doubt that he is a bogeyman, but there is even less doubt, beyond the ridiculous means he uses, about their sublime goal. No doubt about the greatness of the intention, the melody of salvation which runs unerringly here through mockery and through defeats which are not always dis¬ crediting. There is even less doubt about the determining goal itself, about the dictate: to free the world of injustice, of its alienation, of suffocating triviality. This kind of unconditionalness is not true when action consists of rushing headlong at a wall, but it is true when it is the most energetic refusal to recognize that a wall has to be there.

The Luciferian-Promethean and the layer of sound The way to what is better is primarily a human path and this means here a bold path. It leads out of our inborn circumstances and out of those which stand around our lives. Even though they may fit our lives, they are not permanently attuned or only when the head is no longer held up high but nods at every step like a horse. Animals with all their actions and sensations are locked within their fixed generic nature and its environ¬ ment; man can raise himself beyond his. Animals and their organization



are completed at a very early age and almost as complete is the arena assigned to them, indeed the fate assigned to them, within the group-like framework of which, for all their mobility, they behave as if spellbound. Man on the other hand, seen from the animal’s perspective, is a helpless premature birth with long-lasting malleability, long-obstructed maturation and rigidity, and just as open as his organization remains his environment, remain the limits of mankind. The animal is complete when it can maintain the species, with man the decisive development only begins with puberty. The animal is actually as if pressed into its surroundings, and the surroundings in turn, with a correspondence bordering on mimicry, are entered on to the animal’s own design; the human being changes his environment through work, it is only through it that he becomes a human being, i.e. a subject of the changing of the world. He can thus lose his connection with the primeval human subject and even more so with the primeval natural arena to which animals, each after its fashion, are attuned in such an amazing and multiply protected way; whereas the human imprint on history is so old and so powerful that the primeval human subject and the primeval environment from which homo sapiens started out and has since drifted away are now scarcely known. The metamorphosis of man, through socio¬ economic causes, is the same as the real, irreversible history of mankind itself. And the ‘most highly bred’ or front types are not the most deca¬ dent as in the animal kingdom but those with the healthiest capacity for becoming: human becoming, entering into the Novum. These are the venturers beyond the limits or pioneers, often allied to the best that men want at a given time or at all times, and its emissaries. They are therefore utopian types; and in this character they are also united as fictional, as ideally presented types. The Quixotic and the Faustian is united in a previously drawn firing-line, despite the differences, clear as in any didactic play, between abstractness in the former and the workings of the world in the latter. Only man has the freedom of this transition, one into the seventh day where otherwise everything rests except him. This is why animals can be demonic or ‘venturers beyond the limits’ in the manner of the dinosaurs of the Jurassic period, venturers beyond the limits into the monstrous-tropical, but they cannot be - Luciferian, i.e. makers of consciousness, creators of light, changers of the world. This involves remaining for a time at the transition, at the bridge of the transition and of human aurora: this new day beckons to new shores, consequently a day unlike any other that has yet shone forth upon the world. Man in society thus forms around him an environment different from what was



biologically assigned to him, he brings with his work a contribution and modification into the existing or towards it. But: with this contribution, if it is not to remain subjective-abstract and therefore to be no contribution at all, a contact with the world will always be made. Not with the world of becomeness, which surrounds like a ring and, in the animal as well as the human being poor in subject, is as fixed as the physiognomy of his body. But a contact is made with the world as the workings of the world and with its tendency-filled physiognomy; that which is truly light¬ bringing never remains in itself or alone. In his essay on Winckelmann, Goethe speaks of the people of antiquity and describes their essence as ‘an unfragmented nature which works as a whole, knows it is one with the world and therefore does not experience the objective external world as something alien which is added to man’s inner world, but recognizes in it the counterparts responding to its own sensations’. This is especially true of the tendency-figures of history, of process-mediation which gives sustenance to the will of inner freedom and strength against abstraction to the will of the unconditional. The light-bringing, Luciferian element is in Greek terms the Promethean, and it always forms even the most distant regnum humanum from the clay of this world. But what if a still invisible kind of material is easier to will and to believe than material far more visible? If the will to it, as in Faust’s style, informs itself in the workings of the world but equally, as will to the moment, lies beyond attained visibility? Manifestations of this kind, manifestations of a quixotry of the highest order (with Dulcinea as its hallmark) certainly are not lacking in Faust; otherwise he would not be the one who abandons everything again, the urge based on utopian loyalty. Hence the lines from the beginning: Who teaches me? what should I shun? Should I obey that sudden urge? Not just our sufferings, what we ourselves have done Hold back our own life’s onward surge.* And immediately the turning away from all that is stagnant in the world of things:

* ‘Faust’, Part I, 630-3.



The finest things the spirit could receive By strange and stranger matter are besieged; All those fine feelings which once gave us life Grow rigid in the earthly, jostling strife.* Then in the invocation of the Mothers, of shaping, reshaping in the limitless: No rigid salvation do I seek to find, To shudder is the best part of mankind; Although the world may price his feelings dear, He feels the monstrous depths, still gripped with fear.t Gripping emotion and the limitless are correspondences in such hidden overhauling of the world; indeed only in that which Mephisto calls empirically Nothing, but in which Faust hopes to find his All, is there the counterpart responding to this feeling which has not been priced dear. Thus visible world no longer stands before invading-overhauling intention of this kind, let alone the fine, agreeable habit of existing and operating in it: the realist, on the contrary, now becomes a driver-out of the highest order. This must be conceded, even Mephisto here speaks, with regard to the here responding counterparts, of desolation and loneliness, of the untrodden, unwished-for, of flight from what has arisen, of unleashed spaces, but of course equally of shaping, reshaping, of the eternal enter¬ tainment of the eternal sense; therefore even in this highest-reaching breakthrough intention the Promethean does not remain in itself or alone. But its still invisible element appears again in a material and in its still utterly distinct appearance. And we should not fail to see, still less fail to hear: this material of the Promethean, all that has been denoted by venturing beyond, Don Giovanni, Don Quixote, Faust, now approaches in its further developed form, though still thoroughly within the world of art, in musical light. Thus the next formation of poetic venturing beyond the limits which contradicts available existence occurs in the layer of sound and its shaping, reshaping, in the tonal figures which it nevertheless foreshadows of a world-figure, however distant. Hence the still undetermined element in the layer of sound, but hence also the remarkably near and festive atmosphere when Faust brings back what he has grasped from his marvellous experience: * ‘Faust’, Part I, 634-9. t ‘Faust’, Part II, 6271-4.



From airy tones there streams a know-not-how; And as they drift, all seems melodious flow. The columns sound, the fluted triglyph rings, I even think the very temple sings!* It sings as unrestrained exodus and as extract, music is the supreme art of utopian venturing beyond, whether it drifts or builds. The layer of sound is certainly not always unrestrained, otherwise no triglyph could ring, but more than anywhere else all figures of venturing beyond the limits are accommodated, indeed even arrive in it. The world of sound, even in the unrestrained, is certainly not demonic, or only with exceptions (as can be found in Berlioz and Wagner), it is no dinosaur excess in the field of the arts, but like no other art it incorporates the Luciferian, the Promethean; all venturers beyond the limits to the absolute moment are also tonal characters. The Luciferian guiding panel is inscribed with the name of Beethoven, venturers beyond the limits all belong to Beethoven’s realm, in Beethoven all music becomes a Prometheus overture, far beyond the early, pioneering work which bears this name. The venturers beyond the limits cross into this sphere from their moral sphere; provided that the tonal layer has not become a linguistic and depictive space sui generis, part of a different creation of environment. This is especially true in the approach to the fulfilled moment in itself, with a head which outgrows the world which has arisen, with the identity of the We and its world, to which the Don Quixote and the Faust longing ultimately intends, instead of alienation.



If I could wish for something, I would wish for neither wealth nor power, but the passion of possibility; I would wish only for an eye which, eternally young, eternally burns with the longing to see possibility. Kierkegaard, The Moment

* ‘Faust’, Part II, 6445-8. These lines are spoken by the Astrologer.



The tone goes with us and is We, not only as the graphic arts merely go with us to the grave, though they previously seemed to point so far beyond us into the severe, the objective, the cosmic, but as good works also go with us beyond the grave; and this is precisely because the new, no longer pedagogical but real symbol in music seems so very low, seems so much only a fiery outburst in our atmosphere, although it is in fact a light in the most distant, but the innermost heaven of fixed stars. Ernst Bloch, The Spirit of Utopia

There is something overhauling and unconcluded in music which no poetry can satisfy, unless it be the poetry which possibly develops music from itself. At the same time the openness of this art shows in a particularly striking way that even in the content-relation of other arts it is not yet the evening to end all days. Ernst Bloch, Subject-Object, Commentaries on Hegel

Happiness of the blind To know itself, for this the mere I must go to others. In itself it is sunk in itself, the inside lacks someone opposite it. But in this other person, in whom an otherwise opaque interior grasps itself, it can easily go into the alien again, away from itself. Only sounding, that which expresses itself in sounds, is at all events also related back to an I or We. The eyes roll back in this, it becomes significantly dark, so that the external at first sinks and only a fountain appears to speak. It is very often the same one which wells up and froths in attempted Being-Self, this restlessness now hears itself. As a shaped longing and driving in itself, as a song which runs on solitarily or entwines itself with others and always represents invisible human features. Happiness of the blind begins with this, beneath and above the things which exist. At the same time the tone expresses what in man himself is still dumb.

The nymph Syrinx It is not possible to avoid hearing a call in singing. This call began as a cry, which expresses a drive and calms it at the same time. The human cry was originally accompanied only by noise, by whirring, drumming, rattling. This deafens and remains dull, an opposition of high and deep arises, but nowhere a first move towards fixed pitch, let alone the creation



of a scale. This, i.e. music, began modestly, it came about only with the invention of the shepherd’s pipe or panpipe. This handy instrument, which could be carried anywhere, comes from a different social class than the noiseproducing, frighteningly cultic musical instruments. Used mostly by shepherds, the panpipe served for closer, more human feelings and their ex¬ pression. It does not have to deafen or perform magic like the twirling stick, cymbals, or the magically painted, itself magically worshipped drum. On the contrary it remains, apart from pure entertainment, on the level of love¬ longing and, where traces of magic remained, of love-enchantment. The sound of the shepherd’s pipe, the panpipe, or of the syrinx as the Greeks called it (it means the same in all these cases), is supposed to reach the distant beloved. Thus music begins longingly and already definitely as a call to that which is missing. Among the Indians of the Rocky Mountains this belief is still widespread today: the young Indian goes out on to the plain and laments his love on the panpipe, at which the girl is supposed to weep, however far away she is. The panpipe has since come a long way, it is the primeval ancestor of the organ, but far more than this: it is the birthplace of music as a human expression, a sounding wishful dream. To this not only an Indian belief bears witness but - precisely in its place - one of the loveliest tales of antiquity. The origin and content of music are charmingly and allegorically indicated in this tale. It was told by Ovid, who relates the following of the Arcadian pipe and its content (Metam. I, 689-712): Pan was disporting with nymphs and chased after one of them, the tree-nymph Syrinx. She flees from him, she sees her way blocked by a river, she implores the waves, her ‘liquidas sorores’, to transform her, Pan grabs for her and finds nothing but reeds in his hands. During Pan’s lamentations for his lost beloved, the breeze produces sounds in the reeds, and their harmony moves the god. Pan breaks the reeds, longer, then shorter ones, sticks the finely graded pipes together with wax and plays the first tones, like the breeze, but with living breath and as a lament. Thus the panpipe came into being, playing gives Pan the consolation of a union with the nymph (‘hoc mihi conloquium tecum manebit’*) who has vanished and yet not vanished, who remained in his hands as the sound of the flute. Thus far Ovid; memory of primeval times, of the primeval history of music, as a pathos of lament for the absent, is intended in this tale, makes it unsentimental and, along with true allegories, matter-of-fact. Quite apart from Pan, even geographically the panpipe did not originate in Greece but in Eastern Asia in the third millennium B.c., it rapidly spread across * ‘this conversation with you will continue forever’.



the whole earth, especially among pastoral tribes. But gracefully and deeply though the need for music is indicated in this tale, it describes just as truly the small, momentous invention of music as human expression. Precisely in the contrast of the syrinx with cult instruments and sound instruments, with noises of the dull, screaming, howling, rattling kind. Into this cultic world of sound the instrument now enters, which causes a well-ordered tone series to be heard; and with the unity of syrinx and nymph Ovid described the goal towards which the tone series moves, which has always been a drawing of lines in the invisible. It is a contradictory-utopian goal: this pipe-playing is the presence of the vanished; that which has passed beyond the limit is caught up again by this lament, captured in this consolation. The vanished nymph has remained behind as sound, she adorns and prepares herself within it, plays to need. The sound comes from a hollow space, is produced by the fecundating breeze and still remains in the hollow space which it causes to resound. The nymph became the reeds, the instrument, like her, is called syrinx. Only even today it is still not rightly known what music itself is called and who it is.

Bizarre hero and nymph: Symphonie fantastique Something is lacking, the sound at least clearly expresses this lack. There is something dark and thirsty about the sound itself, it wafts, does not stick in one place like paint. This wafting and gliding can also be bad, so that longing, as music, melts away, becomes marrowless. But if the tone does not sit precisely in space, it can be set all the more sharply in time, in the bar, in the well-aimed song. Precisely the sharp figures of restlessness are unmistakably tuned in music, the familiar figures, the venturers beyond the limits. Hoffmann’s Conductor Kreisler plays the music of that which, in all trees, wanted golden leaves, that which circulates in all the starvelings of the unconditional. Most recognizably, i.e. erotically, this unrestrained desire recurs in Berlioz, in his youthful ‘Symphonie fantastique’. It may therefore stand at the beginning, with its own nymph, its bizarre nymph. The figures of venturing beyond all have an especially strong utopian ferment, in Berlioz it is musically-erotically isolated. Again the nymph Syrinx appears, as the maiden-theme she runs through the five movements of the ‘Symphonie fantastique’. This youthful work as a whole is certainly not the best music, but it is very significant in its point of longing. It is music which, in a sensational way, has utopian idee fixe in



its head and carries it out in a bizarre hero, in a strange Helen. The programme outlines the intention of the composer and the outermost, as it were still extra-musical, doors of the work: a young artist sees the girl who embodies in her person all his dreams. The beloved image never appears to him except accompanied by a musical idea, a theme passionate but noble and shy in character; this melody forms the idee fixe, one both pursuing and pursued. The countersubject to the main theme comes in the central movement, this second theme does not appear, as is usually the case, in softness, but as blurredness, sleep, standstill. Out of the shrill, often spasmodic developments the idea of the first theme returns, at first darkened, sinking into ever deeper notes, then with great magnificence, but always the magnificence of a mere image of longing, which has become sharp and significant, vanishing. The return of the theme in C major at the end of the first movement is happiness, but happiness unattained, it is the star, but like the star in the distance. And Stella leaves the first movement, entitled ‘Dreams, Sufferings’, goes through the scherzo, ‘A Ball’, through an adagio, ‘Scene in the Fields’, which is certainly unique, through the march-finale: ‘On the Way to the Place of Execution’, through the fugue-finale: ‘Dream on a Sabbath Night’. The scherzo brings the theme into dance rhythms, the adagio transforms it into solitary recitatives, into dialogue in audible fields - a voice alone, the other no longer answers, complete stillness - there is distant thunder below the horizon. There is a tremendous plain between the melos of the theme and the distant, sealed, disparate thunder; in this adagio Berlioz produced a pastorale which is equalled only in the mysticism of Chinese landscape paintings. The march of the fourth and the bacchanale of the fifth movement, with a double fugue consisting of Dies irae and witches’ sabbath, cut to pieces and play havoc with the theme; finally the beloved melody appears once again, rattled off on the clarinet, limp, dirty and common. But always, even in the final movement, Stella remains both absent and musically present. She sounds even among the grimaces, the bacchanalian death-knells, the parodied Dies irae with which the ‘Symphonie fantastique’ ends. It is the unenjoyed which fills this great colportage of music; the Not-Yet, indeed even the Never, likewise has its most characteristic existence from the air-roots of sound. The pneumatic mesh of sound forms the location of the idee fixe or the jungle through which the hunt towards it goes. Voices, which to others are silent, Merlin hears gliding past; Berlioz, also one of the magicians among composers, makes them loud. The above-mentioned drawing of lines in the invisible in Berlioz becomes shrill, and the lament for Syrinx



demonic. Here that which is absent, indeed unconditional, dwells not in the finale, which is the most dubious part of every symphony anyway. It is in the faint thunder of the scene in the fields, in the answer which is no answer but which contains the unfound answer in the context which the significant pause before the thunder produces in this coda. And this with fine adagio and its evening-like, long-drawn-out, distantly defamiliarized heath of sound, with a rest which is not silence. Human expression as inseparable from music The tone is not there to be sentimental or merely to be fiddled. Its purpose is not to flood the listener, melting, womanish. When a violin sobs like a human breast, this is not only a bad image but the violin is playing badly or playing bad music. A sequence of tones whose expression fades in clear, sober performance has never had any expression but a fraudulent one. But as for the merely fiddled: the aversion to the languorous, to a sentimental swamp of sound, must not deny the psychically charged nature of the entire machinery of music. The mental as the volitional is so composed with tone sequence that the latter even in its primal forms sets a striving or a pull. There is a clear fall from the keynote after the fifth, the seventh wants to be led downwards, the third to be led upwards, there is an inclination of chords to combine with one another. Our sensitivity does not do all the work here because there is already also an objective factor in the relation of tones which invariably determines this sensitivity in one way or another. Already the relation of the vibrating strings is heard emotionally, this itself determines the first attraction as well as the first pleasant consonance of tones. That which began so physically is carried further by independent playing and by the even more independent social art, otherwise the tone-life would not get beyond the fall of the fifth. The tension of sound passes from being physical to being psychical, and the most characteristic feature of melody: that in each one of its tones the next one is latently audible, lies in the anticipating person, therefore in the expression, which is here above all a humanized expression. There would perhaps be music even if there were no ears, but there certainly would be none if there were no musicians who first composed the movement of sound and its psychical energy, Faust-energy. They make music not only their own expression but that of the time and the society in which it arises, and thus an expression which is not only romantic or even ostensibly-arbitrarily subjective. Innumerable human tensions come on top



of the tension of the fifth and now make a more complicated cadence, i.e. history of music. Social tendencies themselves have been reflected and have been uttered in sound material, far beyond the unchanging facts of nature and far beyond the merely romantic expressivo. No art is as socially conditioned as the supposedly spontaneous, indeed mechanically self-righteous art of music; it teems with historical materialism, precisely with the historical kind. To incipient free enterprise corresponds the dominance of the melody-leading treble and the mobility of the other voices, just as cantus firmus in the middle and graded polyphony corresponded to society divided into estates. No Haydn and Mozart, no Handel and Bach, no Beethoven and Brahms, without their respective precisely varied social mandate; it extends from the form of the performance right to the characteristic style of the tonal material and its com¬ position, to the expression, the meaning of the content. Handel’s oratorios in their festive pride reflect rising imperialist England, its aptness to be the chosen people. No Brahms without the bourgeois concert society and even no music of ‘new objectivity’,* of supposed expressionlessness, without the gigantic rise of alienation, objectification and reification in late capitalism. It is the consumer class and its mandate, it is the emotional and goal-world of the respective ruling class, which in each case becomes expressive in music. And at the same time music, by virtue of its so immediately human capacity of expression, has more than other arts the quality of incorporating the numerous sufferings, the wishes and the spots of light of the oppressed class. And again no art has so much surplus over the respective time and ideology in which it exists, a surplus which of course certainly does not abandon the human layer. It is the surplus of hope-material, even in the resounding suffering occasioned by time, society, world, even in death; the ‘Strike, o longed-for hour, longed-for hour, strike’ of the Bach cantatat goes through the darkness and, as sound, by the fact that it can be there, gives an incompre¬ hensible consolation. Expression of a human content is therefore clearly not confined to the Romantic, as if this were everything and everything else mere tonemachine. As if only Beethoven, in some of his slower movements, and then most exorbitantly Wagner, had added this element to music: so that expression in Wagner in places turns into a true sale, a selling-off of soul. Instead it turns out, as will now have to be shown, that pre-Romantic music intended, in connection with social content, an expression which confesses itself far more naively than the modern. For the Greeks regarded even the panpipe

* Cf. Vol. II, p. 735n. t The New Grove dictionary (1980) suggests cantata 53 is a spurious attribution to Bach.



as exciting, the lyre as idyllic, the Dorian key was regarded as powerful and well-disposed, the Lydian as female, as that of passive feelings. Then the vocalises* and jubilations of medieval music, they were not only flourishes and melismatic sweeps, they overhauled precisely the word for the sake of an utterly exalted expression. Hence Augustine says of the jubilus of the hallelujah: ‘When man is moved in the exaltation of joy, after a few sounds which are not part of language and have no real meaning, he breaks into a rejoicing without words, so that it appears that he is moved in such a song of joy but cannot put into words what moves him.’ Even the recitatives of Peri and Monteverdi, in the first operas around 1600, took up medieval vocalises and tropes, precisely as expressive. And the earlier, so much more complicated art, the contrapuntal mesh of movement of the Dutch, certainly did not preclude an expression sui generis, namely the late Gothic-Christian one. That which is criticized in the work of the Dutch contrapuntalists as ‘artificiality’ or even as ‘show-score’, that which has been called the formalism of decadent late Gothic, may be partly so only because its re¬ animation, in purely technical terms, has not yet been achieved. Josquin wrote a motet for 24 voices, containing a sixfold strict canon in every one of the four parts, and nonetheless his contemporary Luther, in other respects an enemy of scholasticism, says: ‘Josquin is the master of notes; they had to do what he wanted; other composers have to do what the notes want to do.’ This sentence can only refer to the rule of will and of expression which permeated Josquin’s gigantic filigree or many-tiered gigantic construction. In the work of Palestrina and of Orlando di Lasso, as the harmonic style begins to emerge, the unity of anima Christiana and its tonal structure, Raphaelite in the former, early Baroque in the latter, is quite evident. Indeed Bach, the most learned and at the same time the most deeply soulful music, makes the antithesis between expression and canon meaningless. Utterly wrong though the romanticizing which occurred in Mendelssohn’s rendering of Bach is, equally an understanding of Bach cannot be achieved by mere dead dismissal of Romanticism, as if nothing remained after it but reified form. Bach certainly cannot be used by interested enemies of all meaning as lattice as such, let alone as a model of the apparatization which late capitalism has certainly achieved: Here this ‘new objectivity’ in relation to Bach reproduces with a supposedly positive significance the judgement which was common half a century after Bach’s death and which in fact submerged him as the greatest musician. The judgement that Bach is mere music of the * Vocalise: a musical passage sung on one vowel.



intellect and un-nature, is ‘sexton’s music without a spiritual tone’ and a mere bewigged arithmetical sum; a judgement incidentally which has many similarities with that which is still passed on the great Dutch contrapuntalists. This is now supposedly positively celebrated in Bach as ‘absolute music’, and always with a polemical antithesis to the merely Romantic espressivo which is quite unimportant for the nature of Bach’s work and its specific espressivo. The same antithesis had already filled and misguided Spitta’s Bach monograph in the eighteen seventies, the same unfruitful denial of all affective lines, expressive fines, although almost all Bach’s music consists of these. And poorly overcome romanticism took revenge by again introducing expressive interpretation all the same, but now not even in the Mendelssohnian style but in the style of the sentimental bower, of the supposedly pure form with bower. As in the case of the symphonia at the beginning of the second part of the Christmas Oratorio: according to Spitta, who is otherwise so absolute-musical, ‘the loveliness of the oriental idyll and the solemnity of the starlit northern winter night’ form ‘the atmospheric background to this symphonia’, which, given the rough and lively flute and violin music in this piece, is untenable even associatively, not only technically. And it is instructive that Albert Schweitzer’s later analysis of Bach, based completely on the practice of playing Bach, substantiated the specific espressivo of this music down to the finest detail. Schweitzer demonstrates, right down to the visual pattern of the notes, down to the overheard gesture of action and of emotion, what Bach’s espressivo is about: in cantatas, in chorales, in instrumental music. An inventory of documented expression appears and precisely in it the melodic-rhythmic figures now grow and develop, figures of emotion and also of its external movement. Such as the figures of weariness, of pain, both agonizing and proud, of joy, both lively and transfigured, of fear, of jubilation. An unparalleled scale of expression in Bach’s work ranges from fear of death, longing for death to consolation, confidence, peace, victory. No form, however closed, can stop it, no continuo here can prevent the leap between extremes which, except in love, appear and contrast only in the realm of religious emotion. It is the contrast of ‘O Golgotha, unhappy Golgotha’ and ‘The hero from Juda conquers with power’ in which this expressive Baroque moves, Baroque in the abrupt peripeteia, Baroque above all in the turbulent Christian content of feeling. Not least the dialogue cantatas between Jesus and the soul belong here or those between consolation and despair, in resounding allegory. Indeed so powerful is the prevalence of Bachian expression that the following diagnosis by Schweitzer of the choral movements in Bach’s cantatas and



Passions may not even appear extravagant: ‘From the viewpoint of pure music, Bach’s harmonizations are completely mysterious, because he does not set out in search of a sequence of tones which forms an aesthetic whole in itself but allows himself to be led by the poetry and the verbal expression. How far he dares to depart in this endeavour from the natural principles of the pure movement can be seen in the harmonization of ‘ ‘Should it ever be that punishment and pain” in the cantata “Who will redeem such a wretched man as me” (No. 48), which as pure music seems almost unbearable because Bach is trying to express the entire wild pain of sin in the words... Rather than resigning himself simply to writing beautiful music for the text, he attempts the possible and the impossible in order to discover a feeling in the words which, multiplied by a certain heightening emotion, becomes portrayable in music’ (A. Schweitzer, ‘J. S. Bach’, 1951, pp. 403, 408).Although this is written still too powerfully under the spell of neo-Roman tic expression, Schweitzer is completely right in terms of the centre, in that of the ruling musical precept of language. Indeed on top of the expressive power of the individual tone-sketches which Schweitzer quotes in especially large number comes not least that of true tone-paintings, particularly in terms of legendary diffusions of emotion. Modulations of key frequently occur purely for the sake of reflecting mythical processes of jubilation, most clearly in the theme of the Resurrection. As in the music to the ‘Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum’* in the Mass in B minor, the exspecto appears hesitant, doubting, the bass sings six notes down the scale, then comes a stop, and now follows the transformation which confirms the expectation: the keys run through their modulations from G minor to A major to D minor to the D major of a vivace allegro in which the trumpets come in, Bach’s invariable tone-colour of victory. And the primacy of expression merely operates more covertly in Bach’s purely instrumental music, which is not opened to emotion by any text-world. Certainly the fugue contains no lyrical-emotional, but instead dynamic tension of expression, it is compressed in the theme, the exposition raises the theme contrapuntally up to eight voices and resolves it victoriously. So here too there can be no question of observance of laws for their own sake or even of a formalistic isolation from the Humanum which at that time carried a heavy burden but protested all the more hotly in the heights. Equally expressive in its nature, although in its final expression still unconquered, is the crystal-music in the organ fugues, with all their crystal; it is here least autarkical of all. And the more worldly works from Bach’s ‘And I await the resurrection of the dead.’



Cothen period, above all the Brandenburg Concertos, their magnificent and elegant structure, their variations and their thematic intensification of fullness, display a highly sociable-dynamic expression; it does not blossom out of arith¬ metical sums. Thus expression is also part of pre-Romantic music, is immanent to good musical form and pinned only on bad musical form. It is not blown into good musical form by expressive performance, rather the rendering, how¬ ever much it has to make the spirit of the lines and forms sound, finds it in the lines and forms themselves, and of course only in these. In the forms not as reification and an end in themselves but as means towards a word-surpassing or wordless statement, ultimately always towards the shaping of a - call. When people go into the meadows of Biedermeier*, the sentimental voice often breaks in. It exaggerates or overheats greatly, emits soul free of charge, is effect without cause. It is found in Romantic music, only in this, but significantly never in its well-worked passages. And it is not desire for expres¬ sionlessness but for genuine musically-founded expression which objects to an addition which makes the nymph Syrinx greasy and the ancestral desiderium in music cheap. Yet better origins of this false feeling are certainly not lacking, they are probably connected with a warm popular tone as the popular ballad began to disappear. The damage begins as early as the intona¬ tion of the count in the last act of The Marriage of Figaro: ‘O Angel, forgive me’; it continues in Florestan’s ‘In the Spring Days of Life’. It culminates, among other things, in the prize-song of the otherwise so robustly-powerful ‘Meistersinger’, it makes itself deeply felt in the ‘Recordare Jesu pie’t of Verdi’s otherwise so thoroughly authentic Requiem; finally it presents itself with all the heat of the cello, if not cynically, in the heartfelt tone of the dyer: ‘You are entrusted to my care’, in Strauss’ ‘Woman without a Shadow’. All these are mere side-examples, but in pre-Romantic music their pastoso would have had no place at all, and in Romantic music it is a danger. In Wagner, for example, in many passages, particularly in ‘The Ring’, shrill or with Wotan-mellifluousness, for all the genius. The unique expressive advance, the sleep-motif, Erda-motif in ‘The Ring’, the madness and Midsummer Day motif in the ‘Meistersinger’, and so many treasures, deep insights, the unrest-homesickness power of this music and of its articulations were too often paid for by long indulgence in autarkical sing-song rhetoric. Among great poets only Schiller was dogged by the spell of a lopsided* Biedermeier: the period of bourgeois culture in Germany before 1848, characterized by its domestic style. See Vol. I, p. 324n. t ‘Holy Jesus remember’. From Thomas de Celano’s thirteenth-century sacred poem ‘Dies Irae’, the text for the ‘Requiem’.



expressiveness, one which by no means coincides with pathos, not even with false pathos. The alien element is manifold, it lies in the meaningless languor of the Romantic violin tone, in the bombastic, threatening songs of Wagner heroines, it is everywhere effect from affects or affect from effects. Undoubtedly the music of high Romanticism was particularly at risk here, and undoubtedly there were causes for this which in more progressive regions have at least been seen through and are no longer affirmed. The social cause was the broad bourgeoisie of the large towns with its need for amorphous nerve-stimulation, and on top of this above all the petit bourgeoisie with its cut-price consumption of feeling. Technically, the psychical, all too psychical alien element was promoted by middle parts used in pictorial rather than plastic fashion, by heavy instrumentation, rhythm which was languorous or over-heated on principle. Tchaikovsky is frequently an entire monument to this kind of espressivo (not forgetting the first act of The Valkyrie). But of course such extravagance is neither the real expression of Romantic music nor even in this music is its real expression divorced from great technical structure or pinned to it. Expression is and remains so much the terminus a quo and the terminus ad quern of music that good music shapes it as necessarily as bad music trumps it up and makes the espressivo into its opposite: meaninglessness. All unformed, illegal expression in Romanticism, which discredited it, is not under discussion, the mere body-heat, stableheat, cow-heat of music, as Thomas Mann says, which lacks strict regulation and delight in laws. This is the refuse of Romanticism, not the classicism which Romanticism represents precisely in music. The quartet in ‘Fidelio’, the quintet in the ‘Meistersinger’, contain canonical-Romantic expressive music; both, for this very reason, are also the best-constructed. It is just as impossible not to hear their voice-control because of their spiritualization as it is conversely impossible not to hear the pathos immanent for example in the Crucifixus of Bach’s Mass in B minor because of its magnificent contra¬ puntal miraculous construction. It is true that Romantic music has sometimes also given its expression literary signposts which are superfluous (Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony’s title) or which in fact do not lead to the best (elaborate programme symphonies from Berlioz to Strauss). But even here an intra¬ musical business was still being run: music was to be educated through the already given imaginary sequence to ever greater expressive definiteness. It was of course again a danger that music, contrary to its latent expressive power which goes far beyond all known words, was interpreted as the mere illustration of literary aids to imagination. However, even here and all the more so in all higher settings of texts to music, the textual expressive



stimulus serves only the most characteristic aspiration of music: to be, to find, to become, language sui generis. Indeed because the expressive power of music lies beyond all known names, in the end expression in music is no longer under discussion at all but music itself as expression. This means the entirety of its intending, signifying, depicting and of that which it depicts in such a clouded but, in both senses of the word, moving way. And music - in its polyphonic form such a young art - goes towards this alone, towards the hour of its own language, of its poesis a se which is pre-formed in powerful expression and nonetheless still unknown. This language of course comes exclusively from absolute music, not from any fixed text super¬ imposed on it. To use a comparison of Wagner’s, all literature set to great music bears the same relation to the nameless expressive power of music as a commentary by Gervinus to a play by Shakespeare. Musical expression as a whole is thus ultimately a vice-regent for an articulation which goes much further than anything so far known. This has already occurred, with varying reference, in all great music, but even in this it is only fully audible when the hour of language has come in a music which breaks through into language. Brangane still takes for the sounding of horns what Isolde in the silence of the night hears as a spring; that is to say that every form of music so far will, if by virtue of achieved musical poesis a se such keenness of hearing was to be achieved, later cause to be heard and publish expressive content quite different from all expressive content it has so far produced. In contrast, the expression of music heard so far might appear like the babbling of a child, like a language of a final kind seeking to form itself but which has only approximately formed itself in a few highest places; no one can yet understand it, although it can happen that people sense what it means. But no one has yet heard Mozart, Beethoven, Bach as they truly call, name, teach; this will happen only much later, in the fullest after-ripening of these and of all great works. Hence without the veil over the ears and throughout music at its own time and place, the veil which is there because the tone does not yet have or allow to be heard the full speaking light of its understanding. Among the arts, music has a very special juice,* suitable for the invocation of that still wordless something which is added instrumentally to the song and in the sung word may also penetrate to its undertone and surplus. The utopian art of music, in its polyphonic form still so young, is thus itself moving towards its own utopian career, of thoroughly developed exprimatio (in the and instead of the sentimental or even * Cf. ‘Faust’, Part I, 1740.



descriptive espressivo). The utopicum of this expression is the hour of language in music, understood as keenly hearing; is a poesis a se with passwords allowing entry into the material tone-nature of all that wells up while, indeed after, it has become to a greater or lesser extent adequate appearance. This adequateness to our own core and to all other cores has not yet come out; its affectively, but not only affectively, beating conscience, its rhythmicmelodic calling which occurs in the works of great masters: this means at this end music. ‘If we could name ourselves, our true head would appear, and music is one great subjective theurgy’ (Ernst Bloch, Geist der Utopie, 1918, p. 234), in other words a theurgy which proposes to sing, to invoke, that which is essential and most like proper human beings. This song and its expression are subjective, far more so than in other arts apart from lyric poetry; to this extent experience of music provides the best access to the hermeneutics of the emotions, especially the expectant emotions. But music is also subjective in a significantly different sense in that its expression not only mirrors the affective mirror which in the emotions referred to mirrors society in each case and world as it is happening, but in that it comes close to the subject-based hearth and agent of that which is happening, to a subject-based Outside. This agent is still fermenting beneath everything that is already determined, and that has not yet come out in pronounced, objective form; therefore the expression of music is also still fermenting, has not yet come out in complete, definable form. This objectiveundetermined element in the expressed, depicted content of music is the (provisional) shadow of its virtue. Thus music is that art of pre-appearance which relates most intensively to the welling core of existence (moment) of That-Which-Is and relates most expansively to its horizon; - cantus essentiam fontis vocat. *

Music as canon and world of laws; harmony of the spheres, more humane lode-stars It was all the more necessary to work very soberly and drily with the wafting element in the tone. Craft continued to be highly honoured here, even when among painters it declined or was completely forgotten. Even playing the recorder has to be learnt, the waltz, jazz, have rules which must be known, every mistake is audible. Nonetheless musical craft, which ‘singing summons the existence of the fountain’.



is so far removed from sentimental spectres, never existed independently or in abstract form. It has, from its very beginnings with Syrinx, human needs, socially changing mandates behind it. It is clear how greatly the very means and techniques of such a sociable art are determined by the respective social conditions; how deeply society extends even into soundmaterial, material which is certainly not spontaneous or naturally given. The equally suspended temperament which is confined within octaves is so clearly historically produced that it is only a few centuries old. The sonata form, with the conflict of two subjects, with keynote, development, recapitulation, presupposes capitalist dynamics; the stratified, completely undramatic fugue presupposes class, static society. So-called atonal music would not be possible in any other periods than those of late-bourgeois decline, it responded to this as bold helplessness. The twelve-tone technique, which leaves the dynamic relation between dissonance and consonance, modulation and cadence behind it to form still, severe sequences, would have been unthinkable in the age of free competition. Indeed it was only from 1600 onwards, in fact only from 1750 to 1900, that the history of music was a history of dissonance and cadence. Even the musical forms, not only their expression, are therefore dependent on the respective relation of men to men, are its reflection. Often a reified reflection of course, one strangely detached from the heard expression, even the Humanum of music. Precisely because of this the illusion could arise that there were two kinds of music: that of the fully sung-out feeling of the soul and that of the pure, almost mechanically autarkical form. Thus the controversy between the two appears not only in the musical work but also in various apparently incompatible interpretations of the meaning of the word music. Sometimes it has to designate the utterly inchoate, the mere mood, and the eeriness of the tone is appropriate to this; whereas at other times it conversely designates combinatory-schooled mastery, in the control of voice, not of mood. Sometimes the musical is regarded as diffuse vagueness, along the lines of Schiller’s self-observation: ‘A certain musical state of mind comes first, and with me it is only then that the poetic idea follows.’ The Hegelian Christian Weifte expressed this in his aesthetics by assigning music the lowest place among the arts; so that the spirit of the ideal in the world of sound still weaves, formless, within itself, and it is only in the plastic arts that it unfolds, only in poetry that it expresses itself in concentrated form (cf. Lotze, Geschichte der Asthetik, 1868, p. 455f.). Whereas at other times the musical is regarded as the highest structuredness, indeed as a piece of mathematical Ratio that almost by a kind of misunderstanding



has entered into the unsound machinery of art, like Saul among the prophets. The subject status of music in the quadrivium of medieval university courses remains influential here: music, together with arithmetic, geometry and astronomy, consituted a science. It was the Pythagorean, mathematicalastronomical theory of music which gave this art its place in the quadrivium, which indeed exalted it into a very superior, cosmically regulated science. According to this view, music was anything but a shapeless roaring or warm foggy fulfilment; on the contrary, Kepler connected it to the heavenly bodies, to the realm of purest revolutions, to the most objective realm in the world. Here it does not surge from feeling but pours down from the planets, primarily on to the earth and only then on to men: ‘The work and the destiny of the earth-soul is to stimulate the perspiration of the earth, so that rain may be produced and the earth moistened for our benefit. To this work it is driven by the stimulus of the aspects, as it were a heavenly music; it does not do a stroke unless heaven calls the tune... But the reason for the comparison of the astronomical aspects with music is that the circle divided according to aspects and the monochord divided according to harmonies have the same divisions’ (Johannes Kepler in seinen Briefen, 1930,1, p. 289f.).Thus while music in the sense of mood is lodged entirely in vagueness, music in the sense of proportion, the art of composition, has from the earliest times been mathematicized. While music as mood is supposed to cease to be music once it has been arranged comprehens¬ ibly, and therefore passed over into plastic art, into poetry, music as form, as proportion, is supposed to become all the more itself the more it expresses itself in accordance with laws and is cosmographic. While music as mood remains in the shaft of the soul, indeed seems the most chthonic of all arts, so-called musica mathematica becomes completely Uranian, lands in heaven. These are therefore utterly different controversies than those between expression and form, although they are related to them, on a higher theoretical level. And the effect is that the great sophistication of musical craft particularly easily becomes reified at times when expressive contents are rare. It has been said that the composer combines in his person the shaman and the engineer; but only the engineer, now that Romantic exuberance is discredited, seems more modern. Thus precisely the craft of music is denied its expressive mandate, it is utterly allied with the physics of sound, though this is highly developed. Not only melos without expression arises as a problem here but - from the perspective of the ideal and the image of perfection of the autarkical canon - melos without ego at all, music based on laws. Again and again the Pythagorean, indeed the



Keplerian background darkly announces itself: music appears as a structure of voices which follow or circle in extra-human order. This order may itself be the most matter-of-fact, indeed a law about mere contingency; Scarlatti’s Cat Fugue is most often cited here because it was given its theme from the keys pressed down by a cat running across a piano. In particular the order may be extra-human in a more sublime way; then the delight in laws is so great that even the appearance of these laws in expressive music is not disdained, as for example in the adagio of Bruckner’s Sixth Symphony, where a scale passes itself the golden pails* slowly through three octaves - a popular example of music existence (even Beethoven does something similar in the finale of the Pastoral Symphony) from welltempered physics of sound and ostensibly nothing else. In general, through a supposedly extra-human order music as expression is not so much rejected as surpassed, or at least replaced. Instead of being psychical expression, it now appears as cosmic impression, as the depiction of cosmic conditions; approximately as architecture believed it was becoming greatest, most perfect, when it formalistic music does not lack the music as existence.

was imitating the structure of the world. Though may lack the structure of the world as its model, it belief in subjectless order, in music as law instead of From this perspective harmonic theory and counterpoint

seem to be as autarkical as they are transparent, and always transparent to the mathematical-physical. Since numbers and formulae cannot be heard, at least forces are supposed to be discerned in music which can also be found in mechanical processes, in dynamics and statics; such as gradient, discharge, balance and the like. However, there is less talk of the dialectic of nature here, despite the division in the topic and structure of the sonata. Even nature as a human cipher, heard through music, is left out of consideration by an external series which has become one-sided; for in such merely reified law-theory only mechanics then appears on the horizon, a mere reflection of apparatization in a secularized former Keplerian nature. Thus, with clear relation to the base, the extra-human in the late bourgeois anti-expression theory of music and of its form-reification can very easily become anti¬ human; objectivity then interprets itself exclusively as accordance with alien law. ‘If music be the food of love’, says Shakespeare; but from the hypostatized Cat Fugue there is no path to the nymph Syrinx and none to venturing beyond self, to the utopian wellspring- and existence-sound. However this distinction is also artificial, just as artificial and abstract as * Cf. Goethe’s ‘Faust’, Part I, 450. See also Vol. II, p. 846.



that between expression and good form, which in reality are one and gladly stand by each other. Likewise music as a harmonic-contrapuntal world of laws only conflicts with music as a utopian existence-sound when the world of laws, i.e. the specific perfection of its means, has been reified and made absolute; when the goal-image: best music is lost in music without an epithet, in the mere self-guarantee of melodic-contrapuntal consequence; when the counterpoint has become a kind of auditory formal fetish. But the moment this making absolute is avoided and neither music in which nothing expressive can be felt occurs nor the science corresponding to it is rampant in which nothing revealing can be thought of, then the so deep and far-aiming intention of music blossoms out and sets out on its way precisely in its theory of form. Against the merely wafting, against the unlocalized warmth of tone, the craft then mediates definitely a world of laws, not an automatic one hut that of the Mozartian, Bachian, amd Beethovenian humanities which have not yet become the canon but have become canonical. And here even the last transparency of a craft made absolute: the cosmos-reference of music, i.e. the harmony of the spheres secularized again and again, ultimately no longer causes damage, indeed has to serve for the best. For the best and the pre-depictive, which precisely also causes nature to sound as a - pastorale, in a humanely signficant way. Thus the tone now goes out a long way, and it has armed itself for the journey. The formed tone has precise rule and firm understanding - for which painters have always envied it. The musical craft was of all guild trades the earliest to he rationalized, it consisted not only of empirically tested tricks of the trade and professional secrets of the masters. The art of measurement and the rule of true proportion with which Leonardo and Dtirer experimented had already, mutatis mutandis, long existed in the musical canon. One main reason for this salutary rationalization was the classical tradition which introduced music as a science. Thus music became one of the seven artes liberales of the medieval university and was included in the quadrivium.* Certainly a high price was paid for this tradition, through the exaggeration of numerical pro¬ portion, and it was almost without connection to musical practice, indeed Pythagorean speculations were a hindrance to this practice. Nonetheless, the traditional rationalization was a blessing for the polyphony which began in the eleventh century; it was not Pythagoras but rather the closeness to the scholastic mode of thinking and teaching which made possible the miracles of subtlety constructed by the Burgundian-Flemish contrapuntalists. Painters

The higher division of the seven liberal arts in the Middle Ages. The quadrivium consisted of the mathematical sciences, i.e. arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music.



made their empirical way through the workshops, stonemasons had their lodge, with an often mysterious interweaving of the art of measurement and Gnosis passed on through oral tradition, but at the same time as richer polyphony its rational books of theory are already found, a ‘Speculum musicae’ by Jean de Muris, byjacob of Liege in 1330, as well as an ‘ Ars nova’ and ‘Ars contrapuncti’ by Philipp of Vitry. And a connection appeared which so far has not been pursued at all and yet maintains the proud rationality of counterpoint even today: the connection with scholastic logic, or more precisely with its forms of combination. It is significant that Boethius, the same writer who in his ‘Ars musica’ handed down the Greek science of music, translated and commented on Aristotle’s Logic for the same world and in many cases for the same people. Abelard praised Boethius as the epitome of all insight in matters of music; and although this judgment changed in the contrapuntal centuries after Abelard, it was supported by the authority of the various conversiones and contrapositiones of a proposition in logic which Boethius had likewise been the first to mediate. The difference between rules of art in counterpoint and rules of truth in logic did not stand in the way of this crossconnection. For apart from the status of music in the quadrivium as one of the seven artes liberales, scholastic logic had long since ceased to be epistemologically targeted, as Aristotelian logic had been. On the contrary, it had largely developed into a formal theory of consequence, especially in the conversions of judgments, for example in textbooks from Petrus Hispanus onwards. Counterpoint is the variation of the theme in several voices, ex una voce plures faciens; by inversion, imitation, reversion and so on. Scholastic logic taught variations and combinations of formal elements of judgment, ex uno judicio plures faciens; through conversion, contraposition, subalterna¬ tion, modal consequence and so on. On top of these deductions come modes of conclusion or those modi of the conclusive figures which are based on the various combinatory possibilities of premises; the theory of combination itself had been borrowed from mathematics even in Alexandria. Of course it is not possible to compare the ‘arithmetical sum’ of the fugue (it was also known as conseguenza in fourteenth-century Italy) and the ‘jigsaw puzzle’ of scholastic logic more closely; the material is too different for this. But the spirit, which even in logic from Petrus Hispanus onwards was essentially one of formalcorrect exposition, is strikingly similar in both fields. It is the rationalism of unfolding and subsumption, in contrast to the newer rationalism of develop¬ ment and production. This inheritance gives musical form, apart from the danger mentioned above, a significant dignity, especially when this is linked with the articulated expression for the embodiment of which it exclusively



serves. And now again we come to the most famous support of the entire musical delight in laws: the harmony of the spheres and Us daughter, the cosmic theory of music. For there is in its mythical-utopian archetype yet another essence besides that which the half-Pythagoras, namely the ostensible correlate of mere laws of music as such, has become. And the task is now to break open this other essence in a humane way, in a connection, itself broken, with the cosmic theory of music. This theory ruled for all too long, but it taught the work of music to think very highly of itself. With the Pythagorean prohibition of the third and the sixth it hindered the development of music, but it provided the music which arose in spite of this with ambition towards a tremendous correlate. It is incurable astral myth, but it gave the dream of musical perfection a counterpart to what the supposed canon of the world structure had been in architecture for so long (cf. Vol. II, p. 7i4ff.). Indeed whereas this latter canon (right up to Solomon’s temple) often operated only poetically or in secret schools, the music of the spheres, precisely in scholastic Ratio itself, from its beginnings until far beyond it, was assigned to earthly-learned music as its ideal model: ‘Early medieval musical theory was as faithful a follower of the music of the spheres as the Pythagorean school itself.. .Thus the proposition of the Church Fathers that church music came from God and had its model in the singing of the heavenly hosts found as it were philosophical support’ (Abert, Die Musikanschauung des Mittelalters, 1905, p. 154). The Solomon’s temple of music was called the song of the planets, from Augustine onwards the song of angels; the intervals, which the Pythagoreans had equated with the distances between the planets, now corresponded to the ordines angelorum. Although even in Christianity the connection with the planets never broke: Ambrosius, who founded Christian church music, taught precisely the mysterious music of the universe as the prototype and model of earthly music; he said that King David had introduced the art of psalmody (the heavens sing the glory of the eternal God)* in imitation of the music of the planets. The Carolingian scholar of music Aurelian of Reome, one of the most influential renewers of Greek keys, certainly established a connection between the eight keys and the planetary movements; but at the same time his musical discipline taught: ‘In hoc (sc. cantandi officio) angelorum choros imitamus.’t Thus the framework of music became a cosmic as well as a holy one, with Cf. Gellert, Geistliche Oden und Lieder, 1757. f ‘In this (i.e. the discipline of singing) we imitate the choirs of the angels.’



gradations in which Ptolemy and mystical emanation met. Boethius had already taught the following order, going from above to below: musica mundana, the movement of the universe attuned according to proportion and number; musica humana, the ensemble playing of body and soul; musica instrumentalis as the lowest, audible emanation. The heavenly heptachord was assigned to the intervals and keys, the chorus of angels to early Christian antiphonal and responsorial music, but even the Novum: the polyphonic canon, did not grow up without the guiding image of the music of the spheres. From Arabian musical theory (Alfarabi) had come the simile of the blossoming tree, whose branches by virtue of their numbers are in beautiful proportion, whose blossoms are the various consonances, whose fruits the sweet harmonies (cf. Abert, l.c., p. 175). The simile of the worldtree is an age-old oriental one, probably far older than that of the planetary spheres, but it was now able to combine with the incipient Gothic latticework of music. When of all people the mensuralist Marchettus of Padua uses it around 1300, then not without connection to the art of singing several differently mensurated tones in descant against one, i.e the emerging art of counterpoint. If music thus itself becomes a richly subdivided structure and a many-branched tree, this polyphony and its entwinement does not depart from the astral order: choirs of angels are also in the polyrhythmic, polyphonic continuo. This in spite of the completely new musical form, even in spite of the scepticism towards the harmony of the spheres which begins towards the close of the Middle Ages. A deliberate imitation of musica mundana, as the best, is found in the motets of Philipp of Vitry, the contrapuntalist mentioned above. Although it appeared as Ars nova, i.e. as a bourgeois, free, imaginative art, its melodies proceed in strict uniformity and periodically, without change of rhythm, a conscious ‘imitation’ of the revolutions of the planets. This kind of thing was theoretically substantiated in the above-mentioned, contemporaneous, ‘Speculum musicae’ of Jacob of Liege, a complete summary of the graded world-picture in tones. The universality of music is defended and scholastically ordered; it now ranges from the ‘res transcendentales et divinae’, through stars, people, animals, plants, stones, down through the entire cathedral of the world. And when the hierarchical world-picture reflected in heaven was shattered, the harmonies of the spheres did not cease to resound in art. Not the ‘touches of sweet harmony’ which, as Lorenzo explains and shows to Shylock’s daughter,* are the stars; not * Cf. ‘The Merchant of Venice’, V, i.



these sublime sound-figures of memory: ‘The sun resounds with its old song/Competing with its brother spheres.’* And natural science, which removed such gods from the world, was in its early stages still deeply embedded in Pythagoreanism. Kepler himself, one of the shatterers of the old world-picture, clung to the music of the spheres, even described it according to the counterpoint of his age. In Kepler, the ‘lyra Apollinis vel Solis’ has become a Baroque orchestra, in full polyphony: ‘The planetary motions are therefore nothing but a continuing harmony... all in a six¬ voiced movement as it were’ (with the six planets as individual voices) ‘organizing and interrupting the infinity of time with these notes. And thus moreover it is not remarkable that man, the imitator of his creator, has arrived at the understanding of this polyphonic music which was sealed to the ancients, so that in the brief fraction of an hour he depicts the constant flow of world history with an elaborate polyphonic structure of sound and thus enjoys, in the sweetest feeling of bliss, something like the creative joy of God in his work, a feeling which music, imitating God, imparts to him’ (Harmonices mundi V, chap. 7). Finally, as might be expected, the Romantic philosophy of nature made a further contribution to the old magic of heaven, most audibly in Schelling: his ‘Philosophy of Art’ seeks ‘to fix the highest meaning of rhythm, harmony and melody’ astronomically once again. Here, rhythm and one-voice melody such as the classical world possessed are assigned to the world of the planets, whereas harmony and counterpoint, as supposedly intricate movement, are assigned to the - comets. But otherwise the entire astronomical theory of music is renewed again here, though of course it was already as alien to contem¬ porary music as it was cosmically constructed: ‘On the wings of harmony and of rhythm the heavenly bodies hover; what has been called centripetal and centrifugal force is nothing but - rhythm in the latter, harmony in the former. Borne up by the same wings, music hovers in space, in order to weave an audible universe from the transparent body of sound and tone’ (Werke V1, p. 503). Therefore, the history of the harmony of the spheres remains the history of the canonical structure of the world in music, and then of the Solomon’s temple in music, hence of the most highly intended formutopia. Of course this form-utopia is utopian only as one remote in space, its wishful dream is regarded as already existing in another place. Wishful time, and consequently real utopia, enters into these variations on the harmony of the spheres, into the supposed harmonic completeness of ‘Faust’, Prologue, 243-4.



creation, only in so far as its wishful space is not thought of as being filled with the music of angels per se but with the music of a future Jerusalem. This occurs in older accounts of - a happy death, where the departing soul, passing away in a state of grace, believes he can hear the joy to come singing from the Beyond. This lives on in the various references to - musical miracles until well into the Baroque, one which stands for many others being in the book ‘On the three seculis’, 1660, by the Joachite and Rosicrucian Sperber: ‘When in 1596 a chapel without a door was unexpectedly found in Jerusalem, a lovely harmony was heard within, like an angelic or heavenly musica. Thus there was no doubt that the new saeculum and the joyful time would then begin in a few years, when with eternal joy of heart we will hear the entire heavenly musicam of which the earthly is only the beginning.’ And in connection with this we recall, in a region which is certainly not heretical, the above-mentioned exclamation of Pius IV on hearing Palestrina’s Marcellus Mass: ‘Here a John in the earthly Jerusalem gives us a sensation of that song heard by John the apostle in the heavenly Jerusalem, prophetically enraptured.’ (cf. Vol. II, p. 833). An epigonic echo of this kind is to be found in Pfitzner’s ‘Palestrina’, at the end of the first act, where the creation of the Marcellus Mass is portrayed: one angel’s voice, then several, then dizzying depths of angelic choirs sing the movement to the ‘inspired’ composer. A truly still believed background of heavenly enthronement is intended in Bruckner’s majestic triads, a reverberation of cherub voices seems to be reflected in the octave leap, divided into fifths, which runs through his Te Deum. And now: the hypostatized mythic element in the astral as well as the Christian-astral wishful orientation is clear beyond all discussion, although even theoretically it still has not died out to this day. Nevertheless, the positive aspect in this incurable astral myth of music should not be denied, the positive element which denotes its breaking-down, humane-utopian breaking-open and this only. The positive element of a very greatly conceived form-correlate of true music should be correctly estimated, but with concrete-utopian re-functioning into macranthropos. There certainly are stars in music, but they are stars which have formed only as human names. There certainly are sublime orders in harmonic theory and counterpoint, but they are called Mozart or Bach or Beethoven, and their substance is the existere expressed through these categories, in the close medium of sound. There certainly is a transparent relation, if not of harmony then of rhythm and of counterpoint, but it does not operate from some detached structure of these forms itself, let alone from the so long believed-in music



of the universe, but from the great composers and their All, which has objectified itself in these forms. After such objectification has occurred, a counterpoint can certainly be applied, not to a kingdom of higher laws but to the sounding-utopian subject-object content as it is articulated by Mozart or Bach or Beethoven; - by virtue of this inward force a universe also sounds. And the supposed world-temple which resounds as music? It was useful because it prevented this seemingly so subject-bound art from becoming sounding privateness. Precisely this is the best for which the harmony of the spheres did serve and could serve: it wrested music from the mere inner light, especially from mere psychology. But if even architec¬ ture according to ‘cosmic proportions’ never let people forget that it was primarily and ultimately oriented to social needs and human proportions, then this was even more true of music which, like no other art, is related to the latent subject and to the object which entirely corresponds to it. The language sought and intended in music therefore lies much further beyond existing designations and even beyond the Becomenesses designated in them than any other art. It overhauls the settled known facts of the contents of feeling and every already clear, fixed Becomeness of scenery; it does so even where music, in the song, the oratorio and the opera, seems merely to provide an accompaniment to a text. Music reflects reality in the aura-appearances of its ‘naturing’ which have not yet been controlled or grasped in pictorial or even often in poetic terms. What skilled music thus conveys, in utterance as emotional as it is illuminating, is intensive root, signalled social tendency, or - in the varied pastorale - a newly de-reified world of nature overheard as a sound-figure. Thus music, even as the delight in laws of composition and precisely as such, talks the premonitory language of that which fills the human and the humanly related bosom of all existence, therefore belongs largely to the thrusting unrest and dawning possibility in realitate. Here music is undoubtedly just as much threatened by mere animal blood-warmth with regard to its intensiveness as by all too great openness, by a still general lack of clarity with regard to its gigantic horizons, but both precisely are the (provisional) dark side of its expressive virtue which ventures forward so deeply and so far. And above all: from the Gregorian chant onwards, music is applied to the tendency to moral order and to a harmony which sounds up - even without the myth of the spheres and the stars. Music therefore, historically and objectively, proves itself to be essentially Christian art, its harmony of the spheres breaks down and at the same time reveals itself: towards the wellspring sound of as yet unachieved self-shaping in the world.



Tone-painting, work of nature once again, the intensity and morality of music It is not self-evident that the tone should be able to indicate anything external and be related to it. For it dwells precisely where the eyes have no say any more, where a different round dance begins. Nonetheless, the sound does not only remain within, on the contrary its interior has a subterranean relation to that outwardness which is more than mere outwardness. This is true of all tone-painting, in so far as it is not confined to mere silly copying of a few existing noises or voices, such as trickling, thunder, the nightingale. Good music in its tone-painting always reproduces something other than surface, rather it draws out a sounding and showing which remains over beside the thing which has become. And this kind of tone-painting is as old as good music, nor is it an embarrassment in such music. Tone-painting also has the lowest forms, certainly, and the thinner the instrument and the more trivial the music and the more vulgar the listener, the more certain was its popularity. It is recounted of the Greek cithara virtuoso Timotheus that he reproduced the sounds of battles; for which, rightly, he was expelled even from Sparta. English spinet virtuosi of the sixteenth century were already copying the songs of birds, lightning and thunder, but of course also bright weather, which always required more than mere aping. But at a very early stage music other than virtuoso music entered into the tone side of the outside world, with a different wish from that for a little joke, for effects, for wax-figure. Jannequin, a pupil of Josquin, even made tone-painting (which even the powerful Josquin had not disdained) into a genre in its own right: he wrote hunt, bird and battle pieces with copy and counterpoint. In 1529 he wrote the once-famous ‘Cries of Paris’ in which the noises of the street and the cries of the street-vendors appear in music; in 1910 Eric Satie wrote an equally legitimate work entitled ‘People Dining on the Terrace of the Hall at the Spa’, in ‘Pacific 231’ Honegger used a locomotive as a musicae persona. And if a kind of exception still clings to such creations, even a mere enlivening of music by noises rather than by new tones, then this exception immediately becomes the rule when it appears throughout the work of the greatest composer. Bach not only practises tone-painting, he literally produces tone-graphics, i.e. he sets the sound-figure to that described in the text, to that which has become in the visible world, and he makes this Become speak again in sound, turns it into the uncongealed flow of



language of its content. Hence the musical images of striding, collapsing, descending, ascending and so on in the cantatas and Passions, a constant bringing before the ears of the scene, in fluxu nascendi of course. Cantata 39 can serve as an example for many, with its setting of the text: ‘Misfortune surrounds me on all sides with its heavy chains’; a helping hand, the light of consolation approach from nearness, from the distance. Bach’s music now uses three descriptive figures: there is not only the soaring figure of the rescuing, upward-helping hand, not only the flickering figure of a light typical in his work, but also being surrounded with a heavy chain is symbolized by a characteristic figure of movement of wrapping around. Such tone-graphics could easily seem comical in lesser music, in Bach it is part of the de-reifying tone-movement. Thus the sound-image was made audible, one which corresponds to the visible or congealed image as still flowing, still only forming. This did not break off in the new, even more mobile form, although this form appeared to withdraw somewhat from description. But it was as a game after Bachian seriousness that tone-painting continued, almost incessantly, in Haydn’s ‘Creation’. And now there follows from the notion of mood the new musical nature-style, from the characteristic genre-picture to the characteristic fresco. This style now causes entire coherent emotional processes to be musically related to its occasions and consequently also to its objects. The needle aria in ‘Figaro’ belongs here, as does, in highlyprovoked form, Beethoven’s burlesque: ‘Rage over a Lost Penny’ and even Rocco’s aria in ‘Fidelio’, in which even without words gold jingles in the orchestra and drives men about. Here above all, with an utterly manly style, belongs the ‘Awakening of Cheerful Feelings on Arriving in the Country’, as this holiday-country itself; his ‘Scene by the Stream’ belongs here, and especially the description of the storm in the same Pastoral Symphony, heard by the elective affinity of its own nature. The sulphuryellow signal tone in the sultriness, which warns and interrupts the dance of the country people, the double crashing of the lightning (not of the thunder), these are electricity such as only music, the art which is itself agent-like, can sound out, meet with artistically, beneath the appearance. A world of sound awoken thus has never been attained since; beside un¬ important detail and instead of it, charming and violent nature is reproduced in it from the fluidity of its sound. But thereby at the same time, several layers deeper (even in the chthonic sense), the cue was given for the Romantic tone-painting which now began. For the sometimes dubious, sometimes powerfully befogging, upward-dawning invocation by dark



registers, by night-sides of nature. After which via the Wolf’s Glen* music this ghostliness and magic culminated in Wagner, now hardly in curves of movement at all but in ferment, thunder, phosphorus, glow and urge. Hence the no longer graphic but birth-giving or adjacently floating foggy and spring music, the heavily rumbling storm at the beginning of the ‘Valkyrie’, the rough-decorative ride of the Valkyries, the fire-magic. But hence also the primal beginning like the E flat major triad of the streaming depths of the Rhine from which the music of the Nibelungen rises, or the glittering-murmuring, confused-jagged music of the Erda scene, which is one of the most powerful audibilities of the subterranean. All these are vaguely illuminated places, imitations of nature from something surging and towards something dreamt-of and mythical: despite the ‘naturalism’ with which Hans Sachs taps on Beckmesser’s shoes and Alberich’s dwarves on their anvils. In Wagner, tone-painting remains essentially chthonic, the light in which it takes place is the glow of fire from the depths and this remains more powerful even when it overflows into the popular jubila¬ tion of spring or into the spring light of the meadows. In contrast again to late-Romantic nature-tones or tone-natures, which are located far more on the surface or in the light. As in Strauss, the master of the surface, for example in the strange sounds of his ‘Don Quixote’, which represent the bleating of the flock of sheep. As in Mahler, the master of cosmic Christmas, even in spring, when he allows the voices of nature to break in, always with a ray of hope or the light of a saviour. Uniquely nonWagnerian, despite all the Romantic affinities, are the high Alps here in the first movement of Mahler’s Sixth Symphony, which is otherwise so highly tragic: over an underlying bass keyless chords, third inversions of the seventh chord which alternate with triads, interspersed with cow-bells, flutes, drums; a tone-image of the solitude of nature high above. Wagner’s relation to nature is nowhere attuned to these Aeolian harps, but neither to a signal of liberation which breaks the spell of nature. For almost all the characters in Wagner belong after all to the volcanic world of the drives, to the Schopenhauerian will, they act and they speak from this dream of nature. Not only the magnetic Senta and Elsa, also the rutting poetry of most of the Ring characters, even Eva and Walter belong to the glow-worm which finds or does not find its female (in the words of Sachs himself); at this price the - converse of music of the spheres was achieved here, namely music from the belly of nature. Men here are of * The Wolf’s Glen: a scene from Carl Maria von Weber’s opera ‘Der Freischiitz’.



the same lineage as unilluminated nature, which acts and sounds through them, sounds in unheard-of surging or undulating flames. Thus in harmony with the painting of the elements through music, Wagner’s musical characters all too often become ‘dancing ships, unresistingly taking part in the suffering, the struggle, the love, the yearning for redemption of their sub-human sea and over which, at every decisive moment, instead of encounter with one another and instead of the depth of their own fate only the world-surge of the Schopenhauerian will passes’ (Geist der Utopie, 1923, p. no). At this price, then, there occurred in Romantic music the lastingly curious phenomenon of an imitation of nature as excavation of nature, namely as tone-painting only of its night-side. Bach had made the soundfigure of visible or congealed nature audible, in fluxu nascendi, as noted; Romanticism painted natura naturans not as diagram, but as phosphorus. At any rate the sub-real as pre-real was also in Bach; it is well described in Goethe’s famous words on Bach: ‘I expressed it to myself as if eternal harmony were conversing with itself, as may have happened in God’s bosom shortly before the creation of the world. So it also moved within me, and it seemed as if I neither had nor needed ears, least of all eyes or any other senses.’ But precisely this latter regressio or excavation is far from being chthonic; its ear is not Schopenhauer (by whom significantly Bach is not mentioned at all) but rather Hegel (who significantly praises in Bach pre¬ cisely his ‘robust genius’). The excavation of nature in Romantic music, in Wagner oriented even theoretically towards Schopenhauer and his ground of will, operates quite differently. What is painted and reproduced here is the wild marrow of things pure and simple, and what drives up from this is then, however, only the inhuman world again, the Norn world, the fate world, from which this music knows no way out. When Siegfried, himself a child of nature, breaks the spell, even here he is only accomplishing a pre-determined fate. If Parsifal stands out against the rest, then it is again and again the general world-will which is changing; with that voluptuous sound of harps and bells, with the sweet theatre of bliss which, even beyond kitsch, still belongs entirely to the world-libido. Natura naturans in Romantic music thus becomes natura naturata once again, endowed with the better splendour which heardness gives, with the archaizing utopia which is characteristic of regressio in the dreamt-of myth. This rebirth of existing world also occurred in accordance with Schopenhauer’s philo¬ sophy of music, or more precisely with the world-correlate with which he provided music. Music here admittedly grasps the root which is sprouting in dark seclusion, but it ends in the portrayal of the unilluminated world-tree,



it is finally oriented to the mere ‘objectivations of the will’. Even the orchestra here, in strikingly cosmomorphic fashion, is related to realms of nature, with a stony ground bass below, voices of wind instruments in the organic middle, and above this the melodic treble. Although Schopenhauer’s analogy is based essentially only on the opera style in the Italian taste, it does teach over and above this: precisely the all too nocturnal rooting in will of music, such as Schopenhauer carried out, remained in natura naturata. It is always only the existing world of the will which appears here, not a new birth, except through the immateriality of the sounding. For Schopenhauer not even Beethoven’s symphonies break out of the old will and the known coastal trip, despite all division: ‘It is rerum concordia discors, a true and complete depiction of the world, which rolls onward in the confused tangle of countless forms and by constant destruc¬ tion preserves itself’ (Werke II, p. 528). However, it was not to be prevented that the welling desire or stressed fermentation of Romantic music, although it seldom left behind nature myth or myth nature, did after all come to a differently bubbling world - in the midst of the sounding archaism of its nature. Natura naturans or the subject of nature, when it is intended in music, always makes the tone-painting derived from it trans¬ parent. Not in the sense of a way out or of freedom, this is nowhere found in Wagner, not even in his Christian-theatrical parts, perhaps least of all here, but rather in the sense of a constant boiling-over into the archaicutopian, into unbecome meanings of mythical-encapsulated nature. Though the authentic, namely the human will is completely missing in this work of nature, if we discount Sachs and the rebellious dying Siegmund. ‘Drowning, sinking oblivious down, highest bliss is found’, this underworld-relation is, despite all the utopia encapsulated in it, the counter-move to Beethoven or to the manly world of will. But where music is related to man as the core of nature it also inevitably becomes relation to a cracked, cracked-open nature, a nature illuminable into regnum hominis. And it is fitting that Wagner, because of his nearness to wellspring-sound, has this not only in drowning form but in important places also as a kind of super-naturing nearness in the midst of nature itself. That is, as the transparency of a characteristic rever¬ beration which is only found here, thrown far into the horizon and beyond it, a reverberating pastorale which has in it not so much Schopenhauer will as that which circles to a homeland. As in Briinhilde’s finale, with the Far-Beyond of its hugely sweeping, returning arcs at the end. But even this nature in Wagner still remains indefinitely captivating unless one hears in its echoing a reverberation, something Beethovenian, true



to man, for which a sounding wellspring-space, in huge format, cracks open. Instead of deadening effect ethical effect, then appears, and depiction through music, instead of the powerful tone-painting of a primevallynocturnal dream of nature morality of music appears. The man among men also wanted to be painted, and how could this be done in a closer, better, more bettered way than in music? Thus the sound returns again from its expeditions, puts its own house in order and warms the house. Tone-painting and what is more deeply connected with it has its counterpart in the self-portrait through music, in an exemplary cooperation. Such a moral effect of music has been hoped for since the earliest times, just as if wild animals were to be tamed or the dull to be enlivened even in man. Such hope ranges from Orpheus to the Magic Flute; the ladies of the Queen of the Night sing of it: ‘With this you can almighty things perform,/The passions of all men transform.’ This hope ranges, less magically, from Plato throughout the entire Middle Ages and kept the ancient, controversial classification of the beautiful with the good with significantly greater style than was possible in literature, especially in the musty creations of moralistic literature. Essentially the art of an age always looked better than its mere sermonizing, and if it lent itself to sermonizing all that emerged was Gottsched or a cast-iron broom. But art did not look better than the respective unphilistine energy of humanity, and if it lent itself to this, then Schiller emerged and Beethoven, the morality of music par excellence. Indeed even mere sermonizing was forced on to a higher plane by the capacity of music to be morality. There is a difference between the philistine demand for fig-leaves and the Platonic struggle of the Church Fathers against sensuous music, the struggle of Pope Marcellus against over-ornate music. Plato was the first who seriously began to take music seriously, in accordance with his scarcely liberal state utopia; for he regards the enervating effect of music as a stumbling block, not a foolishness (‘Republic’, Bk. III). The plaintive and soft tones are eliminated, ‘the tones of the powerful and the right-minded, who can best imitate the voices of the unhappy and the happy, of the circumspect and the brave’ are praised. All this is based on a respect which at least corresponds more closely to the object of music than does the harmony of the spheres; or rather which makes right its human part, the harmony between body and soul. From the perspective of this wishful image, Plato says that ‘musical education is of the highest importance, because rhythm and harmony descend right into the depths of the soul, grasp it with all their power, they already bring beautiful form with them and impart beauty to the



soul, if it has received the right education’. The Church Fathers adopted this strict ethos of music, now re-oriented from the goal-image of a disci¬ plined polis into that of a salvation-bringing civitas Dei. Here music was always regarded as dangerous and hence requiring supervision; there are ‘songs of the devil’ (they are described as if they were a Tannhauser bacchanale), there is ‘true music’, namely healing, purifying, praeludium vitae aeternae, as Augustine extols it. The image of David, who cured Saul of madness by his playing of the lyre, runs through the entire patristic and medieval ethics of music; ‘true music’ supposedly organizes the rapport with the salvation of the world in Christlike reproduction and imitation. Pseudo-Justinus lays down the following guidelines for moral, psalmodic music: ‘Music awakens fervent longings, connected with pleasant sensations, soothes evil emotions aroused by the flesh, banishes bad thoughts inspired by invisible enemies, irrigates the soul so that the divine goods bear rich fruit, makes the pioneers of piety fit to hold out in dangers, and for the holy becomes a cure for the distress of earthly life. ’ The supreme purpose of the singing of the psalms became the compunctio cordis, the repentant remorse of the sinner, but also conformity with the music of angels; thus ‘true music’ seemed to implant the greatly longed-for in the turbulent soul. Likewise the tone-relation, with ethical change and effect, guides entirely towards human grounds, the self-portrait is put forward as one which pulls upward into the realm of essential being, as one which draws out our essence. And no great composer proved himself closer to this than Beethoven, his music is pervaded by moral passion, by that will which is a will to Becoming Bright, not to mindless life. Hence Beethoven’s confessions: ‘Few people realize what a throne of passion every single movement in music is, and few know that passion itself is the throne of music’; or: ‘Few attain this, for just as thousands marry for the sake of love and love in these thousands does not even reveal itself, so thousands have dealings with music and yet do not have its revelation; as with every art, high signs of morality underlie music, too, all genuine invention is a moral advance.’ And thus this art which is closest to men, beside the chaotic, the darkly burrowing element in which its form of inwardness is certainly not lacking, and which houses itself in myth-nature, definitely shows the human face which rises up above the spell; music shows it precisely also in the great moments of the Romantic-spellbound relation to nature, and despite itself. The world-root which sprouts on in music is ultimately the human root of a world-being adequate to it, a human root which is certainly utopian-tending, not archaic-fixed. And the creative



darkness in which it is still shrouded is not the gloom of the Schopenhauerian will, but the incognito of the Now which drives through everything, is hidden in the world itself. Music in its unsurpassable nearness to existence is the most closely related and most public voice of this incognito, that of the welling existere which in concentric preludes seeks to be clarified here. And the world or outwardness to which the moralitas musicae has its subterranean relation, the relation of a constant under-stream or of a tone-flow of the ante rem: this world is not that which has already become but that which circulates within it, which, as the regnum hominis, is imminent only in future, anxiety, hope. The relation to this world makes music, particularly in social terms, seismographic, it reflects cracks under the social surface, expresses wishes for change, bids us to hope. The music of angels certainly does not rise up here, not even compunctio cordis, as the Church Fathers hoped in their great time of change, but always a self-encounter with disorder under the surface or with diagrams of a different order in which consciousness is no longer burdened with any object as with something alien. This is the position of music in the world and the position of the world in music, even during the relation of music to nature. There is no water- and fire-music, no music of the Romantic wilderness which does not necessarily contain in it, through the tone-material itself, the fifth element: man. Music posits nature with the elusive, sought-for, home¬ like Syrinx in it, with the lamp of Hero over the waters of the Hellespont; indeed even the brightest music of the morning sets its nature against evening, when the world goes out and music itself passes over as if into the pre-appearance of its future homeliness. Where the wellspring character of the subject-ground and of the searching world-ground work together, in a pre-appearance which, unlike that of the other arts, constantly has apocalyptic momentum in it. Painting, even literature, with their appearance-sated language which is already or still to a large extent localized, can avoid this momentum; music, with its open flow, full of the beginnings of something still indesignable, necessarily posits something extraterritorial at the same time. No relation to nature is a match for this, unless one with the realism of humane ciphers and real symbols in nature; at the limits of visible knownness. Thus it is only towards these that the counterpoint named after and containing Mozart, Bach, Beethoven moves. And only in a layer where material existing nowhere else, and most certainly fully formed nowhere else, passes over into another cosmos, are the categories of Mozart, Bach, Beethoven at home. These are the figures of venturing beyond the limits in tone-spheres: they are articulations of human existing in a



developing language of intensity which, in a world which has come to itself, seeks to gain its entire essence by hearing its way keenly and expanding. In this way therefore music contains the morality and universality of a central point, a pervading and pervaded intensive central point. Melody works this out lyrically, fugue epically, sonata dialectically and dramatically, but the experiment of the Hearing-in-Existence of itself and of the world remains common to all forms of music, especially the severe forms. A still fermenting utopian figuring-out in fonte hominum et rerum is depicted, in a space of intensity which is open only to music in this way.

The hollow space; subject of the sonata and fugue The tone started out as a roaming and exciting one, but does it want to remain this in the long run? Certainly it wants to and it will, only the question is whether it will do so on the old path, which has become both easy and difficult. Does the chordal tension and relaxation which for so long has seemed inscribed in the tone wish to remain? In the familiar fashion, dissonant-consonant, from the dominant via the subdominant back to the tonic. But precisely this fashion has expired, as is well-known, it ran out of social and consequently out of technical breath. The competitive, conflict-laden society which expressed itself in classical-Romantic tonality has expired. It was replaced, ahead at the Front, first by so-called atonal music, with the keynote removed. Then, with newly elaborated soundmaterial, came music which no longer produced cadence, Schonberg’s twelve-tone technique. Twelve-tone technique has no relation to the keynote either, and consequently it does not have the harmonic tension-relaxation which results from this and which was essential in the sonata. Dissonance and consonance have become meaningless, the dynamic relation between modulation and cadence has given way to a more gliding, muted and strict sequence-connection. The tempered scale remains, in principle all twelve tones in the traditional octave space are drawn on (therefore no quavers or crotchets), but with the consciousness of key eliminated. Thus a limited, well-ordered diversity of basic sequences is produced; and in each case one of these takes musical precedence, with continued, uninterrupted, always repeated sequence. Monotony as a result of this repetition is not ultimately inevitable for the simple reason that all twelve tones of the scale are available for transposition. Nor is it by any means only the monotony about which the unprepared listener complains, on the contrary, he reacts with a shock.



Monotony would be more likely to induce sleep, and even the famous expressionlessness which has been talked into new music by the abovementioned New Objectivity would not produce a shock. This shock is more of a response to the absolutely abandoned than to the approach of an uncomprehended future, not explorable by any habit. Schonberg’s ‘Theory of Harmony’ from the period before twelve-tone technique already reflected this as follows: ‘Melody closes with New, Infinite or Unfulfilled’, harmony ceases to communicate land of departure, but also the goal of the journey. Even the achieved twelve-tone technique, by acknow¬ ledging the equality of all tones and making every chord possible, no longer knows a tonal point of reference and therefore knows no tonic homeland in which, as in the sonata, cadence and theme have already been located. No theme, as the background of a recognizability, can be placed at the beginning, as in the sonata and especially in the fugue: music becomes a kind of existence which forms itself only as it happens: ‘Hence’, Kfenek rightly observes (Uber neue Musik, 1937, p. 89), ‘hence the design of the new music has something fragmentary about it, with all the consequences of sadness and unsatisfiedness of the impression which the fragmentary leaves behind.’ But hence also the hard existence of an Infinite in this Unfulfilled; twelve-tone music, in its most authentic technical nature, represents both. Schonberg’s music thus definitely remains expression, in particular it remains the expression of the subject-state of this transitional age, a state which is unclear but is not denied or repressed. If the atonal era has not removed this espressivo (an example of this is Schonberg’s monodrama ‘Expectation’), then neither has twelve-tone technique, however rational its principles of construction. It too is ‘weather music’, not ‘machine music’ such as that which, along with rigid neo-classicism, is intended by Stravinsky. Schonberg’s art is emphatically not the familiar machinism of this age, masked with equally familiar neo-classicism; on the contrary, it reflects the hollow space of this age and the atmosphere brewing in it, noiseless dynamite, long anticipations, suspended arrival. Schonberg’s music is thus certainly not uplifting, indeed it has been criticized for lacking the capacity to express the sublime as well as for its obvious incapacity to express the officially approved, run-of-the-mill stuff of aesthetic enjoyment. It has even been said that the only keynote which remains in this music is that of despair, indeed of that merely temporary and ephemeral despair which reflects the hopelessness of the bourgeoisie and ultimately its interest in sapping all will for change among its victims. But all this is itself incurable exaggeration; the only truth in it is that



this music, which by its boldness and Ratio alone differs from total nihilism, is full of the scars of a hard, far from paradisial period of transition, but is equally full of the undefined or still undefined spark-figure of its face. If this face had come out socially, then Schonberg’s art would also immediately be more intoxicated with beauty and simpler; however, for this, music must form an alliance with moralities which are muscular in a very different way. Rebus sic fluentibus there is in this work a completely honest and productive, a time-legitimate light, the only light through which the germinatingly substantial element in new music can thrive at all; in the hollow space with sparks. The new music, even before it was conscious of itself, shows mastery in the expanse of motif-based relations, in the unhoused power of roving chords; its expressive character was one of complete openness. Already in Schonberg’s first string quartet and in his first chamber symphony the music develops in such a way that it detaches itself from its point of departure. Motif-based relations become the vehicles of the context, the theme material arises freely from the germ cell of a single idea. In the three piano pieces, especially in the third, even the motifbased connection ceases, no theme is repeated, new themes are constantly coming in. In the monodrama ‘Expectation’, thematics is altogether aban¬ doned, here begins the fundamentally athematic style which Alois Haba and his school have since developed further on the basis of a retention of atonality. But the twelve-tone technique, even with sequential structures as in the second chamber symphony and its unhappy mysticism, does not lose complete openness forwards; the retrogression of sequences is quite different from thematic recapitulation. Sonata form with this recapitulation is sealed off to twelve-tone technique, and the attempt from the wind quintet onwards (which also appeared as a veritable sonata for violin and piano) to renew the sonata form remains superficial compared with Schonberg’s orchestral variations. Of the old forms only variation and suite correspond to the straight line, without circle, towards the New, Infinite, Unfulfilled. And it is only from here, from the fragmentary-infinite that the opposite of the shock now also occurs: namely a reunion with the new-born Old, newly-heard and used into openness. Here there is no variation technique and not only the deliberate radical release of a purely contrapuntal polyphony, but music, which is only forming, from its expressive content even has a form-relation to the last classical-Romantic artistic aspiration and the law according to which it did not begin, but ends. In so far as this artistic aspiration, that of the sonata, as one of set thematic exposition and of its confirming recapitulation, is the most alien



to the sequential form, but as a final aspiration flows just as increasingly out into openness. The Beethovenian theme, in contrast to that of Mozart, or in particular to the theme of fugue, is, from the Eroica onwards, itself not developed; instead it experiences itself only in the development and only in this does it fully dialecticize itself. Mahler, as the last, often already transparent composer of the old tonality, did not compose anything at all with a development of a theme from a set beginning. Precisely for this reason his espressivo is not one from something but one towards something, the familiarity of the expression of tension and of feeling disappears, recapitulation and the usually very broad coda (Seventh Symphony) live on a new field, on remote fields. Long, suggestive introductory movements often precede the theme-group, ‘from airy tones there streams a knownot-how’,* the development section is rich in evasions, motif-based new formations (the first movement of the third, the last movement of the seventh symphony), the coda is Christmas, but also Advent. A selfapproaching is thus there, it is Mahler’s music itself, mingled with the calls of the watch, roll-calls, corteges, signals, with a kind of melismatic dispatch from a distant headquarters. Its last word, the ‘Song of the Earth’, moves with an unresolved suspension into an immense Eternal, eternal; despite the retained and finally omitted keynote. The new music no longer contains the dynamism of the Romantic, it appears so to speak as the paradox of a highly extroverted adagio, but it intends just as much Unattained as the dynamic, if not more. And now that which was handed down historically as the old tone also sounds up in a new way. Precisely because no work can be done with it except by insignificant imitators, it becomes lovelier from day to day. Here is a tremendous inheritance, one that, because it attains after-ripening, does not take a rest and become dulled. The wandering and the weather¬ like element do not expire, struggle and discord certainly do not expire, even when they are no longer carried out entrepreneurially. When they are no longer called free competition but on the contrary revolutionary work, which tackles this discord. Thus the tone-form of essence which is rich in conflict, the sonata, is also heard anew: not heated up for enjoyment, but explosive. Crucially its style, its bourgeois-revolutionary style, was already indicated, even revealed, by an absolutely changed form of the recital, of the orchestral style. When Stamitz, in around 1750, taught his Mannheim orchestra to perform Brightening, Shifting, Darkening, ‘Faust’, II, 6445. See also Vol. Ill, p. 1057.



together with the art of the diminuendo and crescendo, the path to the sonata style became free. Instead of terraced dynamism, which was based on the sequence of a contrasting but in itself immobile forte and piano, came curved dynamism, and with it the atmospheric essence. But then, very much later, in Beethoven, the objective principle of construction of the sonata, the double thematics and its conflict, was brought to maturity, one can also say to consciousness. Thus the sonata ab ovo already detached itself from its forebears, the orchestral suite and the Bachian concerto, especially from its opposite: the fugue, by virtue of its weather-like quality, by its performance in dynamic curves. The weather-light by itself alone would of course have become chaotic or, as the language of Sturm und Drang is missing in the music contemporaneous with it, with the exception of an astonishingly early musical prefiguring in Stamitz, it would have become merely the medium of musically-composed hysteria. On the other hand, the incipient social antagonism was sublimated to the conflict of the two souls in one breast, a conflict which was certainly contemporaneous with music, and: it became dialectical in the sonata. As we know, in the latter the main theme in the fundamental key is followed by a softer, melodious, contrasting secondary theme (in dull symphonic composers like Schumann this is often merely a kind of oil-stain). The development is the product of a thematic discord, of aberrations, of highly-charged excesses; the recapitulation, with the principal key now restored, leads back to the first theme as to a victory. In the Eroica ‘the two principles’ of the thematics are thoroughly set to work, the antagonism supplied by society is here at the same time one of the very blasting away of the barriers which first led to the conflict, or of the French Revolution. The Eroica thus for the same reason became the first conscious and the most perfect sonatasymphony. Its first movement in particular is the Lucifer world of the Beethovenian sonata, and hence not the will of the entrepreneur, which sets free its subject at variance with others, but the highest overshooting beyond this, and from a much older layer: the Promethean will. The after¬ ripening of Beethoven, which more than with any other composer enables us to apperceive explosion, music of revolution, has its ground in this legitimate titanism. It was only later that the subject of the sonata could pass over into an elan which had become clever and ambiguous, like that of Siegfried in the ‘Ring of the Nibelungen’; until in Strauss’ ‘Don Juan’ and especially in ‘Ein Heldenleben’ only the zest of the entrepreneur came to light and disposed of all Promethean overshooting. But the genuine subject of the sonata: in musical-technical terms this means the power factor



of developing and shaping all the possibilities thematically implied in it. Subject of the sonata: in terms of musical content this means the category of Beethoven as the venturing beyond which expresses itself particularly precisely and canonically in this power factor. In the medium of sound it is of the lineage of Faust, a hugely charged, hugely forward-pressing essence, and as it were not in civilian clothes like Faust but completely rhythmized throughout and strategic. This also gives the sonata form that forward-pressing quality with which it not only, as goes without saying, surpasses post-Romantic music, this unpolar formation of sequences and parallel translation, but also that great work in the monothematic style, the fugue. For the sonata, apart from the variously competing heated elan in it, was full of revolutionary tension, set by the contrasting double themes and the antithesis of their harmonic zones; this kind of tension, however, as noted, no longer exists in the new music. It is therefore imperatively necessary for music in this age of struggle to achieve a new kind of tension, and as the external adoption of the sonata form is not sufficient, other means must be found. Precisely in order to hold its own against the revolu¬ tionary elan of the genuine sonata, though at the expense of such refined values as elegance or faultless compactness. Atonal music sought to preserve tension in the form of sheer catastrophes; more legitimately the necessary force of tendency is available through an element which certainly did not disappear with the decline of the old tonality: through rhythm. This is not disturbed when composition is ametrical (with the bar line erased), it works in polyrhythmics as adopted from primitive music, independently of abandoned harmonic polyrhythmics and outside it. There is even a characteristic, very deep-seated, still scarcely discovered rhythmic tonic relation; if it were discovered, not only would the huge, tense expeditionary essence of the sonata be attained again, but also its other, definitely non-fragmentary essence: that which is designated by the victory of the theme. The new music no longer has a recapitulation, with a principal key restored, in which victory can be recognized, its greatness and its future lies in the fact that it no longer has a theme which is placed at the beginning and as it were decided, but is music which is only forming itself, which takes seriously the New and the Infinite of the end. But the recapitulation in the sonata signified not only return but also arrival, i.e. precisely that element without which the revolutionary tension would remain meaningless. In the recapitulation was the high time of the sonata; particularly only rhythmic tonic relation can help to gain this without the memory aid of the recapitula¬ tion. But the sonata remains for tension as well as relaxation - on a new level -



the model: thus it circulates not only in the after-ripening of listening but also in the continuing production as living inheritance. And the other model, now with respect to being-here, to granting of music, is and remains the linear polyphony of the old counterpoint before the sonata style, especially therefore the fugue. As we know, this is monodic, a single theme, Dux with Comes, a roaming of one theme through the voices in which it undividedly and without struggle reveals itself. Even in double and triple fugues, with two and three themes, these themes are never set antithetically, and the dynamic exposition remains seamless, without impatience. Cer¬ tainly, the lower tension and the more intense composure reflect an order of society divided into estates which as such is past and far from canonical. Certainly therefore the fugue form, by overcoming dynamism without having known it, ranks lower than the sonata as reality; and the sonata, with its erupted dialectic, surpasses it, as noted. But it is equally striking that the fugue, precisely within the sonata form, was able to break away from its old ground and that it then contains no pacified continuo whatever. The fugato, which only approximates to the fugue form, produces or can produce a restless rigid effect, most uncannily in the fugued chorale of the armoured men in ‘The Magic Flute’. A new expression is formed here, it continues in the fugato of the funeral march in the Eroica, which would scarcely have been written without Mozart’s example and, now absolutely a dynamic cortege, is not quietas in fuga. It is even more curious that the fugue form proper, when used in a symphonic context, also develops a powerful element of impatience, namely feud, as in the fighting fugue in the ‘Meistersinger’ and the veritable bickering fugue in Strauss’ ‘Sinfonia domestica’; both fugues, moreover, are especially learned and complicated. Or within new music itself: Berg’s ‘Wozzeck’, this extremely atmosphericdramatic work, has inventions and passacaglias built into it, and precisely the singing voice which is heightened to the highest dramatic expression is dynamically involved, without any stylistic incongruity at all, in the exposition of a double fugue. The fact that this is possible indicates how much the after-ripening of the fugue form brings out an element in the fugue which is not confined to composed, revealed structure, with Dux and nothing but Comes in the voices. And the old fugue itself, the art of the fugue masters, not of the fugue schoolmasters, the organ fugue of Bach, filled with sursum corda? Its final expression, as stated above (Vol. Ill, p. 1069), is still unconquered, and if it contains composure, then it is the paradox of a heaven-storming composure, one without drama but with the building of a tower. Therefore even if the fugue has no impatience



in its monodically appointed continuo, it does have a goal, indeed it is a goal, more precisely it is its corrective ante rem. The inheritance of the sonata style will never disappear again, will be entered into in new form, without any Romantic debts whatever in this inheritance, but the granting or being-here of music, as represented by architectonic counterpoint, remains and has primacy. Remains a corrective-primacy of space over time, of the kingdom-like over the situational, here too. Remains a primacy of that distant being-simultaneous which within music and in harmonic-linear terms is epitomized in Palestrina, as a corrective of seraphic balance. For even in art the order of freedom ranks higher than the freedom which has not yet created this space for itself, beyond change. Change, the atmospheric as a whole, belong to time, not to being-achieved: only discord is real in time, in musical time as in historical time, but only the kingdom-like aspect of revealed monody is real as result. In future music everything depends on the ability to allow the theme of this monody to form in orbitings. This however is, in ever new experiments and fragments, the main theme which now finally speaks: the core of human intensity. It is the subject of the fugue striving to become situationless, indicated by the category of Bach and its afterripening, as the building of a tower into the order of kingdom. The two traditional musical forms of sonata and fugue therefore point towards struggle against fate and towards ultimately intended situationlessness, and therefore towards fatelessness. Indeed even in the struggle of the sonata at least the quiet movement rests, the andante and adagio rest from conflict. They already show the slowly flying arrow of beauty and, as in Schubert, musical substance which simply cannot cease to remain and to give. Indeed they contain in their most powerful appear¬ ances something which is still sealed to the main movement of the sonata and also to the fugue: sojourn in the Unheard. The adagio of the Hammerklaviersonata, that of recuperation in the A minor quartet, the adagio with varia¬ tions in the Ninth Symphony: this is a hearkening of the subject in a place which neither the triumph-recapitulation of the theme nor even any finale achieved until now can reach. The great adagio is thus the true finale of the symphony, is a farewell celebration which leads towards music, not away from it. The adagio does not boom towards a prearranged final point, on the contrary: it draws the aerial perspective of the finale, even before it comes, together into the best, into a kind of highest good in music. It is legitimate for great adagio movements to cross the region of a figured chorale or to contain it within themselves behind their slight, non-violent caesuras; as regards spirit the adagio in the symphony is the chorale of its intensity. The slow



miracles of music with regard to their object are also the deepest; they roam and aim beyond time, therefore also beyond passing away. And it becomes clear in the true - finale, yet again: music excavates its treasure on that gold ground of a most distantly-immediate mindfulness which strikes into the most closely Intensive and to which literature and painting are only applied: the treasure of intensive essence.

Funeral march, requiem, cortege behind death Here the tone itself kindles the light which it needs. It does not need an outer light, it can stand the darkness, indeed it seeks its silence. Silently, in the night, treasures are raised, music does not disturb this silence, it is well-versed in the vault, as the light in the vault. Hence its nearness not only to the happiness of the blind but to death, or rather: to the depths of the wishes which attempt to cast light on death. If death, conceived as the axe of nothingness, is the harshest non-utopia, then music measures itself against it as the most utopian of all arts. It measures itself against it in a way which is all the more awed because the un-land of death is filled with that night which, as birth-giving night, seems so deeply familiar to music within this world. However decidedly the night of death may be different from all others, music, rightly or wrongly, feels itself to be the Greek fire which still burns even in the Styx. And if Orpheus plucks the harp against death, and does so victoriously, he plucks it so victoriously only in death, namely in Hades. It may be a legend that the dying, in their sinking state, hear music. Or perhaps more a figurative expression, like the opposite, significantly more matter-of-fact one according to which a person in pain hears the angels whistling in heaven. An expression which, like so much in the world, slaps the harmony of the spheres right in the face, just as conversely the legendary Aeolian harp heard by the dying often takes this old myth too conventionally again. But if it still remains to be seen whether the dying hear music, the living, with great elective affinity, certainly do hear dying in music; death-space borders mediatedly on music. It borders on its frequent introvertedness, it borders above all on its clouded material, on its constant tendency to designate a universe without exter¬ nality in the invisible in which it begins and towards which it continues to aim. This kind of thing may be merely sentimental and is then in itself alone little more than negation or general Outwards or Upwards which surges uncontrolled, if not itself destined for death. But unsentimentally,



with position, music really does go to face death, intends - in accordance with the content of the biblical saying - to have swallowed it in victory. * The love-song, which first expressed longing for union despite all obstacles or gave consolation in hope, hope in consolation, goes as productive death-music into the future night, lights the lamps of something nevertheless not prevented. Rain, storm, clouds, lightning, even collapse become for this homeland a mysterious path or a mysterious concordant environment. How much deep music has its darkness, indeed its light from this ingredient, the night of death, and from its black there burns a brightness different from that which other¬ wise already exists. That which withholds itself from almost every attempt to picture it is so far from withholding itself from music that a reticent cortege, the most serious mode of the slow tempo, is placed even before the Sostenuto assai of its highest happiness. And now the many unreticent modes of lament, of the obsession with death with the conquest of death within it, of the funeral march, of the turning magic of fear, of the suddenly changing dialectic of terror in the requiem. ‘Strike, o longed-for hour, longed-for hour, strike’: in this Bach cantata man, with homesickness, goes through the final fear. Beethoven’s funeral march in the Eroica dares something absolutely over¬ hauling, and it returns to some extent in the funeral march of the Gotterdammerung; Beethoven dares Heraclitus’ wishful dream paradox that the path up and the path down are one and the same. The dully closed C minor of the beginning, the C major of the central movement, with its bright oboe theme, the dance of the triplets, the decision to return to the funeral theme, the timid, oscillating, unrepeated happiness-melisma of the violin shortly before the end: this exposedness and this azure behave as two appearances of the same content. And not for example as if the dark appearance were cancelled out by the bright one, i.e. cheaply apotheosized by an otherworldly transfiguration. For the bright appearance withdraws again after the great forte to a single violin part sounding in the pianissimo, into the darkness of the funeral march as one which is collapsing. The succession is in fact meander¬ ing or a continuation of the same in death as horror and as friend. The Baroque sequence: lamento e trionfo is cancelled out in the funeral march which the Eroica sets as its adagio. Both are present, both, the usual element of the lamento and the truly external element of a trionfo, kept strictly apart from each other, have become invalid in the light of death and the unprearranged remoteness on which it shines (allegretto of the Seventh Symphony). The inter¬ weaving of the concept of depth also proves effective in the grave t of music, * Cf. Isaiah 25, 8. t Bloch is using the word here in the musical, Italian sense.



precisely in this: as De Profundis and as that depth as which ether was conceived, as depth of the heights. Dying has itself developed dark-bright images, which set a puzzle for the tone. They are not sealed in themselves and thisworldly like the death of a hero and the funeral march or even the nenia* which accompanies it. Rather the Church presented elaborated images of death, and it is against these, as images which have become cryptic, apocalyptic, that the requiem measures itself. The Church text presents contrasts before which the meandering element of a death-foe, death-friend relationship is dispersed. Whereby the music of the requiem does, however, appear to preserve a religious conviction which no longer exists in this form and which in any event has nothing in common with the bemused profundity of the above-mentioned meandering. In fact: most people have no longer believed the Church text about death and damnation for the past hundred, almost two hundred years; nevertheless it lives in music. Nevertheless, Mozart, Cherubini, Berlioz and Verdi wrote their requiem masses in the grand style - and they were penetratingly genuine works. There is no trace of decorative illusion in these great works, not even in Verdi, in whom a sense of theatre would first be appropriate. This is, however, a problem, and it is not solved by bringing in the so-called illusory nature of art, which allows us to enjoy at a reduced price what was formerly believed at the full price, with fear and trembling. So that a curious thing seems to happen, namely that the same quinquilation which once overgrew the Church text and because of this was forbidden by the Church as a distraction, now rescues the Church text and makes it palatable. But this is not the true reason for the late blossoming of the requiem; for Cherubini, the strict, Berlioz, the bold and expressively precise, did not produce illusion. The music of the great requiems does not provide aesthetic pleasure but awe and deep emotion; and the Church text, arising from the early period of chiliastic fear and longing, surrenders to music its great archetypes, independently of their transitory patristic forms. Thus music itself brings forth again the symbols of expectation which are at work in the requiem; these are inscribed in music. And the reason why the Last Judgment for music is no mere mythological subject and no mere motif of upward movement as in Rubens, the reason for this morality lies in the death, contra-death, utopia problem which is constantly present for music. Conse¬ quently apocalypse arises even where, precisely where, there is anything but Church text; Beethoven gave the example and the proof of this. Beethoven, who wrote no requiem, did write one in Fidelio, a completely unequivocal * ‘Nenia’: an ancient Roman lament for the dead.



requiem, with Dies irae for Pizarro, with Tuba mirum spargens sonum* for Florestan. This world of spirits is not sealed to music, as the world of spirits in revolution; the archetype of apocalypse is not sealed to music. Even the thunderclap in Cherubini’s requiem which indicates the bursting of the universe is not externality for music; music is well-versed in the end. Mystical brutality is not missing either in Berlioz or in Verdi: in Berlioz it rises in the trumpets of the apocalyptic horsemen which come crashing down on the audience from the four corners of the earth; in Verdi in the explosive drumbeats, the fathomlessly plunging screams of the Dies irae. But now the contrasting Sed in Verdi, in the offertory of his requiem, the Sed before Signifer sanctus Michael, sustained for seven bars, and also the heavenly melody playing around it without triumph, with hope hovering upwards. Thus music, with a final Baroque, works out despairs and salvations; they are not tied to the Baroque, nor to the judge-theology of the Church text. But they are tied to a death-consciousness and to a wishful consciousness of anti-death, which here stretches more genuinely than anywhere else into music. As such, now free of the traditional Church text, it last appeared in Brahms, in the German Requiem. If one seeks musical initiations into the truth of utopia, the first, all-containing light is Fidelio, the second - with veiled illusion, at an appropriate distance - is the German Requiem, which sings ‘For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come’t - and below the chorus a faltering of searching steps, a path-line into the unknown, into awakening. ‘Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump’| - the mysterious music of these words of St Paul in Brahms’ Requiem brings from within itself the sound of the last trumpet into a hearing-keenly, into a metaphysical counterpoint of hell and victory, of hell swallowed in victory. Not without the restraint and, which comes to the same thing in Brahms, not without the precious depth which as such avoids apotheoses. Which does not permit even Jubal’s harp or Miriam’s tone and sound to make the light easy for themselves or even merely to present it as consonant. The second movement of the German Requiem takes for its text: ‘Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head’;§ but the music to the ‘The trumpet scattering its amazing sound’. This is from the text of Verdi’s‘Requiem’, Thomas de Celano’s poem ‘Dies Irae’. t Hebrews 13, 14. I 1 Corinthians 15, 51-2. § Isaiah 51, 11.



eternal joy goes in the fortissimo towards G minor and therefore certainly not towards sheer-radiant consonance. This is because the way Brahms deals with joy is even more complicated than the way Kant deals with pathos (and for the same uncatholic reasons), because heaven here has the salt within it which does not make it conventional or foolish. These are certainly not pale joys - Nietzsche misunderstood Brahms here - nor are they ‘October light over all joys’, they are, in the midst of the doubtful darkness, far too burning for this. The happiness which becomes a mystery does of course appear dissonantly cloaked, indeed in itself dissonance may be its more powerful expression than a triad from the familiar world. Music here indicates that there is one shoot, no more, but also no less, which could blossom into eternal joy and which continues to exist in darkness, which indeed binds darkness within it. This does not mean anything certain with regard to the harshest non-utopia, but a capacity to deny it on its own ground. Doubtless with nothing but still drifting sound-formations, but these contain livelinesses of an end which would not be possible if in the end nothing else were possible but transience and death. A freedom from pressure, death and fate is expressed in the Still-Nowhere medium of the tone, a freedom which has not expressed itself and cannot yet express itself in definite visibility. Precisely for this reason all music of annihilation points towards a robust core which, because it has not yet blossomed, cannot pass away either; it points to a non omnis confundar. In the darkness of this music gleam the treasures which will not be corrupted by moth and rust, the lasting treasures in which will and goal, hope and its content, virtue and happiness could be united as in a world without frustration, as in the highest good: - the requiem circles the secret landscape of the highest

Marseillaise and the moment in Fidelio There is a work in which the tone quite remarkably charges and aims at the same time. It is ‘Fidelio’, the task is to make a call audible within it, towards it every bar is tensed. Even in the light, open-air prelude between Marzelline and Jaquino there is unrest, a knocking not only from outside. Everything is geared to future, ‘then we will rest from our troubles’, every tone represents. ‘Do you think I cannot see into your heart?’, Rocco asks Leonora; and now the scene draws in, four voices construct pure Inside. ‘How wondrous the emotion, my heart feels confined’, the quartet begins,



andante sostenuto of a song which sings out nothing but its Wondrous, applied to sheer darkness. Marzelline sings it for Leonora, hope illuminates the goal, in great danger. ‘A rainbow, resting brightly on dark clouds, shines on, and guides my way’, in this light Leonora speaks herself, in the truest aria of hope, up and down over gloomy movements of sound, turned towards the star of the weary. The star was already at work in the timid Wondrous with which the quartet began, it is at work in Leonora’s aria, in the prisoners’ chorus, when not only Leonora and Florestan, when all the damned of this earth look up to the light of tomorrow. But the star stands dazzling and high in Florestan’s feverish ecstasy, as Leonora herself; to it belongs the visionary exclamation ‘to freedom, to freedom, into the heavenly kingdom’, rising up with superhuman cadences, shattering, fading in powerlessness. Until then the subterranean monodrama begins, the wildest scene of tension altogether, Pizarro before Florestan, ‘a murderer, a murderer stands before me’, Leonora covers Florestan with her body, thus she reveals herself, a renewed onslaught of murder, the pistol held to Pizarro, ‘one more step and you are dead’. If nothing else happened, from the spirit and the action-space of this music, then the shot would be the symbol and the act of salvation, its tonic would be the answer to what is called and the call from the beginning. But this tonic, because of the necessarily apocalyptic spirit and action-space of this music, finds a symbol from the requiem, more than this: from the secret Easter in the Dies irae; it is the trumpet signal. This signal, if it is interpreted superficially, in terms of Pizarro’s earlier instructions to blow it from the battlements as a warning to him, literally announces only the arrival of the minister on the road from Seville, but as tuba mirum spargens sonum in Beethoven it announces the arrival of the Messiah. Thus it resounds down into the dungeon, into the torches and lights which accompany the governor upwards. Into the name-, nameless joy in which Beethoven’s music no longer uses a suspension, into the ‘Hallowed be the day, hallowed be the hour’, in the transformed courtyard of the fortress. It was an inspired idea on Mahler’s part to play the third Leonora overture between the dungeon and the final act of freedom, the overture which in reality is a utopian memory, a legend of fulfilled hope, concentric around the trumpet signal. The signal now sounds, without the scene, after the scene, the music replies with a melody of rest which cannot be played slowly enough, the signal now sounds a second time, and the same melody replies, mysteriously modulated, in a distant key from an already changed world. And now back to the freedom act, to the Marseillaise on the fallen Bastille. The



great moment is there, the star of fulfilled hope in the Now and Here. Leonora releases Florestan from his chains: ‘O God, what a moment’ - precisely through these words, raised by Beethoven into metaphysics, a music arises which, in any case a Staying itself, would be worthy never to put an end to its arrival. An abruptly transporting change of key at the beginning; an oboe melody which expresses fulfilment; the sostenuto assai of time which is standing still, which has risen to the moment. Every future storming of the Bastille is intended in Fidelio, an incipient matter of human identity fills the space in the sostenuto assai, the presto of the final chorus merely adds the reflection, the jubilation about Leonora-Maria militans. Beethoven’s music is chiliastic, and the form of the opera of salvation, which was not uncommon at the time, merely provided the external material for the morality of this music. Does not the musical figure of Pizarro bear all the features of Pharaoh, Herod, Gessler, the winter demon, indeed of the gnostic Satan himself, who brought man into the worlddungeon and keeps him prisoner in it? But more than anywhere else music here becomes morning red, militant-religious, whose day becomes as audible as if it were already more than mere hope. It shines as pure work of man, as one which had not yet appeared in the entire environment of Beethoven independent of man. Thus music as a whole stands at the frontiers of mankind, but at those where mankind, with new language and the callaura around captured intensity, attained We-World, is still only forming. And precisely the order in musical expression intends a house, indeed a crystal, but from future freedom, a star, but as a new earth.




The last coat has no pockets.


Every person confronted with the possibility of an accident immediately thinks of the iron ration which he carries with him. This iron ration for one man may be his idea, for another his faith, a third thinks only of his family. Anna Seghers, The Seventh Cross



I feel like one who has done work for the day to retire awhile, I receive now again of my many translations, from my avatars ascending, while others doubtless await me, An unknown sphere more real than I dream’d, more direct, darts awakening rays about me, So long! Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass Anyone who could remain indifferent to these questions must as it were have divested himself of his humanity: to what goal is all history moving, what final last state is destined for the entire race, or is there even here only the sad, ever-recurring circle of appearances? The view of the mysteries has therefore certainly been extremely restricted because no one hit on the idea that they also contained as it were a revelation about the future of the human race. . .Dionysus in his highest potency was the goal, the ultimate meaning of the entire teaching of the mysteries. Schelling, Philosophy of Revelation And then the spirit brings hope, hope in the strictest Christian sense, hope which is hoping against hope. For an immediate hope exists in every person; it may be more powerfully alive in one person than in another; but in death every hope of this kind dies and turns into hopelessness. Into this night of hopelessness (it is death that we are describing) comes the life-giving spirit and brings hope, the hope of eternity. It is against hope, for there was no longer any hope for that merely natural hope; this hope is therefore a hope contrary to hope. Kierkegaard, For Self-Examination Je m’en vais chercher un grand Peut-etre.* Last words of the dying Rabelais

I. Introduction No talk of dying How do we shake off the final fear? Today many no longer find this as difficult as in unenlightened days. The clock strikes, it is another hour nearer to the grave. But our view of it is diverted or else made artificially short-sighted. As things stand at the moment, fear of old age has become more tormenting than the thought of death. Death must not be remembered, ‘I am going out in search of a great Perhaps.’



cheap images push it out of mind. One of these says that man is snuffed out like a candle. This can be the case, of course, but not because man resembles a candle. He does not resemble one before his extinction, is not, for example, headless, and so the comparison is not compelling afterwards either. Men have never been anxious to count their ever dwindling years, yet what is bourgeois and merely lives from one day to the next is encouraged, among other things, not to look to the end at all. So everything is piled back on to a rosy-cheeked beginning, and when this is no longer there false youth is painted on. Dying is pushed away, not because we enjoy life so much nor because somewhere we would gladly see or cause others to see into something coming, not even at this personal closing point. Thus we live from one day to the next and into the night, no thought must ever be given to the worst end which is yet to come. The wish is simply to hear and to see nothing of it, even when the end is here. Thus fear at least shrinks, becomes flat, like so much else.

Utopias of the night with no morning any more in this world But nothing is as strange and grim as the blow which fells everyone. Life is not right either, but at least we are at home in it and present, it can be improved. But no one has yet been seen as present behind death, unless as a corpse. Horror is not the only feeling the corpse inspires, however, not the only feeling appropriate to this strange departure of our self. But even grinning enters into it, like that of the death’s head itself; that longscheming man should die like cattle is also, as it were, comical. And there was even more place for that highest seriousness of all, which causes despair and which in the face of death lies even closer to youth than it does to old age, because youth is more final. This means: not only the corpse is pale but our striving sees itself bled white and devalued for bad and all by its end. The grave, darkness, decay and worms had and still have, whenever they are not pushed out of mind, a kind of retrospectively devaluing force. Even the businessman returning from a friend’s funeral takes up his correspondence with somewhat subdued elan and does not merely think of the insurance for his wife and child. On top of this comes the increasing disparity that has arisen between the movement and length of our ranks of purpose and the unchanging brevity of life. This disparity was not always so great, the long pre-capitalist era did not know it, or only vaguely, history seemed more static to that era, more cyclical, as it



were more seasonal than today. Marcus Aurelius even observes in his ‘Meditations’ that a forty year old man with his eyes open and in a suffi¬ ciently high position has seen everything that happened before his time and all that will happen afterwards because it is the same as what he himself has experienced. Today the train of events is so very much longer than our life, the march of history towards the New is both geometrically and dynamically so different from the naturally declining curve of our life that no worthy man can still die sated with life in the historical sense. The grave destroys the witness who has become more curious, and in his short life he has seen too little of the outcome, let alone the victory, of events that are already in motion. Like the youth in Wedekind’s ‘Spring Awakening’ who dies without experiencing the joys of love and who shouts with such scornful significance: ‘Been in Egypt and never saw the pyramids’, it could appear, mutatis mutandis and at least partially, to many dying in exciting times that they had perceived and achieved nothing but historical patchwork. This feeling seems only completely overcome where by sacri¬ ficing one’s own life for the future cause the subject-based experiencing of it is deliberately and consciously eliminated from the outset, first and foremost in the martyr. But even what this most moral person of all rejects for himself does not deprive others of the right to complain that they will not be present at the victory, that they will not know themselves to be unbroken subjects of victory. The fact that the name of the martyr is enshrined in the heart of the working class does not restore to this name its eyes, its corporeally present existence - it too lies, a corpse, far from the intended goal. How far too this suffered martyrdom is from the later day of justice which - if it occurs at all - will be experienced by completely different people. The world is full of slaughtered goodness and of successful criminals enjoying a long and peaceful old age; martyrs do not experience their resurrection, the criminals of white terror are seldom brought to judgement, in both cases death makes everything irreparable. And even where something has got into order the final axe falls on happiness, which was always only temporary. Even the utopian reflected happiness of fairytale characters lasts only until ‘the destroyer of all joys and the sunderer of all fellowship came to them’, as death is called and must be called in the Arabian Nights, despite Islam and submission. The last fiasco does not remain a frame or dark ground against which the brief sunny day stands out all the more consciously; memento mori is bankruptcy in consciousness itself. Even the hectic joy of living, as in times of plague, is inverted despair or gallows humour, contains no answer to nothingness, no overcoming;



- desire seeks rather for eternity. What does even the highest moment mean, the ‘Stay awhile, you are so fair’ intended in the most central utopia, when death, without itself being affected, cancels from the capacity for experience with the greatest command of existence its - existence? So no enemy seemed more central, none was so inescapably positioned, no certainty in this thoroughly uncertain life and its formations of purpose is even remotely comparable with that of death. Nothing stands as finalistically as death does at the end, and nothing shatters the work of the subjects of historical purpose-setting so anti-finahstically into fragments. The jaws of death grind everything and the maw of corruption devours every teleology, death is the great forwarding agent of the organic world - but to its catastrophe. Thus no disappointment can compare with its negative outlook, no treachery shortly before the goal seems to equal that of exitus letalis. But all the more powerful is the necessity to set wishful evidence against this so little illuminating certainty, against a mere factual truth in the world unmediated with man. Thus guiding images of the after-life correspond to guiding images of life, figure-formations against the peace of the graveyard to the guiding figures of unrest, and an older, religious death-magic to the deep death-magic of music. The following section deals with the varying utopias of death in the great world religions; these are followed by the no longer so religious image of death. Namely that which was secularized or rationally modified from the former manifold beliefs in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In the manifold images of the afterlife mankind has brought to light and into the night not only its egotism and ignorance, but also the undeniable dignity in refusing to accept the cadaver. Thus in the chapter on death the inventory of human wishful dreams also contains certain pictorial, poetic and musical wishful landscapes of the paradisial, but under a different aspect, related to ‘to be or not to be’, as utopian anti-death. To speak only of wishes, there certainly was and still is here much sticky-shabby desire to cling to the little ego; Shaw rightly compared this with miserliness. The obscurantist interest of the ruling classes and their spouting clergy in transcendental fraud was and is most definitely at work here, intimidating the people with otherworldly images of terror, consoling them with empty promises, otherworldly images of heaven. The realm of shades is anyway, as Kant says, the paradise of visionaries; and it is not just Holy Rome which has lucrative provinces there. Yet it should also not be overlooked that beside Rome, in which precisely the worst effusions of transcendental fantasy proved highly experienced and worldly-wise, there were, to speak only



of wishes again, also different, rebelliously different motifs, not least a religious motif of pride, transformation and breaking out, which in Paul’s case shakes the bars of this death. Whether such overreaching - this means of course also of the humblest, not only of the masters - into the postmortal sphere and indeed that which changes into all recognition was the opium of the people or rather a strengthening of the sense of the infinite value of their own souls and thus a strengthening of the will not to be treated like cattle here and now: this depends on the men among whom and the circumstances in which sermons on heaven were preached. Thomas Miinzer’s sermons, for example, though often referring to ‘heavenly servants’, was no opium of the people. Whether every shining of the dream lantern into the realm of shades is sheer fantasy and as such appears indis¬ criminate depends again on the conceptual definition and demarcation of the real which has been arrived at. Even a definition which does not stop at so-called factuality, which instead of this recognizes unreified processes and open spaces, will not allow these spaces to be occupied by more or less fatuous pieties. At any rate, such a definition will not reject as wholly unreal or incapable of reality contents of which we know nothing simply because, next to miracles, immortality is the dearest child of faith and because, instead of this, human metamorphosis into nothingness is regarded as a certainty not only by existentialists. But it is for this reason alone that the more humane wishful images of the ‘Non omnis confundar’ have not yet been abolished in the fundamental problem of their dignity, i.e. they have not forfeited this problem and its world in every - not necessarily fantastic - form. For Kant, the real coincided with the objects of Newtonian physics; everything beyond it was either a bad thing or a mere reflexive postulate. For dialectical-materialist cognition, which does not recognize such dualism, which comprehends a postulation (an unclosed tendency) in the real itself, and in postulation a possible reality, the world does not end with Newtonian mechanics. The world has no Beyond (materialism is and remains the comprehending of the world in its own terms), but it also has no barrier in this life or rather none but that which is posited in the direction of dialectical process. Dialectical materialism thus no more knows a naturally ordained order and closedness than mechanical materialism knew or recognized one which was divinely ordained. Everything particular and fixed among the death-defying wishes and rituals, the Greek, Egyptian and Christian death-hopes, is sheer fantasy, but the sphere of this specific hope itself, which is recalled in the following section, is more than legitimate; for no man yet knows whether the life process does not contain



or admit of transformation, however obscure. The bald No, however empirical it may have been to date, does not settle the question; it is the No of mere blind necessity, not of necessity understood, therefore controlled, therefore mediated with the human realm of purpose. The only reason why this No does not have a completely paralysing effect on the purposewill is that this, as we will ultimately have to show, still borrows from post-mortal symbols, even when they are no longer believed and their substance has disappeared. Death today can still (nobody knows how much longer) be hidden behind life because new life was once hidden behind, i.e. dreamt into death. These dreams also belong to utopia, though to one which is primarily rooted in mythology, and they continue the dots where ranks of purpose have been broken off, as if the grave and the inorganic universe to which the corpse also belongs could be humanely illuminated. These dreams of illumination have not resigned themselves to fate in its grimmest form; this constitutes, this founds their glory. And, with an overwhelming paradox of non-renunciation, they have connected precisely to the most extreme annihilation, alongside a terrible afterlife, the joyful image of an awakening, of a heavenly identity; this is the case in Islam and in Christianity. Where this heightening did not occur, something postulated as incorruptible did descend into the realm of shades, but never into the grave together with the body. The wishes for immortality aspired to give the self the grave-lamp, one free of sepsis, still shining into the strangest night; they have often overlaid death with lies, but they have also over shone it.

II. Religious Counterpoints from Death and Victory

Only good of the dead Fear of dying oppressed us early and so remains primal. The corpse shows to feeling and to thought what awaits everyone, dread of the corpse is the oldest dread of all. Yet the first wish was not so much to live on, to live on outside the corpse, this was taken for granted. Death was regarded anyway only as a departure by all primitive peoples, as it still is today by children. They wished simply to protect themselves from the dead by



giving them a safe or comfortable home on the other side. This of course was to everyone’s benefit, as everyone was ultimately gathered to the corpses. Service to the corpse, the embellishment of its night, were an invitation to all to protect themselves against the threat to themselves. The dead man himself had moved into the unearthly darkness from which all evil and little good came. He was in the night, in the land without fire and light, outside the round huts, longing to return. But to bar his return was the purpose of all death rites, including the ancestor cult. The corpse is carried feet first out of the village so that it cannot find its way back, or else, as in the case of the bushmen, its nails are cut, hands and feet bound, even its eyes put out. Sometimes the dead man’s hut is also burnt to the ground; the place he is attached to, where he feels good, so to speak, must be the grave. Even in German areas tramps were for a long time bound and buried, to stop them coming back. Though there is no evidence to date of graves in the early Stone Age, those from the late Stone Age are all the more numerous, above and below ground. And the custom of putting food and drink into the grave for the corpse also dates from this period; so that the dead who long to return or suck blood are supposed to be replaced by the placated dead, indeed, as is still discernible in many fairytales, the grateful dead. This food and drink was not of course intended for the grave, any more than the women and slaves offered up with the nobles, i.e. slaughtered at their graveside. But all these offerings were intended for consumption and use in another place, so that the soul of the dead man did not roam unhonoured about the grave and the village, and so that the grave really bound the corpse. Its soul, that is here its last breath, lived on peacefully in the other place, as soon as the body was given the honour of burial or cremation. It lived on no longer as a ghost but as a shade, a shade which independently went on living the life to which the body had been accustomed. Among hunting peoples the other world too is still the same for all, but among tillers of the soil and raisers of cattle not even death makes all equal. The distinctions between rich and poor persisted, with no levelling whatever. Even in the other world, the best places are reserved for the nobles, the bad and worst places for the common people. In Tonga, only the chief goes to the blessed land Bolotu, the common folk stand in the dark, as on earth. A similar distinction is made in Hawaii between a heaven for princes and nobles and an under¬ world for the lower classes. Thus even in the afterlife Elysian and infernal fields correspond to class divisions, with which they certainly first arose. Punishment for high-ranking wrong-doers and reward for the poor, though



only for those who were also well-behaved in the ruling class sense, this wished-for levelling is, so to speak, forced through only later. It is first found in the feuding, divided clan, where the chief is no longer regarded as an undisputed head ape who remains such in the other world regardless of whether he was good or bad. Every dead man was honoured by his family as an ancestor in any case as soon as he was buried.

Shades and Greek twilight Man lived on, even where his afterlife seemed quite pale. The Greeks more than all other peoples saw the corpse as ageing, turning into a shade. But the shade itself survives, even the Enlightenment seldom teaches annihilation here, or only in the sense that the familiar ego ceases to be. Thus a semi¬ void appears behind death, namely the opposite of what is in store for men under the sun. An epitaph in Pompeii reads: ‘After death there is nothing, man is only what you see.’ Another says: ‘You who read this, my friend, lead a good life, for after death there is no laughter, joking or joy.’ So much for the rather dull melancholy of these sayings, which was probably not even confined to the later Roman period and the country towns. Yet despite all this man was certainly not extinguished, nor had he fallen into an inconceivable state of utter nothingness. He retained the curious existence of his shade, which was after all freed from suffering, agitation and frailty, and he entered a milky night which was on the edge of life, but not utterly deathly. Night occurs in life, too, in ebbing life; impeded or spellbound people experience it, who linger in the Hades of their selves anyway. Utter desolation and purposelessness fills them, so powerful and at the same time so hollow that the Greek Hades seems unequivocally mild, as it were healthy in comparison, though it sometimes borders on this state. In Homer, death is after all the brother, even the twin brother, of sleep; in Hesiod, death and sleep dwell together in a palace at the entrance to the underworld. Below, Lethe awaits (those who wanted to drink oblivion had already drunk and no longer needed Lethe), the Styx separates for good, Charon, with grey hair and dirty cloak, but eyes of fire, ferries the dead across. And it was not as if the grey of Hades excluded differences and distinctions between its inhabitants; as if there were no kind of hell in it or Elysian fields. The other world of the Greeks, like the Egyptian and later the Christian one, has a judgement of the dead at its entrance; wishful images of retaliation and levelling are certainly



at work here. Likewise they extend from Hades, from its highly structured twilight, to influence life on earth; hence the moral thoughtfulness of the final hour, noticeable even among the Greeks. When Pericles was dying, he gathered his friends around him, asked each one for forgiveness for the wrongs he might have done them and would hear nothing of his deeds except that he had never given a citizen cause for grief. The Greek hell, however, darkens the realm of shades most curiously towards the bottom, predominantly to futile monotony, to the torment of futile repetition of the same task; as with Sisyphus, Tantalus and the Danaids. The Elysian fields quietly improve the grey of Hades towards the top, into the congenial quality of pleasant twilight, the twilight of an eternal spring evening. Things certainly do not go with a swing in this Elysium, the atmosphere is not golden as at life’s feasts, but silver, i.e. without passions and without boredom. The Greek heaven was originally intended only for the favourites of the gods, not for all good people as such. It was not until Elysium was transferred from the western ocean to the underworld in the post-feudal, post-Homeric era that it seemed suitable for good people too, as was neighbouring Tartarus for the wicked. Life in this other world, however pale, nonetheless seems highly wishful: the dead are thought of as living in a dream world full of silhouettes, the wicked in the unchanged, inescapable world of the nightmare, the good in the powerless but also effortless sweetness of picture-life. And something else, most important of all, makes the other world of the Greeks meaningful on a different level. For beside the popular image of Hades another image persisted from the PelasgianOrphic era: that of the mysteries. Its image is the wheel: man rises to life with the ascending spokes and sinks to death as they descend; but above all it is not only the same wheel but also the same man who rises, descends and rises again along with the wheel, the transmigration of souls is taught here. And purification is also taught, drawing the best out of revolving death so that man comes through death with his essential substance intact and returns on a higher level. This happens in the Eleusinian mysteries, and, with Dionysian accent, in the Orphic mysteries; both sought exclusively to initiate into death, not for its nothingness, but for its overcoming.

Affirmation of recurrence; Orphic wheel

The grave was now to be spoken with, even to be moved. It was regarded as seed beneath the ground, the fruit therefore comes back above ground.



The aim was to step from Hades into life again, the same person as before, though now more fully conscious of himself. The Eleusinian rites, the mysteries of Persephone served to keep alive this consciousness and this certainty. The legend on which they were based contained, from the first, as much growth magic as death magic. Corresponding to the unity in which matrilineal times had revered the earth both as the field for corn and for the dead; and Eleusis served Demeter, the matrilineal goddess. When her daughter Persephone revolves between the realm of the dead and the upper world, in winter below, in summer above, this was seen as more than a symbol of vegetable growth. It very soon came to be seen as the wishful image of resurrection: the corn Persephone was also the human soul stolen from Hades. These correlations, preserved in the Eleusinian mysteries, are age-old, Demeter herself once held the office of Pluto, she did not dwell on Olympus as in the later Greek era. She was the goddess of matriliny, and the grave, which devours all births, was as much a part of the womb and its world as birth. The earth-mother as the ruler of the dead was a fearsome and wrathful power, yet this gravegoddess was also the goddess of the cradle of life, a kindly, fruit-giving mother. Thus the functions of birth and death were still closely inter¬ twined in pre-Homeric, Pelasgian myth, Gaia-Demeter dominated religious belief, the gods of Homer, the new gods, are the first to belong to the patrilineal era, they do not preside over birth or over death and they themselves are remote from death. But precisely in the Eleusinian mysteries Demeter was invoked in her old dual function, and her daughter Persephone was the dying human being, bound to the chthonic cycle. The best now had to be made of this: the art of death rites, the art of happy rebirth as the morality of Persephone. Thus the mystes, in the simile of the seed, were reconciled with death: destruction bears a thousand-fold fruit, it is necessary for a richer recurrence. A comforting alternation of life and death now begins: Persephone escapes again and again from Hades, though she returns there again and again; Eleusis taught the transmigration of souls, a life-affirming transmigration which moves upwards from ever-renewed immersions in Hades, and which brings with it not just womb and grave but also grave and birth. According to the belief of the mystes, bodily well-being is the reward which the mysteries bestow for the duration of life, but the higher reward is the hope they give of a better rebirth in the time after death. Instead of drinking from Lethe, they drink from the well of memory of earlier births, this is to pave the way to a new, improved birth. The transmigration of souls is thus interpreted highly optimistically,



as a medium to ascent; the wheel of recurrence is affirmed. And the dead man, by the very fact of being buried, seemed to be well cocooned. The grave does not contain, it ripens, the shadow in the cave is to be reborn from the cave. In the Eleusinian formula, age-old and matrilineal, the crouched burial of the Stone Age survives, in which the corpse, doubled up into an embryo, awaits its new birth. Yet the Eleusinian hope also includes man in the image of spring, in which the earth itself emerges again from its corpse-like form. Demeter-Gaia is thus joined by Dionysus, who bears the dialectical name ryieQCt vvxreQivr), nocturnal day, light in the earth and from it. This wholly earth-revering, consolatory and dual character survives, inherited from the Etruscans, even in extremely patrilineal Rome. The Roman florealia were both a commemoration of the dead and a celebration of spring, Bacchus is the lord of the dead souls who rise up in swarms from the earth at the beginning of spring, in the same breath he makes the earth blossom. This is why the walls of Etruscan burial chambers are full of lewd scenes, the demon of death in Etruscan funeral games appears in the form of a satyr, likewise Bacchanalian scenes survive on Roman sarcophagi, with the phallus as a grave-ornament. Far from fading, the dialectical memory of Demeter-Dionysus, indeed PlutoDionysus, grew ever more powerful, even in Apollonian Greece; the Eleusinian mysteries themselves, from the ninth century and emphatically from the sixth century onwards, joined forces with Dionysus and his rebirth¬ giving, orphically purifying fire. The statue of Dionysus was carried from Athens to the temple of Demeter in Eleusis, he was regarded as her son, he outshone her daughter Persephone, he was regarded, in the emphatic sense, as ‘his mother’s son’, as the lord of the moist, fecundating life of nature. This was how he appeared to the Maenads, he appeared to those love-crazed butchers as a bull-god, and, dying and rising from the dead, he was tom to pieces; to the Maenads, as familiar with death and the lament for the transitoriness of life as with orgasm and lust, he represented the unity of life and death. Dionysus is the path from Demeter to the male life of nature, from the female cave to the phallus; and it is in him, not only in the unity of grave and cradle, that the hope of immortality and rebirth now seeks its emblem. Bachofen was the first to recall these associations: ‘Man is in the unlamented lower creation, but final victory belongs to the phallic natural power and its revealed symbol. In the magic of lavish paradisial pleasures all demands on life and all hope of the other world are satisfied’ - the nature-lament of the ancient world falls silent. Dionysus, ousting grim Pluto, is as it were solar: ‘He is, as Macrobius describes him,



the sun of the earth’s lower hemisphere (sol in inferno hemisphaerio), i.e. the solar principle of the dark earth which, far removed from its distant home, illuminates the sealed depths of matter’ (Bachofen, Die Unsterblichkeitslehre der orphischen Theologie, 1867, p. 26). As this chthonic Helios, Dionysus now brings the souls out of Hades, without compulsion to return, but - and this is the second Novum compared with DemeterPersephone - also without the necessity of being reborn. The compelling wheel of recurrence was affirmed in Eleusis before or outside the Orphic reforma¬ tion; within Orphism, it is denied. An extended wishful image now appears, one directed not only against Hades but against Hades and equally against birth. An ascetic wishful image, though one which is no longer compatible with Dionysus as the god of spring, the original fertility god. In fact Orphism, when it did break in, followed the tradition of a second Dionysus, a Dionysus himself reborn. This is Dionysus-Zagreus, who was torn limb from limb by the Titans and who, after Zeus has eaten his heart which remained intact, comes to life again in the second Dionysus. This resurrected god has lost nothing of the ardour and joy which he embodies, to which he leads; in the mysteries he was proclaimed as Dionysus-Iacchus, i.e. the jubilant one. But he no longer lives in his old body, indeed no longer at all in the body of death and of birth which alternates with it; xvxXos yevecreus, the cycle of birth, as Orphism calls it with a truly Indian expres¬ sion, is broken together with death. The second Dionysus therefore does not in any way become transcendental or even Olympian, he remains the highest fullness of life, but now it is fullness of a second nature, free of the cycle. And finally the Orphic mystes followed him, the wish becomes exodus from the cr&iJLGt-afjiJUX, from the body-grave altogether, to experience neither death nor corporeal rebirth; but this exodus never goes into what is hostile to life, into spirit. Though asceticism was clearly present here, in connection with the decline of the Greek economy and polis, it is only hostile to life in so far as it removes the joys of the body from this suscept¬ ible, unsteady being and transfers them to the soul. It is wrong to see Orphic hostility to the body as renunciation; or how could Dionysus be their god? The body as the prison of the soul - this means here that it hinders the butterfly Psyche, this upward effervescence. Not the practice of civic virtues, not discipline nor moral reformation of the character were required in Orphism, but solely dedication to the orgiastic god. Orphic asceticism certainly did not involve mortification of the body, on the contrary it rescued as it were the joys of the body from their transitoryrevolving setting. Though there are unmistakable Indian echoes in the



hatred of the birth-wheel, the second Dionysus nonetheless remains of this world. Wine and love bring on ecstasy, which derives its essence from the body itself and is inspired from this essence. In Eleusinian terms, the alternation between birth and death, assumed to be constant, appeared to be bearable, the possible transition from death to a better birth appeared to be consoling. In Orphic terms, an attempt is made to draw an entire final salvation and its salutary wholeness into the soul, which has now escaped from all transmigration, both from that towards death and that towards birth, and which already seeks to fill with blood on earth that which in the conception of Hades was mere shade.

Elixirs of the soul and the gnostic journey to heaven To be freed from the body of this death, this was longed for in ever wilder and stranger ways. Disintegrating late classical society fostered in all its circles a fear which had scarcely ever been felt as intensely till then. It was focussed most heavily, in almost concentrated form, on death, even though this seemed to put an end to sad life. Yet death was in no way felt to be an end, least of all an escape; on the contrary, it seemed to be a perpetual slaughterhouse. The age of Stoic, composed suicide and its consolation, however grim, was now past; death appeared as the most sinister part of all that was corruptible. All in all, Eleusis had still been a feast, and most of the initiates had prayed for earthly rather than otherworldy bliss. But in the late classical period this feast turned into a cry for help; fear of life and dread of death then came together into the world, deliverance from both was sought. It was only then that the Greek mysteries, augmented by an almost wholesale import of oriental mysteries, came to form a huge escape and evasion route. Never had there been such despair, such remarkable longing, throughout all classes, for a remedy against death, never such a powerful longing for immortality, the passport out of the slaughterhouse. From Hadrian onwards, the wishful image of the mysteries (the certainty of resurrection) went hand in hand with all kinds of superstition; amulets, spirit seals, all the fish-hooks of invocation were tried out to grasp immortality. What seemed great or worthy of emulation about the gods was not that they are powerful, wise or even happy, but that they are immortal, this was their desirable ambrosial quality. It was to acquire this that the initiations, rites, liturgies and procedures of late classical mystery religion most predominantly served. Moral purification



was certainly also sought here, in the form of strength, seclusion, brotherly love, but such things were not considered crucial. More important than the cleansing from sin was the tincturing with that magic substance by means of which the initiate could be baptized and freed from the mortal body. Even in the Orphic mysteries, the sacrificial bull representing Dionysus and torn to pieces and eaten by the Maenads was regarded as the dying year-god who would awake to new life; Dionysus takes those who are drunk with his blood with him into immortality. Clearly connected with this were the later ‘taurobolia’: the mystes stood in a pit above which a bull was slaughtered, let the gushing blood stream over him and he thus attained baptism, indeed a kind of pagan communion of hoped-for immor¬ tality. Those who were thus baptized subsequently wore their blood-stiff clothes in the streets and in the shops, partly objects of mockery, partly of awe. Paul (1 Cor. 10, i8ff.) pointed, not without reason, to the analogy between pagan sacrifice and communion; when he calls the pagan sacrifice (to which the taurobolia also belonged) ‘the table’, ‘the cup’, ‘the fellowship of devils’, this antithesis confirms precisely their correspondence and affinity in the history of religion. Even Jesus triumphed in competition with the mysteries not as the Messiah of those who labour and are heavy-laden but as the ‘first among the dead’, and his character was ‘the resurrection and the life’. Baptism at that time was on the whole a magical sacrament, the waters of baptism were regarded as the water of life, Christ redeemed mankind from death. The Christ of Gnosticism in particular was primarily the antidote to death; nor were all the faithful by any means regarded as redeemed unless they had first received the baptism of the dead. There was a gnostic baptism of the dead, a major sacrament, in the cults of St Mark the dead man’s head was anointed with water and oil, in order, according to Irenaeus, ‘to make him invisible to the archons and powers’. It was just as ardently hoped that Jesus, too, would provide such a magic cap against evil after death; even among the Christians of Corinth in Paul’s time a baptism of the dead was still common (1 Cor. 15, 29), which showed why they thought the God of Life had come. In Gnostic terms the baptismal elixirs were complemented by elixirs of knowledge, not accessible to everyone and so all the more eagerly sought in the future aeon; the Gnostic Christ was a learned redeemer. He eliminated ignorance, revealing himself fully only to the ‘Pneumatics’, i.e. intellectual aristocrats, or we might almost say that he abolished death only for doctors of the Ascension. Of course the gnostic and even the philosophical knowledge of this time was certainly not divorced from will, emotions and also the agitated, gloomy



folklore of the age. Proclos, one of the most perceptive thinkers of this time, collected folk-tales wherever he could find them and, as if the two went together, had himself initiated into all the mysteries, thus combining - in a manner that certainly was not intellectually aristocratic - the popular and the hermetic, both equally inviting, with the distinction of the concept. Gnosticism, whether pagan or Christian, certainly was not a religion of the withered classical mind. On the contrary, it was the first and last great incursion of wishful mythology into the mind, as is proved above all by one of its strangest yet also one of its most magnificent phantasmagoria: the doctrine of the soul’s heavenly journey. It followed the baptism of blood, in order to make itself invisible against dying. Yet it clearly also provided the passport which enabled the traveller to come unscathed through a journey beyond death which was fully mapped out, mapped out in good and evil. The story of this ascent or heavenly journey and the necessity to be prepared for it is as follows: between heaven and earth lie the seven planetary circles, ruled by evil spirits, the lords of this world. These are the archons or demons of fate, and in gnostic terms they were depicted as demons with animal heads - lion, bull, dragon, eagle, bear, dog, ass; they enslave man and set up a blockade between him and heaven. This is why the archons in this negatively evaluated astrology are described as tollmen, as ‘guardians of the sorrowful road’; the circle of planets itself appears as the ‘fence of wickedness’. Thus the classical confidence in the world, so powerful and optimistic right up to the middle Stoics, was now bedevilled. Nero and Caracalla appeared to be ideologically embedded in star-demons, the defencelessness of the individual, the engulfing whirlpool of declining late Rome were projected on to the universe. Not only life itself but even more so its pre-existence and post-existence, the state of the soul before birth and after death, were now drawn into the powerful-sinister locality of the archon system. For when the soul descended from heaven to earth (the moon was regarded as the gate for descent) it passed the seven spheres, each of which gave it a part of the spell, for its earthly destiny. After death, the soul in its ascent to heaven has to pass the same archons (the sun was regarded as the gate for ascent) and at every stage the old archon, ‘the god of destruction and second death’, steps forward, barring its way. Not only the planets but also the twelve zodiacal signs of the sphere of fixed stars and the twelve constellations of the zodiac were included among the demons of destruction; the entire firmament was a set of devil’s fangs, the whole universe a tyranny. Sun, moon and stars are together the fatal sphere, the sphere of destiny,



the sphere of the heimarmene;* the world regent is the devil. This was the point at which Gnosis deployed its myth of the heavenly journey, in the technical sense so to speak, as the breaking of the astral blockade. The mystes was taught the password which enabled him to pass the seven archons and deprived the ‘fence of wickedness’ of its power. Some passwords, consisting of utterly incomprehensible howling sounds, imitated the names of the respective archons; knowledge of a name, according to ancient belief, is identical with power over the person named. The specific doctrine of the password also goes back a long way: in the 125th chapter of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the god guarding each gate of Hades requires the dead man to know his name before he lets him pass. Perhaps this Egyptian tradition is still at work when in the Coptic writings of Gnosticism passwords are especially classified: in the first rank the solemn revelation of the demons’ names, then the symbols and signs to be shown, then the formulae and magic words to be spoken to ward off the archons. And the imagined successful outcome was that the soul casts off the ugly veils and blemishes it once received on its journey through the planetary circles. In the later Persian-gnostic system of Mani the soul even casts off all the determinants of the lower world, not just its definite vices: to the moon it returns its vital and nourishing power, to Mercury greed, to Venus lust, to the sun intellect, to Mars courage, to Jupiter ambition, to Saturn lethargy. Here, too, every archon is watched over by an angel of the Persian light-god Ormuzd, who does the rest to ensure that the soul, free of ballast, finds its way home to the primal light. And at the entrance to this the just man’s own soul comes towards him, ‘in the form of a virgin’, who receives him and leads him into the uppermost heaven; thus in Mani no-one else springs from behind the last planet, but in fact (later recalled in Dante’s Beatrice) the ‘form of a virgin’, as a pure human form and heavenly guide. Probably the Persian-Roman Mithras mysteries not only already furthered the cult of the Sol invictus but also the help he gave to the dead. The seven-stepped staircase, which in the cave of these mysteries, in complete harmony with the heavenly journey, was built of seven metals representing the planetary signs, symbolized not only the cosmos but the password-journey through the seven planetary circles, up to Mithras the life-giver. But the perspective always remains most turbulent of all in Judaeo-Christian Gnosis, in keeping with its total intertwining of wishful myth against death with world and the Son of Man who is * ‘Heimarmene’: originally a concept of fate in ancient Greek philosophy.



better than the world. Among the Peratians, the transition is expressed in images from the Old Testament; the passage in Hippolitos reads: ‘Death seizes the Egyptians in the Red Sea, together with their chariots; all people without Gnosis are Egyptians. And this is the meaning of the exodus from Egypt, namely exodus from the body, which is a little Egypt. The crossing of the Red Sea, however, means the crossing of the water of transience, which is Saturn; and the other side of the Red Sea is the desert, where all the gods of destruction are together with the God of Redemption. But the gods of destruction are the stars, which impose on creatures the necessity of changeful birth’ (Hippolitos, Elenchos V, 16). In ‘Pistis Sophia’, till recently the only extant Gnostic book, a kind of Pneumatic novel, Jesus himself deprives the archons of ‘a third of their power’, turning ‘their heads and their course towards half the year, so that they cannot look upon men’ and God alone determines fate as well as ascent. ‘Truly’, says Jesus, ‘if I had not turned their course a multitude of souls would have been destroyed, and they would have languished for a long time if the archons of the aeons and the archons of the heimarmene and of the sphaira and all their places and all their heavens and all their eons had not been destroyed, and the souls would have languished for a long time outside here, and the completion of the number of perfect souls would have been delayed who are reckoned among the inheritors of the heights through the mysteries and who will be in the treasury of light’ (Pistis Sophia, ch. 23). Here the password is joined by the gnostic saviour himself, and he makes this password superfluous, not as a teacher but already as a Pantocrator, as lord against the archons. Against the same archons who are believed to be ‘Cosmocrators’ even in the New Testament, at least in the Epistle to the Ephesians, though Paul’s authorship is not certain. ‘Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers* of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places’ (Eph. 6, nf.). Thus Jesus redeems not only from sin but also from astrally imposed fate (which subsequently survived in the notion of Saturn as the wicked fairy in fairytales and as the unlucky seven in astrology), he supplants the rule of the stars, or as Augustine, in the true spirit of the heavenly journey, stresses: ‘Christianity is superior to pagan philosophy because it exorcizes

The word translated as ‘rulers’ in the Authorized Version is translated ‘cosmocrators’ in the German.



the evil spirits beneath the heavens and frees the soul from them’ (cf. De civ. Dei, X). So high and pervasive was the influence of this utopianpedantic image of a journey, the first image that did not lead downwards into Hades but upwards into the light. The first to elaborate the fantasy of death not as a sinking but as a flight, protected and sealed too, with a timetable and highly vivid extravagance. A memory of the gnostic ascension seems to linger on even into Dante’s Mount Purgatory - without demons of course but with a graduated ascent through seven gates. In Gnosis, they open on to the primal light, in Dante on to the Garden of Eden and the wondrous tree. In Gnosis they are the evil planetary spheres, in Dante they have long been purified and incorporated, they themselves constitute the guiding topology. But the soul’s seven-stepped journey through Purgatory certainly survives, closest to Mani’s version, even though the planetary spheres in Dante’s Paradiso did not remain those of the gnostic heavenly journey. And as in Mani, at the end of the journey through Purgatory a beautiful virgin appears, the woman who leads the soul to heaven; Beatrice in Dante, Gretchen in Faust. If the late classical period had produced a great writer, the substance of the heavenly journey would have been more brilliantly apparent than is the case in the accounts of its opponents or even the muddled ‘Pistis Sophia’. Or even in several, partly still extant hymns and liturgical writings, which were collected in the hymn-book of the Manichaean Church. Yet even as it is, this journeymyth contains one of the most-wide-ranging, though also one of the wildest, images of adventure against death and one of the strangest liberation myths against the idea - projected into star-emperors - of fate.

Egyptian heaven in the tomb There was a time when the final fear could be dissuaded more quietly, indeed more intimately. Namely where the whole of life was already transformed into a pre-death. This was the case with the tribes who from the earliest times lived on the lower Nile, they were the first to envy the peaceful tomb. Even before the ancient empire, they had curiously pallid, macabre signs and idols. In the delta, for instance, a tree stripped of its leaves was worshipped, as was the sloughed skin of a snake. No other race has since been so incessantly obsessed with death as the Egyptians, or has so absurdly-wishfully accepted it as the true life. None lavished so much preparation on the art of dying, none paid so much attention



to provision for the dead in the other world. None had so much time and expense to spare on building tombs, none mapped out the Beyond with such meticulous love and care. The Egyptians were also the first to associate moral ideas with those of a good death. As early as the fifth dynasty, a nobleman emphasizes on his tomb: ‘I built this tomb, as my rightful property, I have never taken what belonged to another, I have never done violence to anyone.’ There were of course indulgences that could be purchased from priests, magic formulae on the inside of the coffin or on the sacred scarab which was carved in stone and placed under the mummy’s breast-band. Yet even the magic formulae began with the telling sentence: ‘My heart, do not rise up as a witness against me.’ For the first time in history, a thousand years before the Greeks and more elaborately than in Israel, the wishful thought appears that the fate of the dead should not be merely a continuation of their earthly well-being but should depend on their moral conduct. Judges consign the dead to the good place or the bad, the divine scribe Thoth records the judgement once the dead man’s heart has been weighed, Osiris himself presides. What was lasting in man, however, was not only his soul, this inconstant and so to speak still immature being. It was pictured as a bird with a man’s head, fluttering about at night, a very long way from blessed peace. What is lasting is the primal image of the bodily person himself, the Ka; this solid entelechy went with the person through life and entered the other world after death. It was only for mediation with the Ka that corpses were mummified, and in a higher form of mummification they were immortalized in sculpted form: the art of sculpture was regarded by the rich and powerful as an aid on the path to their immortalization in the other world. The sculpted portrait contained the Ka and was erected in the burial chamber. Thus Diodorus writes: ‘Greater care is devoted to the dwellings of the dead than to those of the living; the Egyptians regard the tombs alone as their true and lasting domicile for all time.’ Their aspiration is thus not only to prolong earthly existence into eternity, but eternal existence itself appears as life in death, indeed fundamentally so. It was to this end that life itself seemed, without decrescendo, to mature or rather to become heavy, acquire dignity; for the child dies shallowly and is barely immersed, whereas the old man sinks deep, finds death-life, schooled by age itself in the con¬ sciousness of death. A culture of death was thus completely sounded out in Egypt, by deep immersion in death, far below the superficial life-line and sun-line, down to the perfection of that which man only incompletely is on earth, down to the living corpse and the depth of age, of the kingdom



of the dead. With the Ka, a utopianized rigidity extends just as much into life as life is meant to extend into a situationless form. The Ka, which is gathered to Osiris, was already on earth the chiselled person, the person of peace, gravity and closedness, who underlies the entire hieratic sculpture of Egypt. As a dry mummy, stitched up for eternity, the person attains his first external form, as geometrical rigidity in stone he attains his true form. The desire to become like stone is, as we have seen, the wishful landscape of Egyptian art in general, and precisely this ‘crystal of death as foreseen perfection’ (cf. Vol. II, p. 723) derives from the desire to become like the dead person himself, has an inorganic goal-form. Not only the tombs themselves, the pyramids and mastabas, are a crystal in which a dead man dwells, as Hegel puts it, hieratic sculpture also conceives the Ka as crystalline, in the block-unity alien to movement, absolutely concordant with the stone. The sense of history, memory, tradition, unprecedented faithfulness to habit fits in with this very well: Egypt as a whole is the wishful land of a space without time, of a sacred geometry. The land to which the dead person now travelled was pleasant but as it were only rigidly animated. Yet it certainly did not seem lightless or, as secluded and as mere underworld, averted from the sun itself. This would have conflicted both with permanently visible calm and with the reverence which was shown to the sun, the setting, not the disappearing sun. The kingdom of the dead was bordered by the subterranean waterway in which the sun-barque, after plunging into the sea, sailed from west to east beneath the earth’s disc. For the heaven above the earth’s disc was also imagined as a land with water, with islands, canals and a sea on which the sun, moon and stars sailed in barques. To this Egypt of the day-heaven cor¬ responded the Egypt of the night-shine of the sun - but of course it corresponded with gravity, with grave. * The continual, cheerfully depicted labours in which the common people are engaged in the other world should not blind us to the living corpses. And the colourful scenes on the inside of feudal coffin-walls or the details in the Egyptian Book of the Dead about ploughing, harvesting, sailing and other activities of an otherworldly plebs, no longer misera but contribuens, cannot conceal the immortality in the immobile ageing style of death more highly suited to people desired to be statuesque. Certainly the king receives from his divine father the sign of ‘life’, the phrase ‘gifted with life’ was from the earliest days one of the Pharaoh’s titles. ‘The hieroglyph of life - not of ordinary earthly life * This is grave in the musical sense here.



but of higher divine life - is the ansate cross which innumerable pictures show the god presenting to the king, often bringing it close to the king’s face so that he can inhale through his nose the aura which emanates from the symbol. Thereby the gods transmit their unique pneuma, the divine breath of life, to the kings, their beloved sons’ (Cf. Norden, Die Geburt des Kindes, 1924, p. 119). But the ‘life’ thus stressed is by no means comparable with earthly life, which is mobile and expresses itself in move¬ ment, nor does such life suit the Pharaoh as such, who has so to speak died even before his death, i.e. has statuesquely become space instead of time. This is why, alongside the ‘life’ hieroglyph which the god hands the Pharaoh, another hieroglyph is always set signifying the idea of ‘permanence’, permanence such as Osiris, the god who is himself dead, holds ready for Sesostris III on the stele in Abydos or such as Ptah, god of mummies and sculptors alike, grants Rameses II. And what is highly peculiar to the Pharaoh is peculiar to every Egyptian who is capable of understanding gravity and its grave,* peculiar as office and goal, as deathoffice and dignified official death. In order that his ‘life’ does not flow out into a dying which is still subject to change but into sacred rigidity, by the Nile of immortalization. Osiris himself is motionless, he was merely awoken to consciousness of death by Isis, it was precisely as the most perfect corpse that he was worshipped along with the sun. This king of the under¬ world was probably a grave-god even in the oldest form in which he was revered, later he also came to be associated with the subterranean course of the sun, as the ruling statue in its kingdom of tombs, its kingdom of the west. So from time immemorial images of Osiris were always macabre; indeed the above-mentioned prehistoric fetish of the tree stripped of its leaves was applied to Osiris, as his hieroglyph. The official art of the ancient empire always depicts this god as a corpse swathed in mummy’s bands, indeed the middle empire and particularly the late period even enshrined Ptah, the highest god. He too was finally depicted as a grave-figure, as the mummy of a bald priest; thus Ptah, the creator of the world, became the tutelary god of the royal tombs, finally merging with Osiris. Osiris himself was and remained ‘the first of those in the west’, the powerful magic formulae of his wife Isis freed him from the paralysis of physical death, but only for him to represent living death, resurrection into happy death. From the middle empire onwards, the dead person is simply referred to as Osiris N. N., as if he were the god himself (Cf. Erman, Agypten This is grave in the musical sense again here.



und agyptisches Leben im Altertum, 1923, p. 347); so unquestionably did the wishful image of perfection lie for the Egyptians in the wishful land of a divine corpse-existence. No speech, no song reached this far, Osiris was the silent god par excellence, it was forbidden to make music in his temple at Abydos. The image of the peace of death came into the world via Egypt, and significantly this peace consisted neither in extinction nor conversely in a kind of higher, intensified life. The peace of Osiris was rather that of a changeless, permanent state, of death without paralysis, yet also without the drama of hell and heaven. In short, the Egyptian wishful death was petrification in undisturbed doing and being, it was for this that the dead Osiris and the sun of the underworld shone. The myths of repetition which for the Greeks signified damnation, with an added element of futility (Tantalus, Sisyphus, the Danaides), here signify everlasting bliss. The definite element, which is hence eternally the same, is the same in the Egyptian death-wish as actions of the Ka, as the joys of the finally perfected statue.

Biblical resurrection and apocalypse It is surprising that for a very long time among the Jews the final fear was not considered or dreamt over. This race was as this-worldly as the Greeks, but its life was directed incomparably more towards future things, towards goals. Nonetheless, the wish for and images of the afterlife emerged only slowly, although they were then cheerful about it, vengeful about it. Until then long life and well-being on earth put off and pushed down the end, down into Sheol, the distant underworld. There was in ancient Israel an ancestor cult and a cult of the dead, which presupposes belief in an afterlife, but this still belonged to the magical practices adopted by the Canaanites, not to the true faith. When Saul invokes the dead spirit of Samuel through the witch of Endor, he commits a sin; moreover, the ascending spirit is described not as a man but as ‘Elohim’ (1 Samuel 28,13), therefore as a supernatural being, not a soul. The same applies to a remarkable and evidently very early passage on Enoch: ‘And Enoch walked with God; and he was not; for God took him’ (Genesis 5, 24). These, like the trans¬ lation of Elijah, are great exceptions and are distinguished as such. But above all: it is Elohim, not men, who are behind these immortal names. It is even possible that Enoch, who was 365 years old, was the name of an earlier sun-god; Elijah, too, rode in a ‘chariot of fire’. Sheol, the



underworld of the grave, remained instead for a long time man’s lot, as in the Book of Job (around 400


though here with a note of

Promethean revolt: ‘If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness. I have said to corruption, Thou art my father: to the worm, Thou art my mother and my sister’ (Job 17, I3f.). The break¬ through of immortality in Judaism came only with the prophet Daniel (around 160


and the impetus behind it did not come from the old

wish for long life, for well-being on earth, now transcendentally prolonged. On the contrary, it came from Job and the prophets, from a thirst for justice; thus the wish became a postulate, the post-mortal scene became an outand-out tribunal. Belief in the afterlife here became one of the means of allaying doubts about God’s justice on earth; above all the hope of resur¬ rection itself became a legal-moral hope. As we have seen, there had already been a much more elaborate judgement of the dead in Egypt, but a crucial new element, designed to shake the composure of the rich and of the masters, was introduced in late Israel. For the basic motif of the demanded resurrection now becomes threatening, it is to make up for the absence of an earthly judgement: ‘And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that shall be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.’ (Dan. 12, 2ff.). This is the moral incursion of the hope of resurrection into the true faith, independent of the cult of the dead, magic rites, gods made men; and it is the first incursion. The ostensibly earlier revelation in some Psalms - notably in Psalm 49,15: ‘But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave:* for he shall receive me’, and the verse in Isaiah 26, 19: ‘Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise’ - in fact dates from a period as late as Daniel, is interpolated like the complex of Isaiah chapters 24-27. Yet even according to Daniel not all, only many will awaken, i.e. only the godly Jewish martyrs and only the worst bloodhounds among the wicked. Even the latter will not yet awaken to hell-fire but to shame and everlasting contempt, so that they witness the triumph of the just. Universal resurrection itself that of all mankind, is first pronounced in the picture-speeches of the Ethiopian Book of Enoch, towards the end of the first century


Some of the

colour of the Egyptian judgement of the dead and the Persian teaching of the world conflagration rubbed off here. The Book of Enoch not only The word translated as ‘grave’ in the Authorized version is ‘Sheol’ in the German.



made Daniel’s promise universal, it also introduced into it, for the first time, the extravagantly depicted scene of hell, heaven and the Last Judgement. And the Apocalypse of Ezra in the first century a.d. turns this Last Judgement into a last revelation: ‘For after death, shall the judgement come, when we shall live again: and then shall the names of the righteous be manifest, and the works of the ungodly shall be declared’ (2 Ezra 14, 35). The age-old Egyptian idea of the Book of Life in which the weight of human deeds is recorded made its influence felt here. The scribe-god Thoth who held this office at the Egyptian Judgement of the Dead returns as the angel of Yahweh, indeed as Yahweh himself. The record is opened every year on the Jewish New Year’s Day and closed on the Day of Atonement, the highest and most solemn Jewish holy day. It is a post-mortally focussed day of repentance for which, signifi¬ cantly, there is no textual evidence whatever in pre-exile Judaism, it is not mentioned in the so-called Book of the Covenant in the section in which the order of feasts is laid down (Exodus 23). The Book of Judgement myth itself was, after all, interpolated into an old text, as in Exodus 32, 32L The first Isaiah also mentions it: ‘And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem’ (Isaiah 4,3). This has survived in Luke 10, 20: ‘but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven’, it continues to resound in the church requiem: ‘Liber scriptus proferetur in quo totum continetur.’* With the wishful and dream prospect of the justice of at least a Day of Judgement or Last Judgement and its aftermath gaining strength, the time of course now came for a reinterpretation of supposedly earlier accounts. In particular the Genesis account of the antediluvian patriarch Enoch and his translation now aroused great interest; in late Jewish literature he was regarded as the first of those who had escaped Sheol, indeed escaped death itself. A ‘Book of Enoch’, a ‘Book of the Mysteries of Enoch’ was now written in which the mysteries of the next world, which the patriarch had seen, were extensively fantasized: the Epistle of Jude in the New Testament celebrates Enoch, ‘the seventh from Adam’, as the prophet of the Last Judgement (Ep. Jud. I4f.). The utopia of resurrection thus finally became orthodox, despite evident resistance, probably from ‘Epicurean’ Sadducee circles (‘which deny that there is any resurrection’, Luke 20, 27). In Christ’s time a Sanhedrin decree was published: ‘Nobody has any part in the future world who says that the revival of the dead cannot be proved from the

* ‘The written book will be brought forward in which everything is contained.’ From Thomas de Celano’s poem ‘Dies Irae’.



Torah.’ Hence from the Pentateuch, where there is definitely no such article of faith to be found: unless in the above-mentioned ancestor cult which, apart from its magical rites, scarcely went beyond the scale of a localized grave-cult. Soon very silly images of the end were puffing themselves up, and some even found their way into the Talmud, as for example a future Leviathan: ‘This is the fish-monster whose flesh the elect will eat after the twilight of the world and from whose skin a tent will be made beneath which the just of all races will dwell in bliss’; the sea-beast thus became a kind of other-worldly manna. One that does not diminish with eating, which shows that even the awesome giant Leviathan (Job 41, 2-26) will one day serve the blessed for the best. With renewed dogmatic force, Maimonides, in the thirteen articles of his credo, ordained the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body. In his ‘Orpheus’, Salomon Reinach observes, not quite correctly, that these articles are as far removed from biblical Judaism as the Catholicism of the Council of Trent from the gospels. As for the resurrection in Maimonides, there had been emo¬ tional preparation for it in post-exile Judaism and, from the time of Daniel onwards, legal-moral preparation. Above the fear of physical death loomed the terror of a second death, the damnation which awaited the wicked. Jesus himself shared this belief, which had become deeply rooted among the popular classes, and he spoke from within it, as a threatener as well as a saviour. He referred to the resurrection as a self-evident act, one which would be dangerous for most (Matt. 11, 24, Luke 10, 12); in Jesus’ sect, belief in the resurrection and judgement was part of the doctrine of the beginning of Christian life in general (Hebr. 6, if.). The heavens therefore had to shine all the more radiantly, all the more powerful, over and above the political promise of the Lord’s Anointed, was the influence of the promise of eternal life. As victory over the second death, beyond the first, beyond merely physical annihilation, which leaves the soul to heaven or to hell. Thus from Daniel onwards, finally also under Iranian influences, immortality was introduced into a drama of the most enormous power, a not only individual-future but cosmic-future drama; into world conflagra¬ tion with sheer night, sheer light behind it. All men are present during this, this is the new meaning of the Day of Judgement, it does not take place in front of a random last generation and an unpeopled nature. Indeed the world of the apocalypse in which late Judaism arrives would have seemed futile and subjectless to the faithful if it had not concerned and rewarded a resurrected gathering of all mankind since Adam. All the more burning the will to get on the right, the victorious side.



Jesus first appeared as a healer, and it was as a healer, not yet politically or even as a deliverer from sins, that he attracted followers. He fights against the first death and the sickness unto it, he first cures the lame, the blind, the bleeding, he raises a man from the dead. The early, utterly sorcerous accounts of miracles are filled with such things; not yet with repentance. This came only later, in sermons, as the heritage of John the Baptist, and then again in connection with raising from the second death. Thus these not at all inward but magical-material words are uttered: ‘Whether is easier, to say, thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?’ (Luke 5, 23). According to the already Pneumatic interpreta¬ tion of Luke, it was to show people that the Son of Man had the power to forgive sins that the Jesus of this passage healed, but he was influential as the bread of life, not only as the forgiver of sins. And he triumphed, after the baptism into his death, most emphatically as the resurrection and the life. As the first among those believed to have risen from the dead, the bringer of the second or heavenly life against the second death or hell. Redemption from deadly sin was the root or the stem, but redemption from death was the eagerly sought fruit of Judaeo- and even more so of pagan Christianity at that time. Hence the word of an as it were sacred taurobolium: ‘Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day’ (John 6, 54). Hence in particular the definition which, in the least factual and most Pneumatic of the gospels, summarizes all the signs and miracles: ‘I am the resurrection, and the Life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live’ (John 11, 25). What a difference from the classical gods, who are strangers to death but also to resurrection. They may indeed appear at the last hour, in Euripides for instance Artemis comes to Hippolytus’ deathbed, yet she certainly does not promise him immortality but a temple and fame after death, and then the goddess, who has herself never tasted death, leaves him to die. ‘Into thy hands I commend my spirit’:* no Greek could say this to one of his gods. Yahweh of course had till then scarcely been associated with immortality; and with Jesus we even find the following outbidding: ‘Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.. .1 am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever’ (John 6, 49 and 51). Nonetheless, the substance of eternal life itself, the substance hitherto posited as unknown, is now claimed and posited in the Father too, having been made known by Luke 23, 46.



Jesus: ‘But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel’ (2 Tim. 1, 10). Jesus leads a second exodus from Egypt, away from the spirit of Osiris: ‘For he is not a god of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him’ (Luke, 20, 38). And the miracle of Easter is believed in, even without the Pauline idea of Christ’s sacrifice, in the incipient communion with this substance: ‘For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself’ (John5, 26). Precisely those baptized into Christ’s death are now also to be baptized into his resurrection, into the real Enoch or the real ‘first among those who have risen from the dead’. And it is from here that the impulse or Easter-utopia of Christian art communicates itself, especially, as we have seen, of organic, meta-organic and Gothic art. It is not the desire to become like stone, on the contrary: ‘The tree of life as forseen perfection, reproduced in a Christ-like way’ (cf. Vol. II, p. 726); this becomes the final wishful landscape of Gothic art. Life has supposedly escaped from death, although always only for those justified through Christ, never in the second death for the damned, never in hell. The latter was in fact made just as inevitable as heaven; hell and heaven together constitute the locale of exitus, now completely universalized. Nothing remains of the whole of creation except the duality of punishment and reward, of shrieking and singing, of hell and heaven. As for the moment of entry into one or the other, two ideas, impatient and patient, stand side by side, although excluding one another. For as soon as the second of death coincided with the end of the world, man could be consigned to hell or heaven immediately, not just on the Day of Judgement. Hell in particular was thought of as the near future, already standing behind the sinner’s deathbed, with claws open, hungry eyes and gaping maw. Moreover, in the later Christian era the savage punishments meted out by courts incorporated and anticipated pure hell; breaking on the wheel, impaling, quartering, the burning of witches did not have to wait for the devil. In other ways, too, the Christian other world, as damnation, obtruded into life on all sides, attics and crossroads, ravines and the largely uncleared forests were full of ghostly spirits which could find no peace, of an already immediate postmortal dreadfulness. Dogma puts purgatory immediately after the end of life, but in Dante heaven and hell are decisions that have already been taken, a Last Judgement can no longer alter these iron conditions. The tombs in the Inferno have simply not been closed, the rectangular sarcophagi in that silent, dismally burning hall, filled with people and torments, are simply waiting to be sealed for



eternity on the Day of Judgement. Otherwise the end of the world scarcely adds anything to Dante’s brimstone caves or circles of light, the Book of Life already seems to be opened. True, Jesus himself loads all terror, all deliverance, essentially on to a future day only, though one which is close at hand; all the same, there are anticipations of paradise. For the good thief on the cross, for Lazarus, who is carried by angels straight to the bosom of Abraham, without grave or resurrection (Luke 16, 22). The only unanimous point here is that our condition in the future world depends on our behaviour and our permeation by Christ in this world; after death the sowing is over, only the harvest follows. And it is absolutely dualistic: inconceivable torment, inconceivable joy crown short life, in a contrast which no expectations of the other world, not even those of Egypt, had previously known. It is the Manichaean antithesis between night and light, which, as one between two independent super-powers, was rejected by the Church everywhere else, but makes itself absolute in its other world. The antithesis had not been so permanent from the beginning, in 1 Corin¬ thians 15, 21-29 Paul denied the eternity of hell, in Romans 6, 23 he affirmed it; Origen, founder of the doctrine of purgatory, said that all spirits, even demons, would one day return purified to God. But the Church, in one of the harshest of its dogmas, ruled that the punishments of hell were eternal; precisely the new God of Love concealed in this place a far deeper quagmire of cruelty than even Ahriman. The state of punishment for sin, aversio a Deo, was of course always regarded by dogma only as a reverse image of transfiguration. If heaven is the transformation of nature into light, then hell is transformation into the blaze of a world conflagration, so that negatively transfigured nature constantly feels on the verge of annihilation. Indeed in Catholic revenge-utopia, hell is attributed to the different sight of the same God: the damned also apperceive divine love, but, because they have rejected it, only as loss and wrath (cf. Scheeben, Die Mysterien des Christentums, 1912, p. 587). Paradise appears all the more sublime, as vita aeterna above the contrasting dungeons of mors aeterna: ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him’ (1 Cor. 2, 9). Literal Becoming-God is inscribed on the supreme wishful image against death, not only in heretical mysticism but in the most correct place of all so to speak, in the Catechismus Romanus (I, ch. 13, qu. 6): ‘Those who enjoy the sight of God, although they retain their own substance, put on a single and almost divine form, so that they seem more like gods than men (tamen quandam et prope divinam formam induunt, ut dii potius



quam homines videantur).’ It was through such great images of hope that the future apocalypse gained victory over the first individual-postmortal one which allowed the soul to be in paradise this day,* without the end of the world. The dead are now, apart from purgatory, no nearer the mysteries of transposed, mythologized revenge- and triumph-utopia than the living; on the contrary, their bodies sleep against them. The period of advent, for the living and the dead, ends only with Christ’s second coming, even though the records of the dead have already been logged and the opened book at the end of the world merely reveals their contents. Doubt in divine justice, which had been placated in so many ways, now found its final and at least no longer empirically refutable placation: retribution on the Day of Judgement. The Church of course simply used the Apocalypse as an instrument of control (i.e. as the future image of the ecclesia triumphans), and not as the victory of the strangled over the great Babylon which it had itself become. Nonetheless, retribution for all the living after death, for all the dead after the last trumpet, retained a wishful revolutionary meaning for those that labour and are heavy laden, who could not help themselves in reality or were defeated in the struggle. Postponed ad calendas apocalypticas, the Day of Judgement was still expected at any hour, and later it came to be expected soonest in revolutionary times, during the Albigensian wars and during the German Peasants’ War. Here Christ’s Daniel-like sermon sounded different than in the churches, and so too did the ‘Dies irae, dies ilia, solvet saeclum in favilla’,t the ‘Iudex ergo cum sedebit, quidquid latet, apparebit, nil inultum remanebit’.J Nothing will remain unavenged: here Daniel’s postulate of immortality is at work, as a legal-moral and not as a comfortably-persevering one, and it became great. The crucified Jesus himself not only rises from the dead but returns as a judge at the end of time: with the same archetype that has accompanied so many defeated revolutions. With the cry: we shall return, with the meaning: as avenger and complete victory the former martyrdom will return. This is an arch-utopian archetype, even though the apocalypse which contains it, with its fixed duality of hell and heaven, also reproduced and perpetuated the duality of the old class society. Here the returning Jesus is definitely no longer depicted as gentle and longsuffering, nor are his disciples: ‘And I saw heaven opened, and behold Cf. Luke 23, 43. t ‘The day of wrath, that day will reduce the world to ashes.’ From Thomas of Celano’s thirteenth-century poem ‘Dies Irae’. Cf. Zephaniah 1, 15. t ‘So when the judge is in session, whatever is hidden will be made evident, and nothing will remain unavenged.’ A further stanza from Celano’s poem.



a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written that no man knew, but he himself’ (Rev. 19, nf.). Death, the old enemy, is nowhere to be found in the New Jerusalem, not even as a memory: ‘And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away’ (Rev. 21, 4). In Egypt the absence of suffering and tears coincided with death, the stony bliss of Osiris; in Christianity the kingdom is preached not to the dead but the living, and children could be raised up even from stones (Matt. 3, 9). In place of the Styx, Hades, Osiris, the angel of the Apocalypse shows the purely organic: ‘And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month’ (Rev. 22, if.). Permeated though it is with Babylonian astral myths, and thus with inorganic images, the Apocalypse nonetheless contains the most emphatic equation of basic New Testament categories: Phos - Zoe, light - life. Beside the hideous quagmire of hell, later to prove so useful to the Church, stood the highest of all castles in the air, the pure light-castle of paradise. Christ’s Ascension was considered the highway to it; in Christianity, this Easter myth became absolute, that of the end.

Mohammedan heaven, strength of the flesh, magic garden For a long time it was considered noble to die at the hands of the enemy. Such a death ostensibly seems more light-hearted than the so-called ‘straw death’ in bed. Many aggressive drives released in battle aim not only at the opponent, they also drag in the combatant’s own body. An often indiscriminate mixture thus results, a raging in general death, becoming faceless as it were. This is the frenzy of battle; once it erupts, nothing is more alien to it than the cold sweat of fear. The brave soldier who dies at the hands of the enemy immediately enters, among all warlike races, a happy other world, further painted as orgiastic. Where the use of arms continues as a game, and the other joys, such as carousing, booty, women, fill the warrior’s convalescence. Islam, since the time Mohammed drew his sword against Mecca, has brought at least the glow of war into peace,



into the warrior’s convalescence and the enjoyment of peace which this other world represents. Before the battle of Bedr, Mohammed told his troops that none would die without entering paradise immediately: ‘Between heaven and us is nothing but the enemy.’ As for this heaven itself: all forms of war, all the eternal hunting grounds and all the battles of Valhalla are absent from it, yet a heaven of the victorious battle remains, and it gleams fanatically. Precisely its pleasure, its often-invoked sensuality, are as insatiable as the frenzy of war, and its repose is that which follows a hot day. Seven hells open to engulf traitors and the unjust, seven heavens await the steadfast and the faithful; the wishful quality of these heavens is only hinted at in the Koran, but legend and commentators later elaborated it all the more richly, partly in accordance with Talmudic legends. But as the missionary wars waned and the enjoyment of Arab merchant and princely capital increased, the paradise of the green flags began to wane; it changed more and more into a peace which no longer needs victory, and into a seraglio. Yet precisely for this reason bliss and ardour remain, as emotions which still clearly come from battle; they ensure that the blessed ride with fanaticism, not with weakness, into woman and into peace. Heavenly maidens who never tire receive them, they are borne like thoughts on sweet winds, and they appear - a sublime motif - in the form of those favourite women most loved in life. Behind the seven planets are the gates of the seven paradises, and when they open we find that the highest wishful dream is the harem. But it is now one of lasting virginity, of ecstasy with evening coolness and purity: ‘On embroidered cushions the blessed rest, attended by youths with cups, bowls and dishes of the clear liquid which does not intoxicate and does not make gloomy, with all the fruits that they desire and all the flesh of birds that they wish for. Attended by houris, with big eyes like pearls in the shell, as a reward for good deeds. The blessed there hear no idle words nor sin, only peace, peace, peace’ (Koran, Sura 56). The religious folklore of Islam was tireless in producing further, more detailed wishful images from those of the Koran. The moment of pleasure is prolonged for a thousand years, paradise lies in the lap of the lovely ones, in an embrace in which earthly love merges into heavenly. Even sleep is enlivened by the singing of angels and by the harmonies of trees from which hang bells stirred by a wind sent from the throne of Allah. The music of the spheres is recognizable here and the world-tree of ancient oriental myth from which the stars hang as fruit or bells. But towering above all other trees is the tree of happiness, whose trunk stands in the palace of the prophet, whose boughs extend into the dwellings of



the blessed; everything the heart could wish for grows on its branches. This is the garden of Allah: clearly it borders closest on ideas of the earthly paradise formulated throughout the Middle Ages. The Arab paradise also became the model for every Cythera, and it is Armida’s magic garden in Tasso. It is the Isle of Venus on which the brave Portuguese land in Camoes’s ‘Lusiads’, an Elysium which masquerades as Greek, but is thoroughly oriental. How far all this is from Christ’s cool sentence about the blessed: ‘For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven’ (Matt. 22, 30). Consequently the Arab paradise lingers on as a counterpart to the Castle of the Grail in Klingsor’s magic garden: the flower-maidens in ‘Parsifal’ are the houris before the cross withers them. Indeed even real mysticism was never repelled by such so-called crudely sensual depictions of the other world, not even by paradise in the lap of a houri. Because almost more than the Mohammedan, the Christian and Jewish love of God incorporated voluptuous images, without wishful maidens but with Allah himself. The Cabbala heightened the mysticism of the Song of Songs even to the pious blasphemy of a divine harem: ‘In the most mysterious and exalted place in heaven towers a castle of love; there deep miracles take place; there the souls most loved by the heavenly king are gathered; there lives the heavenly king and unites with the holy souls in the kisses of love.’ So says the Book of Sohar in the Cabbala, which nevertheless handsomely outdoes the so-called crudely material happiness of the Mohammedan paradise. Matter, according to the Arab notion, is uncreated, therefore everlasting, Allah is uncreated, therefore everlasting; both thus fill paradise. Alongside this, however, stood pure doctrines of the soul, immortalities without resurrection of the body, as in Avicenna; Averroes moreover denied the survival of the individual soul, allowing only the immortality of a general intellect common to all men. But these doctrines, half materialisms, half spiritualizations, did not penetrate into the Mohammedan church, let alone into popular belief; it was precisely because of its rejection of corporeal paradise that this enlightenment could be discredited. Its writings were destroyed, its doctrines were regarded as emanations of the Shei'tan, i.e. the destroyer and death-bringer himself. Allah is he who never sleeps, and similar enjoyment is had by his disciples, whom he has chosen to enjoy consciousness of an utterly pure and present happiness. These images of happiness in the other world retain their characteristic sensual-supersensual tone, they corresponded to the powerful nature of their founder, indeed despite all their transcendence they contained more than enough water



of life, in that wishful image of love’s awakening, eternal spring of love, which resounds in Goethe’s ‘West-ostlicher Divan’. ‘He who sent down water from the heavens in the measure with which we awakened the fields, the dead fields, even thus shall you come out of your graves’ (Koran, Sura 43). Everything becomes oasis, including the bones of the body, and the dry, hot desert, also inconceivably intensified, goes to hell. Earthly and spiritual paradise coincide in this kind of other world, after death the weakness of the flesh is removed from the brave and the just, the strength of the spirit is dreamt and led into a Sabbath of pure garden and woman.

Sheer repose seeks deliverance even from heaven, the wishful image of nirvana But what if life is feared more than dying? If death itself appears only as a part of restless and unloved life? Then it is taken for granted that beyond death this restless existence immediately continues, as being reborn or also as resurrection. Yet this survival does not seem a consolation, for it is precisely changeful existence that is feared, and dying, most of all, is part of it. Birth and death, death and birth or resurrection then appear as alternating forms in the same Being. Fear of death is then replaced by fear of life or more precisely by fear of Being, of which life and death are only parts. This man wishes away death only because he wishes away the rebirth which he fears beyond death; we have already encountered something similar in the Orphic hatred of the cycle of births, although here there was also the will to attain unconsciousness and non-being drunkenly, enthusiastically. The uniform life-death hatred works quite differently, where the very ‘thirst’ of Being itself has to be overcome; where an exit pure and simple is wished for. Despite great differences in detail, the entire religious instruction of India, from the Vedas to Buddha, promotes this. Virtues are also included as means to this end, but by no means fundamentally and definitively. For even virtuous craving still binds a person to life, even the passion for the good belongs for the most part to the world of ‘clinging’, of the will. It would be too much to claim that no private morality was taught in India, there too there are certainly religious, even sanctified virtues. They are grouped around mildness, patience, compassion, indeed the Bhagavad-Gita, long before Buddha, contains the most moving guiding image of mildness. Krishna says: ‘Fearlessness and purity, the will to freedom, fullness of love for all that



lives, endurance, the spirit of self-sacrifice, seclusion and self-control, renunciation, innocence, love of truth, goodness, generosity, mercifulness, patience, modesty and serenity, inner repose, constancy, a joyful tempera¬ ment, wrathlessness, chastity and strength, clearness of understanding and a peaceful heart: these are the qualities of all beings who are destined for a heavenly birth.’ Yet sin is not the power which is ultimately hostile to redemption, and virtue alone does not redeem; on the contrary, ascetiscism and passive contemplation are decisive here. This world-fleeing and thus thoroughly spiritual instruction was in the long run only slightly affected by the existing irreligious, materialistic thinkers in India. For better than anything else it kept the people long-suffering, for the benefit of a very long-lived, despotic, slave-owning society, and equally quietism (into which even the fabulous willpower technique of yoga finally flowed) distracted the intelligentsia from any desire for social change. This is already so in the Upanishads and even more so in the instructions of Buddha, alien to every act and worldly. Morality here does improve the karma, i.e. the causality of retribution and reward which exists between the deeds of a previous incarnation and the state, indeed the rank, of a later incarnation; however, morality does not yet end the cycle of rebirths itself. Only illumination will end this, so that with the will in general the evil will also ceases, indeed becomes indifferent, so that with overall indifference to the world moral indifference also arises: the holy man may do wrong, for he can do no wrong. He has escaped from the ethical retribution mechanics of the karma, and therefore from ethical requirement, ‘to the holy man no deed clings’. Of course this is combined, in Buddhism though not in Hindu teaching, with an even more sublime indifference: apathy towards gods. The holy man leaves the gods behind him too, with regard to the heavenly world too - acosmism proves itself even more radically. For the heavenly world is still world, and thus the wishful image of nirvana set up against death as well as life becomes, in its way, atheistic. And it becomes atheistic because it is acosmic, because to the holy man world and world beyond are both illusions. When Buddha stood up from the tree under which he received illumination, the gods bowed down before him, indeed a pupil of the exalted one later instructed the king of gods about the laws of transitoriness, to which even the heavenly ones are subject. The Indian holy man certainly did not achieve his status by grace and ranks not only, like the Christian saint, above angels; rather he is the ‘Tathagata’, he who redeems himself, whereas even the king of heaven and all the gods right down to the swarm of local and functional deities belong to Samsara,



the illusory world, which lies at the holy man’s feet, which indeed for him has already passed away. Even paradise, which, according to Hindu teaching, receives the almost-perfect ones, is finite, along with the ‘fivehundred-voiced heavenly music’, and it passes away along with the ignorance to which Samsara owes its existence. Hell, however, is - Samsara itself, changeful existence, the infinite realm of rebirths, the depiction of which in Indian art certainly represents the Inferno. Shiva, the demon in the Hindu trinity, as well as wearing the necklace of skulls, also holds the lingam as the symbol of procreation, and Krishna, in the eleventh song of the Bhagavad-Gita, shows to Ardjuna the river of life as a horrific mixture of the the slaughterhouse and the maternity home, as the jaws of hell which devour their children, give birth to their food. And it is this pessimism, now more anticosmic than acosmic, which gives rise to the difference between the Indian doctrine of the transmigration of souls and its European revivals, especially in the Cabbala, with its affirmation of recurrence. What to the Indians appears as hell, ‘the repeated transposition of souls’, the Cabbala conversely calls a ‘mercy of God over Israel’. A mercy in that man, through the transmigration of souls, is given more than one life for the active perfection of his talents. However, this moral-instrumental evaluation of the birth-wheel is completely alien to Buddhism, which of course does not recognize any god capable of showing mercy to one following the path of perfection. Nirvana ends once and for all life and death, history and rebirth, earthly morality and heavenly reward; true immortality is the extinguishing of mortality and immortality at the root which is seen as identical for both: the ‘thirst’, or the ‘urge’. Only Hinduism knows a number of wishful goals outside nirvana, within world and world beyond. So that here too the wishes are finally directed towards repose, indeed the rewards for the holy are graduated according to the measure of repose. Hindu teaching promises, at the bottom of the scale, rebirth in a happier position than the present; higher up, rebirth in a creative paradise, but for a limited time and so that later a birth occurs on earth again; higher still, absorption with no time limit into the blissful presence of a heavenly god (Vishnu), i.e. immortality of the individual existence in the One or in nirvana (though the latter wishful goal is not wholly orthodox within Hinduism). Buddhism, on the other hand, confines innerworldly and outer-worldly goods to devout laymen; it sees the goal itself as simply detached from this. Precisely as that radical abstraction which levels That-Which-Is and theistic illusion - as if they were both the same - into the appearance of a noise, leaving only the omission itself as truth.



Nirvana remains nothing but destruction of existence in both forms: extinction of earth and heaven. How does this state, if it is already reached before death, differ from mere deep sleep? The Indian control, even turning off, of the will has various stages, but only the last leads out of the ‘thirst’. The Yogis exercise astonishing power over respiration and circulation, they know outer rigidity and ‘inner stillness of the body’. Yet all this is striven for only to give the Yogi extraordinary power, especially that of telepathy, real or faked, it does not matter here. All this remains in the world of the will, one which is especially intensified, and moreover it remains connected with the ego, though of course not in the European sense of the word. Real meditation, as taught by Buddhism, means something utterly different: the emptying of consciousness to create space for the ‘atma’, i.e. for the Self which is superior to the individual soul and which is always essentially identical and one. Buddhism knows no ego in the fixed European sense, even the being that is incarnated in new births is not the former human person. It cannot be, if only for the reason that the Buddhist doctrine of the transmigration of souls also envisages a fall into the animal world for great sinners, right down to the lowest incarnation: the worm in a dog’s anus; where such violent changes are to occur, the human ego cannot be or remain a carrier. That which carries and underlies all is merely the ‘thirst’ for existence, and it is this alone which, as soon as an individual disintegrates in death, causes a new one to come together, burdened with the karma of its predecessor. The ego itself is also a hallucination, just as the experiences of the supposed ego after death are described as hallucina¬ tions, regardless of the fact that it is certainly part of the priestly function to record them. Precisely the pictured hallucination is used in Buddhism as a signpost through hallucinations. An example of this is the practice of Kundalinu yoga, initiation into the events of dying, so that the lethal man can rapidly rise above its illusory images. Particularly instructive here is the recently edited Tibetan Book of the Dead, a late manual or communi¬ cation not exactly filled with the spirit of the Illuminated One, but nonetheless an astonishing document of Indian faith in the welfare of the soul beyond death, on the basis of the doctrine of hallucination. The Book of the Dead (Bardo Thodol) dates from the eighth century a.d., was written by the founder of Lamaism, the Buddhist priest Padma Sambhava, and it intends nothing less than a guided tour of the corpse-ego through ‘the forty-nine days between death and rebirth’. The guided tour consists of the priest continually whispering to the dead man a kind of travel



information on the terrors and temptations which recur daily in this interim state; with the priest interpreting these experiences to him as pure hallucina¬ tions. Thus the dead person is freed from his postmortal nightmares, thus he is above all to be protected from the temptations of a bad rebirth, which clothes itself in luring appearances, appearances all the more false, voluptuous and dangerous the closer the soul, in the arc of reincarnation, again approaches earthly Samsara. Classical Buddhism knew nothing of the practices of such a Book of the Dead, but the hallucination doctrine of the ego and of Samsara, which paints delusions for the ego even in death, is nonetheless classical in origin. And with Buddha the hallucination of personality disintegrates not with death but with the end of wanting: ‘The complete and utter dissolution, repulsion, driving out, cancellation, extermi¬ nation of this very thirst, brother Visakho, this is the dissolution of personality, the exalted one said’ (Die Reden Gotamo Buddhos, German translation by Neumann, I, p. 692). And that which follows this dis¬ solution, nirvana, certainly cannot be equated with, or even interpreted in terms of, states of bodily existence, i.e. of the complex of individuation. Nirvana is not deep sleep, least of all death; for death comes to men anyway, and exclusively from the will to life. Buddha is not called the one who has fallen asleep but ‘the completely awoken one’, and nirvana promises man no other world either, no divine heaven, has nothing more in common with the earthly aspect on to death and after-death. It is the wishful image of wishes forgotten, eliminated at their roots, it is the prize of the man who has turned away ‘who without self-torment, without tormenting others, has already burnt out in his lifetime, become extinguished, cool, who feels well, has become holy in heart’ (Reden II, p. 160). Deep sleep can be enjoyed by the Hindu gods who are part of the world, and whenever it appears here it comes across as primitive and comic, not elapsed. What a contrast of values between the unworldly absorbed Buddha and the Hindu god who has also been slumbering for aeons, but in a slumber of worldly indolence: his head, his body, his feet repose in the lap of his women, a lake of milk and sugar flows unceasingly into this god;- it is as if deep sleep is held up in this godly grotesque as a contrast to nirvana, which does not recover for anything or in anything. Precisely because of its acosmism and the incomparability which is founded on it, nirvana is left so completely vague. In constantly repeated negations which again cancel one another out, it is described merely as ‘dispersal’ or ‘extinction’ or ‘dissolving of illusions’ or ‘drying up of thirst’. At the very most Buddha causes a reflection from an empty water surface or ether to fall into this



repose; thus nirvana is also called ‘inner calm of the sea’ or ‘blissful serenity in the unity of the mind’. Yet this last definition is simply confined to the way to nirvana; it therefore applies to mystical psychology in general, which is everywhere related, and as ‘unity of mind’ may remind us of Eckhart’s ‘sparks’ or ‘castle in the depths of the soul’, but it certainly does not apply to Buddha’s mystical content. Buddha, despite his teaching that the ‘illusion of not knowing’ was the worst of all, rejected all thoughtfulness in the mystical sphere as detrimental to salvation; the study of nirvana in particular was regarded almost as heresy by correct Buddhism. It cannot ultimately even be thought of in terms of mysticism any more, beyond its mere mystical psychology. In terms which are familiar from the mysticism of all regions, and which in Europe were formulated above all by Plotinus, it is called the simple, the uncompounded, above all the inexpressible. But nirvana is different from the inexpressible of mysticism if only because, in Plotinus, the Sufis and Meister Eckhart, rapture at ‘sheer nothingness’ is ecstatic, whereas nirvana is coolness itself. Thus as an antiwishful image the most remote wishful image is meant to console here, which men have set up against death or rather against that changeful existence which includes death as its other side. The apparent reference to the mere conquest of death is also meant in just the same way, when Buddha, pedagogically revealing coolness, i.e. without coolness, shouts to the monks to whom he first brings his teaching: ‘Lend me your ears, you monks, immortality is found’; or when unmistakable jubilation gives the password: ‘Let the drum of immortality boom out in the dark world’ (Reden II, p. 58iff.). However, this kind of awakening has nothing at all in common with conquest of death and immortality as a resurrection, let alone as a life. Here instead is that immortality without mortality and immortality, which Buddha claims to be the first to have found, as a reposeNovum above death and life and heaven. ‘Dried up is birth, ended is asceticism, the work is done, this world is no more’: that is, as immor¬ tality in absolute nothingness, wishful overcoming of the worthless nothingness which life is for Buddha and the fraudulent nothingness which death represents for Buddha.



III. Enlightened and Romantic Euthanasias

The freethinker as strong thinker Everyone has often already stood up from the table and gone to rest. To the enlightened mind it seemed wise to become accustomed to this when dying too. It seemed not only wise, but pleasant; for if life is snuffed out like a candle in a room and one becomes a sleeper over whom no-one has power, then uneasiness about what may be to come also falls away. So gentle-shallow is the relief which the enlightened mind began to feel and which sweetened the end of his self. It seemed senseless to believe that a man, who only a short time before had arisen from nothingness, should be immortal. It seemed particularly intolerable to believe that finite deeds are requited by infinite punishments or even rewards. If the prospect of being compensated after death for his good behaviour disappeared, so too did the far greater and more widespread fear of the wages of sin. Freethinkers were thus freed from a fear which had furthermore broken into the ordinary fear of death and far outweighed it. They considered it no bad exchange to earn immeasurably long repose in return for the brief shock of dying. Today, when the quagmire of hell no longer steams before the eyes, the dying eyes, it is scarcely possible any more to imagine adequately how great this relief was. The second or infernal death disappeared, only the first, natural death remained, and that nothing else remained, that all afterlife was spooks and fables, was what the freethinker had to put to the test in his last hour. This was why he was also called a strong thinker, he proved himself by not creeping to the cross even when dying. Of course, it remained bitter to be nothing but lord of one’s own corruption, but the posthumous person thus felt sure that he would not be tortured by flames or even permanently boiled in the brimstone of the other world. The nothingness that was believed to be at hand, that was even hoped for, was thus not merely the nothingness in which life ends. The dread of being disturbed in the grave, and even more after the grave than before, now disappeared.



Youth with the reversed torch and with the newly lighted torch The further drive was even to make dying beautiful. This was most successful when death was simply invoked as the brother of sleep. If the last coat has no pockets, they were now sewn on, and bright poppies put into them. Upstanding bourgeois consolers took the term ‘clocking off’ from manual work and wrapped death in it. Hippel* says that a man will die just as tidily or untidily as he puts his clothes away at night. Or just as a good day’s work brings sound sleep, so a well-spent life brings serene death. Above all it had to run true to type, not to fall, so to speak, too far from the tree; death too remained in a worldly context. Not even death was to fall from the world of light, if only of the smallest light; it is homogenized without any cracks. Thus Leibniz in particular had on his side the Enlightenment’s distaste for the crack (in which an element of the other world was sensed) when he included even death in his law of unbroken continuity. This law softened even the most abrupt hammerblow: dying now became a mere transition from clear ideas to diffuse ones, from ‘evolution’ to ‘involution’. Leibniz did allow the individual to retain memory and self-consciousness in involution (involutio), but his image of death operated above all as a mere modification of the imaginative life; for all monads of so-called dead things were also in a state of psychical sleep. Eternal peace now did not need to wait for a judgement in the other world, it was, in its way, already in the corpse itself. The analogy of sleep and extinction also removed from sight the gruesome skeleton, the alldevaluing leader of medieval dances of death. Most influential of all here was Lessing’s essay of 1769 on ‘How The Ancients Shaped Death’; this might also be called one of the most ardent classical polemics against the Middle Ages. It completes consolation with a cryptic exchange of emblems, with a farewell to the hour-glass and the scythe in favour of a beautiful image of the friend: of the genius with the lowered torch. Lessing thus not only renews the death-sleep equation which in poetry dates back as far as Homer and in philosophy was available to Lessing in Leibniz’ ‘involution’, he drove the last reflexes of the Gothic out of the image of death. He replaced it with a reasonable-beautiful, a classicist image, an eminently aesthetic one, in which the extinguished torch operates as immanently as the fall of the curtain at the end of a play. Even though * Theodor Gottlieb von Hippel (1741-96), novelist of the German Enlightenment.



elegy is not lacking, even though Lessing does not even intend to contradict the Christian religion ‘properly understood’: ‘Scripture itself talks of an angel of death; and what artist would not prefer to create an angel rather than a skeleton? Only falsely understood religion can keep us away from the beautiful, and it is a proof of true, of properly understood religion if it always brings us back to the beautiful.’ In this way the image of death more or less made itself into an aesthetic wishful image, into one with an aesthetic glaze. The terrible mass itself remained, but it was con¬ cealed; thus it did not generate horror in its appearance and it seemed, behind the appearance, to be as good as not there any more. The lifegenius, shown on the classical monuments cited and interpreted by Lessing, puts out the fire of its torch itself, as if this fire were fading music or a poem passing into silence. Goethe praised Lessing’s treatise especially because it carried out the equation with sleep precisely towards the aesthetically calming, indeed the entrancing side, and banished the skeleton. The genius with the reversed torch, compared with the no longer quite so beautiful, the decaying corpse, here seems visibly utopian. Death is beautified into the mildest form of life - an undisturbed, not Greek but Graecizing wish, a wish unafflicted by any grave fumes, let alone hell fumes. And it did not even stop at this wish, the torch was to be lighted again. Although this was certainly in order to shine again in a this-world which is not left by the dead man. The freethinking liberation from the other world had already done its work in Lessing’s case and even more so in Goethe’s. It was no longer a matter of repeating that there was no soul or that no soul remained after death; to a fullness of life which wanted to go on and on stirring, this profession of faith appeared not only rather meagre after liberation from the other world had been gained, it already, or again, appeared frightening. It was after all the skeleton again, although without hell; the extinction of the eternal fire had been bought at the price of the return to dust of which the Bible, in its older parts, had also already spoken. The genius with the reversed torch had placed itself before the terrors of corruption and the utter devaluation which the skeleton, as the remainder or the core of man, represented. This genius was partly pia fraus, of the fresh, aesthetic-classicistic kind, but partly also self-esteem, active self-estimation which did not want to capitulate to nothingness. And a consequence of this active feeling was that Lessing and Goethe despite everything once again knew how to promote an awakening: not so much as that of a pure survival but above all as that of a continuing influence. An immanent continuing influence of course, the this-worldly character



remains, hell and heaven have no place. But precisely the this-worldly wish, active and insatiable, drove Lessing on to a much more far-reaching hope than that of the beautifully expiring torch. It drove him to the wishful hypothesis of its renewed, ever-renewed lighting, in short to the revival of a belief which one would least of all have expected to encounter in the Enlightenment. It was the belief in the transmigration of souls: ‘Is this hypothesis’, Lessing asks, ‘so ridiculous simply because it is the oldest? because the human intellect hit upon it straight away, before the sophistry of the schools diffused and weakened it?’ The following paragraphs of the ‘Education of the Human Race’ connect to the slow course of history an equally long-lasting, constantly reappearing soul: ‘Why should I not return so long as I am adept at attaining new insights, new skills? Do I take so much away with me at once that it is not worth the trouble of returning?’ This was said purely for the sake of continuing influence, of perfection, but of course there was much in the theories of the time which accommodated Lessing, which revived the oldest hypothesis. The doctrine of the transmigration of souls appealed to an age as individualistic as it was fond of progress, because it combined both aspects throughout all history. Even Hume, so much more sceptical than Lessing, remarked in his ‘Essays on Suicide, and the Immortality of the Soul’ that the doctrine of the transmigration of souls was the only system of this kind which philo¬ sophy could take heed of. Lessing was moreover reinforced in his enthusiasm from the most unexpected source, namely from the sensualistic Enlighten¬ ment, in its physiological-psychological form. Bonnet’s ‘Palingenesies philosophiques’, 1769, which Lessing knew, had ascribed to the soul, precisely because it is connected to the brain and appears only in material form, the tendency to enter a new body after the death of the old. Lessing had enriched this physiological fantasy with his own historical, activepostulative fantasy. The birth-wheel no longer appears as one of entangle¬ ment, as with the Orphics and especially in India, on the contrary it is productively affirmed. The transmigration of souls is valued as it was in centuries closer to Lessing, among the Rosicrucians and the Cabbalists: as an instrument of being able to do better in more than one life. This is the active element in Lessing’s wishful image, it is the hope-will to participate in human events from beginning to end. Here in this re-lighted torch we have the strange fact of a development insatiably applied to man. But above all the doctrine of the transmigration of souls afforded individuals with Lessing’s longing for activity and future the gleaming prospect of an actual being-present in the epochs of history as a whole. Thus even



the longest, most distant history would be in an active-experienceable way that of recurring people and not just that of a merely abstract humanity: ‘What is there I could miss?’ Lessing therefore concludes, ‘is not all eternity mine?’ The soul does not go merely passively now through bodies, like a stone thrown flat skipping several times over water, it travels in an activegrasping way, itself raising the cups, through the distances of occurrence, so that all eternity may belong to man. And what history was here for Lessing became for Goethe’s so closely related effective will the cosmos, as a postmortal workshop. ‘The moving image of death’, says the pastor in ‘Hermann and Dorothea’, and he says this with a smile, ‘does not represent a terror to the wise nor an end to the religious’: but even to the wise, in Goethe’s world, it did not represent the end. Here too the torch of life, at least for superior minds, was to go on burning in other parts of the cosmos, with a transposition of souls in space. Thus the seventyfive-year-old Goethe told Eckermann of his firm conviction ‘that our mind is an essence of utterly indestructible nature, it goes on operating from eternity to eternity, it is similar to the sun which appears to set only to our earthly eyes, yet never really sets but goes on shining endlessly’. Thus Goethe thought nature duty-bound to provide him with another form of existence as soon as the present form was no longer able to sustain his mind. At work here, apart from discontent with the torso, is a core feeling of strength which even in the face of death will only countenance metamorphosis, a moulded essential form of an unsinkable kind, which develops as it lives. Immanence survives in all this, even in the case of astral migration in dreams; even a heaven in which the business of the mind went on, and for which the sun would be a simile, would not be excluded from the cosmos in Goethe’s spatially conceived transmigration of souls. Though the merely postulative aspect is retained by Goethe just as it is by Lessing: beyond the legitimate claim of the moral-active subject, or at most beyond the obligation of nature itself to meet this claim, there is no certainty of continuing influence. Lessing and Goethe thus finally meet in the space which Kant, also with regard to immortality, separated from the existing space of being, which he dubbed the space of postulation. For Kant, who was far from the mythological transmigration of souls, yet morally especially close to the re-lighted torch, allows only one moral proof of individual survival: it must exist, so that virtue may attain the bliss which it deserves and which it so rarely enjoys on earth. This sounds like a renewed version of the prophet Daniel’s moral doctrine of immor¬ tality, but unlike this it rules out any ontic certainty. And the Kantian



version of continuing influence is also an immanent one: it is merely the expression of the fact that a finite being in the moral law makes an infinite demand on himself, for the fulfilment of which an infinite path is required. This immanence does not, like Lessing’s temporal transmigration of souls, lie in history, even less does it lie, like Goethe’s spatial transmigration and transposition of souls, in the cosmos; but rather it lies in the phenomenon of morality itself, in the progress, which has become utterly non-visual, of moral perfection. This perfection was also classed above Lessing’s and Goethe’s utopia; in Kant it is the one and all, according to which the life-genius, precisely as that of morality, does not let its torch go out. But immanence, without hell and heaven, ‘without fantasies of otherworldly monsters, negative or positive’, is so dense that Kant sees in postulated survival absolutely nothing but the moral classification, extended in temporal form, of our existence. Survival itself is in truth one and the same as moral classification, which to a human intellect is temporally extended but to an infinite intellect is concentrated in itself. Hence the ultimate omission of any ascent-panorama, despite all progress: ‘For a rational but finite being, only the progressus into the infinite, from lower to higher levels of moral perfection, is possible. The infinite, to whom the temporal condition is nothing, sees in this for us infinite series the totality of conformity to the moral law’ (Kritik der praktischen Vemunft, Werke, Hartenstein, V, p. 129). For the transmigration of souls, the transposition of souls and the like, which Kant calls theosophical extravagances, there is of course no place here. Such things Kant numbers among the simply inadmissible venturings beyond mechanical experience, the only kind of experience which exists for science. Yet Kant was all the more animatedly united with Lessing and Goethe in the will-idea of continuing influence, which was fundamental to both as a practical postulate. The silence behind the extinguished torch was filled, again or still filled thoroughly enough with hope. With hope in an unguaranteed but possible state in which death is not the last word and the moral-rational propensity retains its meaning.



Dissolution in the universe, lethal return to nature Thus the drive to make dying beautiful was far surpassed. But death as sleep nonetheless remained, especially in the sentimental age. More than most this age experienced the graveyard as a place of peace and sought it out. What was not mastered in life at least seemed to be forgotten in the silent grave, which rests so softly. Related wishful images were added here, taken from the awareness of landscape which emerged in the eighteenth century, awareness of landscape of a kind distant from man, solitary-sublime. Into this land the dying man is now supposed to emigrate,

he arrives precisely when he disintegrates into ashes. This is how Young at that time extolled the night and the grave-mounds ‘beneath death’s gloomy, silent, cypress shades, unpierc’d by vanity’s fantastic ray’. * * * § Thu Klinger, t although far more full of life than most, thought that the best might be in the pale corpse, ‘in the silver and in the moon which shine on it, it is not full of vain unrest’. The nothingness which, as the materialists taught, followed death was overlaid even by men not at all given to extrava¬ gance by a natural All and combined with Nothing. As in the following utterance by LichtenbergJ (which anticipates nineteenth-century wishes for dissolution): ‘My God, how I long for the moment when time for me will cease to be time. When the lap of the maternal All and Nothing will again receive me, in which I slept when the Heimberg (near Gottingen) was formed by the waters, when Epicurus, Caesar, and Lucretius lived and wrote, when Spinoza thought the greatest thought that has yet entered the mind of man.’ Lethe flows into the Styx, and the Styx is the worldriver itself, the Nothing and All from which all life, by the atonement of death, is erased. In all this the background of the universe§ is at work, which remains and yet so fills nothingness that it can be faced with composure, indeed with a kind of composed elation. Devotion to the world thus tries to take away death’s sting; and the most dignified response of this kind appeared in the nineteenth century, in Gottfried Keller and his characters; all the more so because the inorganic longing shook off the

* Edward Young ‘Night Thoughts’, t Friedrich Maxmilian Klinger, see Vol. Ill, p. 977n.

\ Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, 1742-99, German writer and anglophile. He wrote ‘Briefe aus England’ (1776-8). § Once again Bloch is contrasting ‘Alles’ and ‘All’, the All and the universe, see Vol. I, p. 31m.



elegy quality with which it had set out in the age of sentimentality in a much more manly way than Lichtenberg, but it did not shake off the resignation which indicates how much this connection of the grave to a very different kind of dead nature cost. The return to nature, in the lethal version of this return, is affirmed as Lichtenberg affirmed it, but with an attempted amor fati too. Watchful for the things that would come or would not come, there lived in Keller the readiness both for a benign, broad emptiness of nothingness and for a cosmically populated infinity. The image of the journey becomes new, when the dead themselves are seen in a morgue, ‘where they lay stretched out, people of all classes and ages, like market stallholders awaiting the morning or emigrants at the harbour sleeping on their belongings’. This readiness for nothingness in the coming morning is nevertheless only a readiness for individual nothingness, with a continuing, all the more confirmed and more thoroughly embracing universe. This disaffection with short-lived consciousness, this inclination towards the realm of the dead around life is most movingly depicted in the count’s daughter in ‘Der Grime Heinrich’ (IV, ch. 11), who is a foundling anyway: ‘The entire transient existence of our per¬ sonality, and its encounter with other transitory animate and inanimate things, our flashing and vanishing dance in the light of the world has for her a soft, faint tinge now of mild sadness, now of delicate gaiety, which does not allow the pressure of the weighty demands of the individual to arise, while overall being subsists.’ Precisely this remains the background, the fact that overall being subsists; a cosmic rule through which individual divergences are corrected, by death. Unless the individual is taken by the universe into a common infinity, into a journey through the host of stars, indeed of the galaxy itself. Of course here - an extension of the gnostic Dantean heavenly journey to the world itself - the host of stars is also conceived as a gigantic procession, as excess of the depth-dimension which, for the individual, on earth, was so restricted. The readiness to go on this journey appears most sublimely in a prayer which Gottfried Keller wrote shortly before his death; the moral law and the starry heavens become one here. Here is farewell as an entry into the world, with the world, into the distant universe as such: ‘Great Wain,* mighty constellation of

* This is the constellation of Ursa Major, the Great Bear, referred to in German as ‘Heerwagen’, i.e. ‘army wagon’. The Plough in the constellation of the Great Bear is sometimes referred to as ‘King Charles’ Wain’, or ‘The Wain’, and we have chosen this as an equivalent for the extended German image of the wagon with its shafts, used by Keller here.



the Teutons, before my eyes you make your splendid way in constant silent procession across the heavens, rising from the east each night. O go there and come back each day! Look at my serenity and my faithful eye, that has followed you for so many years. And if I am tired, then take my soul, so light in worth but also in evil will, gather it up and let it go with you, guiltless as a child that does not weigh down your radiant shafts - over there! - I can see far ahead where we are going.’ This wonderful prayer is unique in that it combines intended dissolution in the infinite universe with a kind of infinite intention of the Where To - but of a cosmic, cosmomorphic Where To. What a difference between Keller’s worldjourney, however romantic, and the old religious background of the deathbed, ‘where’, as Jean Paul describes it, ‘behind the long black curtain of the spirit-world one saw busy figures running with lamps; where for the sinner one glimpsed open claws and ravenous spirit-eyes and restless wandering, but for the devout man flowery signs, a lily or a rose in his pew, strange music or his double form’. With Keller it is not the person who continues to have an influence in the universe but the universe which continues to have an influence in the person, a person utterly polarized, who does not weigh the radiant shafts down even with his worth. The journey utopia thus definitely becomes dissolution in the infinite, in one no longer concerned with life: the Great Wain is universe without con¬ sciousness and without a wagon-rack. This is a seduction which does not even appear only as an invoked counter-utopia to death but which takes it as the point of departure for the ever-beckoning worship of the stars. For participation in this glimmering, a participation which Christianity did not destroy, which indeed announces itself as seduction in the midst of the Bible. Job took credit for not worshipping the heavenly bodies; so powerful was their allure, greater than that of the spiritual, the invisible. ‘If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness; and my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand: This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge’ (Job 31, 26f.); but immanence did kiss its hand, and death seemed to seal the surrender. Landscape, absorb me, this becomes the password here, far beyond the sleep-simile, the sleep-equation, far into the rigidly great. The equivocation in the concept of dead, which describes both the corpse and inorganic nature, did the rest to connect death with the Panic feeling. To locate it precisely with temptation, not only with consolation in the inanimated cosmos, as union with it. So the place where no man is draws us into itself quite strangely here.



Two testimonies finally make clear what the nature of the equation between death and Pan is here. One testimony is in the ‘Erl King’, as there is more to it than dread and a vain ride for life. And more to it than the demonic enticement which whispers through the dread, and promises: bright flowers, golden garments, dance of the elves. But apart from all this, which the Erl King has to give, there is the - streak of mist, there is the sombre place, and its weaving entices far more deeply than the Erl King. The fact that the wind rustles only in dry leaves, that only old willows shine so grey, this allusion to wind and willows, which ostensibly dispels the ghostliness and ostensibly drives away the ghostly images of enticement, instead increases, indeed establishes the ghostliness and the enticement. For wind, willows, night drive away from the child of death merely the meagre life that the Erl King offers, and his gold which is itself already pale; a quite different desire rises up from the scenery itself, the scenery which is truly dead. The dreaming about the streak of mist is directed at the longing to become it, it is the incomprehensibly secret landscape of death itself which makes Goethe’s poem so compelling. Behind the power of the Erl King is that of the elements, is the Styx, where the old willows stand, is the silence of stones which is thoroughly experienced by this kind of death-utopia. Holderlin’s ‘Death of Empedocles’ gives the other testimony to this silence, in the flames of Etna. And the dead world, the supposed underworld appears entirely to this kind of longing as the whole world, as that in light. The farewell to Being Human thus becomes a farewell to the littleness connected with life: ‘Then sacredly, if it must happen,/The fearful thing, let it happen splendidly.’ Before death comes the hero takes the metaphor of his best existence from the extra-human world, the purely formed, prismatic world: ‘O Iris’ bow! Above rushing/ Waters, when the wave in silver clouds/Flies up, as you are, so is my joy! ’ His death in Etna completely celebrates union with nature and atones for the superhumanity which stepped outside it and wanted to outgrow it. The old unity between man and earth, between earth and heaven burns in death, as this unlowered torch: ‘If now, when too alone,/The heart of earth laments and, mindful/Of the old unity, the dark mother/Spreads out her fiery arms to the ether,/And now the ruler comes in streaming rays:/Then we shall follow as a sign/We are his kin, down into sacred flames.’ The glowing All-One which was to rise up for Empedocles was certainly felt and thought of as the Eternal-Living, not as a gigantic mummy or as mechanics. Yet its life is completely without organic metaphors, or is just so much crystal: the ether opens and is empty of human beings.



These are the images of longing which seek to go through death into lost nature, into ‘Urania’s solemn string music’, as Empedocles hopes, or more precisely into the silence in which the unfinished tragedy ends in Holderlin. All these images, of such differing rank, have their deathutopia in the unity of the unconscious, which nature, especially in inorganic natural beauty, seems to promise. What is sought is unsundering through consciousness, unsundering through subject and object: and the inorganic world, because it has kept out of life from the beginning, seems close to this. Death is then not regarded as the brother of sleep but rather as the brother of granite, with night or azure over it, no matter which. The No to individual-living Being Human thus appears, in all this curiously neo-Egyptian and yet again equally quite unstatuesque desire to become like something dead, as an affirmation of pure emptiness without human beings. Death, part of nature yet a highly unnatural part, which conflicts with air, light and sun, is supposed in these cosmomorphic extensions of death - which philosophically go back to Anaximenes and his doctrine of the unity of soul and ether - to make us into air, light, sun themselves, even though there is no eye to see them, indeed precisely because of this.

Glacier, earth-mother and world-spirit So all did not seem lost when life in the next world was extinguished. In the nineteenth century people so easily grew tired of being awake in general, why continue it endlessly? The upturn in business on the one hand, melancholy which did not delude itself on the other, were closely related in bourgeois consciousness which was both harassed and divided. ‘Life is the sultry day, death is the cool night’, sings Heine, the nightingale sings here too, a still organic happiness, but coolness as true consolation comes from the inanimate cave, from stillness. Organic nature was certainly no longer adequate for this radical escape, at least not the pleasant-Arcadian nature which was almost everything to the eighteenth century’s sense of landscape and peace. The peace of landscape of the calm kind became utterly inorganic, and in fact: inorganic landscape became the ostensible gateway to utopianized death, to the ‘sublimity’ of death. It borders on the glacier and the fabled mountain of death high in the sky; it is to here that every great departure from petty life penetrates. It is to here that Byron’s Manfred penetrated, into a landscape without people or Christianity, into a supposed unity, ‘How few - how less than few - wherein the soul/Forbears to



pant for death, and yet draws back/As from a stream in winter’. The nineteenth century approached the lethal return to nature not only poetically but myth-historically, and in dual form: chthonic as well as Uranian. Bachofen emphasized both, though the chthonic form most strongly: dying as homecoming to the earth. The cave again receives, the cave from which man came, the earth-cradle and the grave. The grave-cult of the matrilineal order, which is intuitively reconstructed by Bachofen, moves in this cycle: ‘The same arising from the womb of matter, the same returning to its darkness.’ Or in the patrilineal order dying becomes an ascent to the stars, to the Apollonian, though also completely immanent world. The cave and the earth are now replaced by the Uranian heights, which Hercules was the first to enter after death, through death. Dying thus becomes a transition ‘to the harmonious law of the Uranian world and to heavenly light, flame without fire’. Thus there is a return here from Christianity to archaic emotions, finally even to a kind of solemn battle-frenzy of dying, with an imagined feeling behind it of being secure below or of being saved above. A strange sympathy thus entered the old images of the earth and the sun, as if there had been no Christian other world at all, and it recon¬ ciled death with them. But this sympathy came not least from the analogy between death and the inorganic Unconscious which had been circulating since Lichtenberg and which culminated in Romanticism (to which Bachofen belongs). And the so-called All-Life with which Pan was endowed was still supposed to exclude only the mechanism but not the gigantic encircle¬ ment of a primal past, pre-vital as well as postmortal, in which there is no place for individual life. It is not surprising that even disenchanted thinking still coloured what was dead. When nothing but power and matter seemed to be left, the great corpse was at least presented as naturally beautiful. As the petit bourgeois began to be uplifted by the Alps, enthused about giant mountains and majestic mountain ranges, so too his mechanistic world-picture was poeticized. It had discarded everything but atoms which were lightless and soundless, and death was dissolution into them, but popular materialist writers such as Bolsche, even Hackel decked out the essence of the matter again cosmically, almost pantheistically. And the example which repeatedly continued to have an effect and was not forgotten by the bourgeoisie was set by Feuerbach, in a still legitimate manner; he did after all come from the tradition of monism, and his disenchantments derived their devoted worldly gleam from here. Individual life, when it fades into the universal, has in fact gained this universal; clarified, indeed transfigured mechanics



absorbs life. As in Feuerbach’s curious ‘Rhymes on Death’; here, the materialist states that he sees ‘in every clear spring the death-night’s mild shining’, he sees ‘his death-certificate shown in every star and stone’. This, he says, is the last word of immortality and the wish for it, i.e. a word which cancels it out and at the same time fulfils its wish. Fulfils it con¬ cretely, because up to the end naturalism ‘puts the cunning darkness of the other world into the brightest light of this world’. In dying man casts off his limitedness anyway. ‘He who has once’, writes Feuerbach in his ‘Thoughts on Death and Immortality’, and he means this not only ironic¬ ally, ‘he who has once received from death a master’s degree in destructive and subversive philosophy has lost all desire to start learning the ABC of a new life again’ (Werke III, 1847, p. 325). Instead a supra-present world rises up, in which the individual takes part at least in thoughts: ‘Thus the foolish mind, fixed on heaven in the other world, overlooks heaven on earth, the heaven of the historical future in which all doubts, darknesses and difficulties which tormented the short-sighted present and past would dissolve into light’ (l.c., p. 346). And no more than Feuerbach, despite his usual distaste for mere intellectual constructs, considers it necessary for the person himself corporeally to take part in this posterity in order to take part in it in reality and not only in thoughts: no more, indeed even less, does the entering into complete individual nothingness appear as a breaking-off here; for it is precisely an entering into cosmic nature. The thought of death, without masquerade or new staging posts behind it, becomes for Feuerbach an education in selfabandonment, indeed self-sacrifice during life itself; and at the end it is nothing less than the universe which lasts for ever. If the individual believes that he is everything, says Feuerbach, then Nothing remains after his death, but as the individual definitely is not everything, infinite essential being (essential being of nature) remains infinite and eternal: ‘Time is a daughter of truth, only that which is transitory in essential being passes away in time, it merely lifts the veil in the temple of Isis’ (l.c., p. 82). These were all poeticizations of mechanical materialism, they were above all attempts to make from individual annihilation by death a general elevation. Precisely on the basis of the infinite, and also the unconscious, which encloses finite consciousness: precisely anthropology, however much Feuerbach puts it at the centre, has around this centre the ocean of universal, eternal movement of matter, triumphing in death. Indeed how cosmically and cosmomorphically the nineteenth century framed death and wanted to frame it, was shown even in those few places where immortality was consigned not only in



unconscious form to the universe. Someone else who stood out strangely in this respect was Fechner, no materialist but an out-and-out parallelist with regard to body and soul. With Feuerbach, man is what he eats, yet at the end the universe eats him; with Fechner, too, he is consumed by the universe, but he is equally retained and remembered. From the individual body he is absorbed into the body of the earth, from individual consciousness he is transposed into a literal earth-, indeed mechanics-consciousness. This is the idea to which Fechner’s ‘Little Book of Life After Death’ is devoted, one of the strangest wishful little books within naturalistic immanence. For Fechner’s basic thesis: psychophysical parallelism, admittedly sounds cautiously mechanistic, yet it aims to make the cosmos into which the dead man withdraws more melodious than the harmony of the spheres. For, as Fechner says, with scarcely compelling logic: just as there can be no mind without physical nature, so there can also be no nature without mind. Indeed the more powerfully the material corpus, as earth, sun, universe, extends, the broader and higher its consciousness. This was a pure argument from analogy, based on the human brain-soul relationship, but through it the earth now became ‘not merely a ball of dry earth, water, air; it is a greater and higher uniform creation’. All mankind is its brain, all human history is the earth’s memory, in which the individual continues to be remembered after his death and combines with all other memories. But even if individual spiritual and permanent needs are preserved in such a mixture of cosiness, psychophysics and philosophy-colportage, the cosmic aspect so to speak, in which both extinguishing and collecting occur, still triumphs again. In Fechner’s late work, ‘The Aspect of Day compared with the Aspect of Night’, 1879, the rivulets converged: ‘The same earth which by the same power binds us and all its creatures to it also gave birth to them all, receives them into itself again, feeds and clothes us all, controls the communication between all and retains, for all this change, a stock which preserves itself and develops through this change itself... On the basis of the above we must grasp the earth as an essential being superordinated to us both on the material and on the spiritual side, uniformly bound in a higher sense than ourselves, and hence as a knot which ties us together with our fellow creatures into the divine bond.’ Ties us in life and especially after death, when death itself, ‘the great disease of gradual stages’, has been undergone and higher stages: earth consciousness, cosmic soul, are entered. This is how far Fechner went, and the distance is great from the psychophysical archive and pillow to Lessing’s and Goethe’s emigrations, to Keller’s prayer to the Great Wain, but the line of a cosmic



euthanasia continues to the end. A fading into the universe, beginning with death as the brother of sleep, was thus placed around life. This cosmic feeling as a whole, even in its mechanistic form, could have led to the Egyptian sense of crystal if the nineteenth century’s inorganic or cosmic sense of death had still possessed sufficient depth. Such a sense, even if only as a contrasting ideology to capitalist unrest, did nevertheless exist, and, directed by the inorganic final movement of death, it forms a striking contrast to the theory of evolution from the same period, which portrays earth, star, cosmos merely as the basis from which life and human history arise. The Death-Pan utopia instead placed the edifice of nature at the end of the path, as if nature-gods existed again. Even for Bachofen nothing of the kind existed, and the cosmos as the temple of the corpse remained only one of the ideals with which pervasive mechanism adorned itself for its emotional needs, here at the baldest and coldest place. Between the corpse and the transparent construction of the crystal there is however the difference of corruption, and corruption is a complicated return to nature. Nonetheless, death as ultimate calcination and nothing else gave to an age which was proud of having explained even the organism purely inorganically a certain homogeneous consolation.

IV. Further Secularized Counter-moves, Nihilism, House of Humanity

Still the dyeing of nothingness How does one push away the fear of dying today? That this is apparently achieved, ostensibly achieved, with superficial means, was made clear above (Vol. Ill, p. 1105). Above all American society must repress the thought of death in the same way that it represses every prospect of what is to come. What is to come is its death as a class; unwillingness to accept this death, despite all the signs, makes people skilled in looking away from the corporeal-lethal departure. But we also said that death (nobody knows for how long) could only be repressed so well because new life had once been hidden behind it, i.e. dreamt out of it and believed into it. Thus it becomes unlikely that creaturely fear of death in the late bourgeoisie has been eliminated merely by looking away. Superficiality alone is no



liberation, and repression alone does not give the feeling of a victory. It is becoming probable that mankind today, in living without the fear of death, is borrowing on past beliefs, even living on completely unguaranteed cheques. This dubious loan, which precisely among the freethinkers of today, with their numerous nuances, means that no strong thinkers are needed at all, as they were in the eighteenth century, is now becoming generally prevalent. The meagre profession of nothingness would scarcely be enough to keep the head held high and to make it seem as if there is no end. On the contrary, clear signs indicate that, in the subconscious, earlier, fuller wishful images persist and provide support. Through the trace which remained of them, the so-called modern person does not feel the maw which is incessantly around him and which will certainly devour him in the end. Through them, quite unexpectedly, he saves his sense of self, through them the impression arises that man does not perish but that the world will one day decide on a whim not to appear before him any more. Probably this utterly flat courage, capable of repressing the fear of all earlier ages, is dining at the expense of another. It is living on earlier hopes and the support which they once provided. And it is very often living - this is crucially important here - on an expired belief which, if it evaporated completely one day, would leave behind a horror all the more helpless. It is only in this oblique and half-hearted way that the person living from day to day fails to feel his last hour, works without despairing.

Four signs of a borrowed faith This even becomes a flight forwards, which appears as courage. Youth does this, when it wants to break out of vapid life and go to war, when dying becomes a wild ending. Especially in countries where the ruling class can offer no other prospect than that of death in battle. ‘Tomorrow we go death wards’, went a Nazi song; it was sung by soldiers who wished not only to win victory but also to die. There is certainly death-drive in these feelings, the drive towards attack, on others and on oneself, it is almost the same thing. But what lures here is also the abandonment of an existence which has not been mastered, and frenzy in particular developed here, that of a merging of battle and life. A single inflamed raging unites both, so that in dying the blood seems to go on boiling, indeed boils up especially high. The old idols who inspirited the berserkers no longer exist,



but they had disciples and still have Jiinger.* This is the first sign of how people can die in the light of the past. But what if a life still seems to be in order, if business as usual for the time being still seems to be profitable? Then it is not battle but bourgeois getting-on which lures, with income without end and without crisis, the exaggeration lures, an exaggeration which is utterly extraordinary on the present ground, that all dying is mere illusion, and to its believers this does not appear madness. Disease, lack of success, the blows of fate, but also the final lack of success: death, according to this view are all due solely to powerless thoughts; the failure called dying is merely the price paid for mental weakness. This is the deathaspect of Coue but especially of Christian Science, the most genuine religion of North America. This seeks to plug the leak which causes the human ship to sink so early; but this leak is not regarded as one in matter but primarily as one in the smart will. Through lack of belief in the elbow, in the Jesus of life which is both healthy and businesslike, evil enters into man, evil which does not exist at all but which corrupts what is. If these corrupting abscesses burst, however, then sickness too is supposed to disappear, all along the line, and ultimately also sickness unto death: what beckons, if not yet immortality in the flesh, is at least long-lived strength and mental existence against death. This kind of thing, as will be recalled, has already appeared as a medical wishful image, but now it returns quite massively, as faith in faith, and yet no longer massively at all but ultimately as fascist blasphemy. The repression of death, the curing of death by this kind of Jesus as doctor is the second sign of certainties loaned from a quite different age. The God of faith-healing, and of the various spiritualists of today who are more elegantly associated with this, is the God of business, the God of late antiquity who has degenerated into what is believed to be the eternity of business: as such resurrection and as such life. Instead of the life-giving bull’s blood which was poured over the mystes, instead of the magical Last Supper, all that appears here is belief in success. True entrepreneurial go-getting has no time for sickness and death, its Jesus will not tolerate bankruptcy anywhere. Which is why America is neo¬ pagan enough to replace the lamb, whose prosperity is notoriously low, with the life-giving bull, the successful bullyboy. All these are late-classical traces or borrowings on an Aesculapius-Jesus; but to continue with the Bloch is punning here on the word ‘Jiinger’ meaning ‘disciple’ and the name of Ernst Jiinger, soldier and writer, erstwhile champion of the German military spirit. His book ‘In Stahlgewittem’ (The Storm of Steel) is one of the best accounts from the German side of life in the trenches in the First World War.



text, which becomes somewhat nobler, there are, thirdly, still traces from the lethal cosmic sympathy which the last century already secularized, traces which were therefore astral-mythic. A panic feeling of nature, with the inorganic above all in itself, as the worldwide landscape of death, is thus the third late bourgeois sign of the loan. Death is interpreted not as exitus but on the contrary as introitus of the other, star-clear side: into man who is no longer cow-warm, unappetizing, tiny. In the way, for example, in which Alfred Brust, in his novel ‘The Lost Earth’ which is typical in this respect, has an old man announce his end to his friends: ‘The serenity of autumn is diffused over my hours. The circle of the sun becomes smaller and the gentle nights increase their domain. The approaching sea of stars has ventured beyond my limits and entered into me completely early this morning. ’ Here it is not the indivi¬ dual who departs, and he does not go on any journey: on the contrary, the strangest countermovement is thought to be experienced: it is the autumn which advances towards the individual; it is the approaching sea of stars (of the winter sky) which ventures beyond the limits of the person and floods the person. Pan himself thus diminishes life as the autumn diminishes the days of sun, and death radiates in over the rest like the night crystals of the winter sky, indeed as these themselves. Lethal astral myth with a more Christian tinge appears even in America, in Emerson, even in William James, although posited as cosmic-spiritual, pan-psychical. Thus James, in his ‘Human Immor¬ tality’ , posits cosmic consciousness as primary, hence as the sea which in death floods over the little sundering which is individual consciousness again: ‘All abstract hypotheses sound unreal; and the abstract notion that our brains are coloured lenses in the wall of nature, admitting light from the super-solar source, but at the same time tingeing and restricting it, has a thoroughly fantastic sound. ’ * Therefore borrowing is visible here too, for there would be no advance of the dying individual into the universe, of the immortal universe into the individual, if behind this feeling there had not once been astral myth. Together with its typical mysticism: that of being securely housed in and by the old physis. Which takes the mouldy thing called life, the injustice called the individual, back into itself. Gaia here, Uranus there, neither are still believed in as gods, but death still cloaks itself in their superannuated garments. However there remains, ultimately, a kind of euthanasia which appears fresh, it can be called vainglorious despair, and its fourth sign does not from * Bloch is giving a condensed version of James’s exposition of ‘transmissive function’ here. His ‘quotation’begins, ‘Universal consciousness is the first, the eternal aspect, but our brain is...’, then follows more faithfully the text of James’s lecture, in the course of which James defends his ‘abstract hypothesis’.



the outset seem derived from a tradition. Here man runs on ahead of death, claims of his own accord to be ready for nothingness. Today for many the time of prevented or latent suicide has come, precisely the bourgeois class sees its destruction before it, hopeless. Now here, instead of a shunning of death, at last even a kind of indulgence in dying seems to be found; with an imperialist mandate, almost as if there were a will to nothingness, i.e. to the death from starvation and in battle, which is concealed in nothingess. This is the only thing which fascist society can offer the people; thus bourgeois philosophers of today have made people familiar in an ostensibly original way with the Nihil. They are philosophers of decline, they combined the problem of individual death with that of their society, made the mere nothingness of the capitalist future into an inevitable-absolute nothingness, so that the view on to a changeable world, on to socialist future, was utterly blocked. They preached an addiction to death which thus supposedly went far beyond the organic-natural, namely through synthetic¬ ally produced lethargy and finally through war. They also added counterfeit, gloomy-uplifting wishful images to their nothingness, images which at first were defeatist and in the end were Mephistophelian. Spengler spoke of the fatigue ‘which the all too alert person feels in all his bones’ and praised it in cast-iron style because nothing else was supposed to be at hand. Jaspers, not with a historical but with a so-called existential-eternal approach, provided the following consolation: ‘It is not only the way of the world in time that nothing can last, but it is as it were a will (!) that nothing authentic should survive as permanence. Defeat is the name of the experience, not-to-be-anticipated, necessary to be accomplished, that the perfect is also the evanescent. To become real in order genuinely to be defeated is the last possibility (!) in temporal existence: it plunges into the night which grounded it. If the day is self-sufficient, not-being-defeated becomes an increasing lack of substance, until at the end defeat comes to it from without as something alien’ (Philosophic, 1932, III, p. no). Here therefore nothingness, to which sickness, the time-sickness unto death entrusts itself, looks almost doubly intricate: from being status it is transformed into an eternal act, namely into that of defeat, and it is even supposed to be the guarantor of the best - Something, namely of substance. The other wishful image of nothingness was formulated by Heidegger, a much more presentient angel, no longer a comforter but a reconciler with, and propagandist of, the late capitalist-fascist world, the world of death. Fear is fear of death, and this occurs not in individual moments or even only at the last moment, but is the ‘basic state of human existence’,



‘the sole What-Is in the existential analytics of existence’ (Sein und Zeit, 1927, p. 13). Fear and the pure nothingness into which it overhangs do not give life its substance but they do give it its dubiousness and its depth: ‘Solely because nothingness is evident in the ground of existence can the full strangeness of What-Is come over us’; the object of science is What-Is, that of philosophy is nothingness. ‘But existence must, in the world-projecting over-climb of What-Is, first overclimb itself in order from this height to be able to comprehend itself above all as abyss.’ (Vom Wesen des Grundes, 1929, p. no); - thus nothingness, for a pure nothingness, shows a highly complicated face. But this complicated face is itself unoriginal and loaned, from Jaspers’ ‘comprehended defeat’ to Heidegger’s ‘unguaran¬ teed steadfastness’; and only the particularly interested imperialist mandate for this kind of affirmation of the abyss or ‘absorption in death’ seems fresh. Otherwise even the Jasperian and Heideggerian nothingness is dyed, decked out with borrowed plumes, precisely with regard to its death-magic. For of course there appears in all this, once again in perverted form, much that is Lutheran-Christian: defeat corresponds to the rejection of righteousness through works, fear corresponds to the old weight of sin, pre-emptive resolution to submission to the will of God. And together with the copied Luther a counter-example is mingled: copied Romanticism, its wishful concept of the night. A night, however, which is no longer tinged with Liebestod ‘drowning, sinking, oblivious down, highest bliss is found’, but with murder. This is the epigonism of pro-fascist nihilism, of its vainglorious despair, of its quietism for the followers, and of its apres nous le deluge for the leaders.

Metaphorical immortality: in the work The history of the city of Rome stands over me at night like a distant star. If fate should grant that I complete it, then no suffering in the world could be so great that I would not steadfastly bear it. Gregorovius It is now time to come up into purer air again. Here, finally, is the feeling, certainly the fresh, not only the old feeling, of living on in one’s children. No man, says the peasant proverb, should leave this life without having planted a tree, left behind a son. Children take the name of their father, and the father wishes that they should continue to be his work. But works


wishful images of the fulfilled moment

of the mind are also called children, works that have been painted, composed, written, built, thought. Both because of the frenzy of their conception and because of the pangs of their birth, and of course because of their surviving permanence. Significantly a successful business, a battle won or a solid political achievement has never been called the child of its author. In other words, the effect of such deeds finally disappears and becomes interwoven, they have no framed shape which survives in characteristic form. However long the name of their author is remembered, it is not connected with a work which can be performed again and again, renewed again and again. Vita brevis, ars longa, empires pass away, a good line lasts for ever: in these artistic convictions only the formed work has a place. Only this work, like bodily children, experiences posterity and over¬ comes the obituary, at least for its readers. Of course this is a consolation which unfortunately cannot be enjoyed by so-called run-of-the-mill people, unless in a comical, and thus not exactly consoling fashion. In such a way that even a successful business, by becoming a firm, can be confirmed and fixed into an eternal value; as is frequently the case in advertising. But precisely its bizarre forms indicate that the character of intellectual work has to be copied here, as in the following ridiculous-instructive examples: ‘The memory of the deceased will live on immortally in the annals of the Naxos sandpaper factory.’ Or, from a different original: ‘We knew the deceased’s dream to found a new, small metal goods industry in Czechoslovakia, to lead and to mould it and to make it known through¬ out the world. With superhuman efforts he surpassed himself, and when a goal was reached he had already set himself a higher one. This principle will point the way in our future work, so that we may realize and immortalize Hynek Puc’s sublime ideas.’ Even if in this kind of thing survival in the work is claimed only in order to recommend the products of sandpaper and small metal factories, not even this would be possible unless they had been endowed with the sun of Homer. But only brothers in Apollo will bring, or possibly bring, an abundance of intellectualimmortal descendants into the world. Only for them can the grave still become the pulpit from which their voices may continue to be heard, indeed often more piercingly than in their lifetime. Only to them applies the metaphor or hyperbole that a kind of transmigration of the soul of Beethoven or Shakespeare takes place when their music and verses resound in the hearts of millions centuries after their death. Or, as has actually proven to be true with less great printed works, that writing is a ship which sails over the ocean of time and unites the most distant centuries



with one another. Only here does the comical quality of that kind of continued existence cease with which the annals of the various sandpaper factories both advertise and console. True permanence in a work and a legitimized dream of this now spread, even though for relatively few subjects and even for these unreasonably few only in such a way that they cannot certainly themselves lead or see before them their life which has been pressed like wine into work. A half or even a full dozen volumes on shelves may represent objective immortality but they bear only a metaphorical relation to the personal immortality of the old faith. However, at least for those who are thus privileged an ars longa does come about which is adorned with the name of their vita brevis; and this even before passing away. Thus Heinrich Mann spoke of the honours which distance such age in a highly flattering way from youth, by which it is ascended like a throne. Gottfried Keller saw the seventy-year-old F. Th. Vischer and indeed greater figures in a similar light and wrote of them that they stood in the evening sunshine of life under the entablature of their works with an undoubtedly secure feeling. Schiller had this saving feeling just as his illness was beginning: ‘I will scarcely have time to complete a great and general intellectual revolution within myself, but I will do what I can, and when finally the building collapses, then I will perhaps have rescued what is worth preserving from the flames’ (To Goethe, 31st August 1794). Goethe, who saw his entire life as gradually transformed into a kind of supra-personal state, imagined not only the cosmic survival of his essence but precisely also immortality in his work which had become historical and which would remain behind as historical. This not quite four months before his death in a letter to Wilhelm von Humboldt, with himself as a historically experienced and arranged category: ‘If I may express this in our old confidence, I gladly admit that at my high age everything begins to seem more and more historical; whether something takes place in past times, in distant empires or quite close to me in space at this moment is all the same, and I appear to myself to be more and more historical; and as my good daughter reads Plutarch to me in the evenings, I often seem ridiculous to myself if I should recount my biography in this fashion and sense.’ Such objectification has indeed removed the person’s own existence from transience; even life then appears as work, and the work appears as elapsion, indeed as the printed situationlessness of a life which has become essential. And all this, with full legend-creation of the personally objectified and at the same time historically unsinkable, is condensed into Faust’s famous statement that the trace of his days on earth could not



disappear in aeons*. Immortality in the work was very longingly expressed by Nietzsche, longingly because the category of work never struck such an uncanonical person. But Aphorism 208 of ‘Human, All Too Human’ says: ‘The best lot is drawn by the author, who, as an old man, can say that everything there was in him of life-producing, invigorating, uplifting and enlightening thoughts and feelings still lives on in his writings and that he himself is mere grey ash, whereas the fire is everywhere saved and carried further.’ The same in the very vivid image in Aphorism 209: ‘The philosopher and likewise the artist who has brought his better self to safety in works feels an almost malicious joy when he sees his body and mind slowly being broken into and destroyed by time, as if from a corner he were watching a thief trying to crack his safe while knowing that the safe is empty and all its treasures are saved.’ The laurel wreath is here used as a magic cap, the self in the aggregate state of the work seems to be more self than ever and yet, or precisely because of this, because of its discarding of fleshliness, to be as invisible as it is unattainable for destruction. The perfectors are quoted as if they went down ironically into the grave, and as if the sarcophagus were really only an eater of flesh, even less: an end of dross, filth, vanity, bestiality, which even in life the producers of works found irksome and which now completely sink into oblivion. This is the utopian consolation of the work, one of course which is strictly reserved for the intellectual aristocracy, but precisely also one which does not take the best in the living person: the ability to create, with it into the wall of eternal letters. All the same this consolation is powerfully bracing and gives to monks in Apollo or in Minerva, apart from the worry of not proving worthy of it, a different challenge to the Egyptian, even without geometrical stones. The fear of not completing his work is the most powerful one for the artist. Death not only annihilates him generally but also particularly and as if deliberately, by taking the pencil from his hand. Hence there is here a particularly ardent wish to have progressed so far with his day’s work that the night of death at least no longer brings annihilation for it. If genius is hard work, then it is hard work also in the sense that, as when storms are threatening, it brings the sheaves with full shovels into the barn. Or that it enters into a race with the gathering, the inevitable storm, in order to cover the distance it has set itself before the stroke of lightning and to bring the good entrusted to it to a safe place. When Holderlin, tired ‘Faust’, Part II, 11583-4.



and sick, was working on ‘Empedocles’ (which was to remain a fragment), he expressed his hopes against death in these surviving, these bitter-immortal lines: Grant me just one summer, you powerful ones! Just one autumn for my ripe song, So that my heart will more willingly die Sated with the sweet playing! Nor does the soul, which in life was not accorded Your divine right, rest in Orcus down below; But once the holy task, so close To my heart, the poem, has been achieved: Welcome then, o silence of the shadow-world! I am content even though my playing strings Do not accompany me down there; once I lived, like gods, there is no need for more. Incomparably, the will in this poem penetrates more into the immortality of creation, a creation which is still granted, longed-for and granted, than into the immortality of the work. Or rather: it justifies the immortality in the work (here completely independent of fame, even of recognition by posterity) in terms of ability to create and of succeeding. True, this ability to create, in resignation, is confined to something unique, therefore transient, to one summer and one autumn. But this uniqueness is not uniqueness at all, for in it gleams a classical, or more correctly: a classicizingChristian participation in the lives of the gods as the immortals par excellence. What was Christian participation in resurrection and life, through baptism into the death of Christ, here becomes participation in the life of a creative god (though one which was alien to antiquity). In Holderlin the frenzy of creation makes the imitatio deorum, hence the ecstatic comradeship of the round dance with these immortals, hence immortality in the work while it is happening. But then, however, comes the world of shadows, even here: for the subject no longer experiences immortality, claims no personal, no present share in the immortality of the work. Nonetheless here, in contrast to dispersions into the universe, a noble part of the individual’s own intellectual world is hoped for as rescued from general decay. And this also in a manner which seems original: from



the new aeon of the work, one which appears only in the history of civilization. Yet even here a kind of borrowing takes place, from strangely recent depths of cultural consciousness. There is for example the tradi¬ tional Roman fame, which transposes itself in highly patrilineal fashion into the stars. There is an Egyptian element at work in the belief in permanence, the belief in the work itself, comparable to the survival of the personal essence (the Ka) in the statue. And, this time a borrowing which occurs only here: in the pathos of the permanence of the work, in its height and essence itself, there is undoubtedly the continuing influence of the idea of the holy books which orientalizing late antiquity brought back to Europe or developed for Europe. The Koran and the Bible at that time or from then on were regarded not merely as life-directing works, but as works which had elapsed from time, which stood outside transitoriness which stood in eternity. It was from this model or canon that the modern idea of classicism first developed in secularized form, hence the unmoving rainbow of perfection above the waterfall of history. Without this feeling of classicism or aspiration to classicism, genius would have had no space within the diminished or vanished hope for survival to expect and to be granted immortality in the work. This is joined by a secularized continuing influence, concerning the permanent star of books and the human life which seeks to cling to it. Permanence appears to arise when events in the book, as the saying goes, are immortalized, but also when the book makes of them a departure, an exodus as extract. People die, cities sink into ruins, empires collapse, but the library has gathered up all the meanings from transitoriness and therefore - for literary consciousness - preserved them. The Baroque in particular cultivated this idolatry of the book, as if it were a new arena, elapsed from death (cf. Benjamin, Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels, 1928, p. 83); thus at the end of all things, apart from the Bible, an orbis scriptus remains. All this continues to be influential in the immortality image of the work, the Bible and the reified library continue to be influential in immortality through the work. But of course very differently than in the Bible and the Koran, the mounds in which the defuncti, the no longer functioning, lie and have their huge holiday no longer open up. Survival thought to be literal, and not that thought to be in literature, looked very different, gave the dying person a different fixative of his soul than the metaphorical survival, accessible to so few, of work that outlasts. Yet this very relative, very metaphorical remedy against death cannot be annihilated now that the old landscape of immor¬ tality has disappeared. Immortality-utopia produces itself anew in the act



and the continued existence of intellectual production, and here too - at the price of no personal survival - it can manage without invisible spaces.

Death as the chisel in tragedy Nor did writers tire of presenting beautiful dying in this way. If not in themselves then in fictional people, in the heroes of their plays. Death, with nothing in it or behind it any longer, may always be depressing, but given the distance of the stage it is uplifting. And here this distance does not even necessarily remain: fictional people anyway, if they are power¬ fully grasped and elaborated, seem curiously real. They are so in the stratum of artistic pre-appearance, but with a Being in this pre-appearance which is driven to an end and therefore has an intensified effect. Of course, the soldiers in a picture are not simultaneously perpetrators of the event they portray, any more than actors are. All this has life only in the spectator, but the characters themselves, embodied by the actors, accordingly do not coincide with the actors, let alone with the spectators. On the contrary, they are the historical Anthony, Caesar, Wallenstein once again, in collected form. Or if the character is completely fictitious, a King Lear, then its life and death is one which could have been and which is now just as much driven to its end and may be just as real in its way as the fictional Caesar. If there were nothing but illusion here, it would not be possible that precisely tragic figures, even non-fictionally occur in history and that, both as fictional and as driven further, they appear as history made essential. Napoleon comes across as a tragic hero, even though no commensurate tragedy about him has been written, and if he were performed in Shake¬ spearean style then there would here be no rift between illusion and reality, but rather St Helena would be a final act with more perfection. Likewise in well-depicted fictional characters the most important characteristic of human Being is preserved, namely the moral. Not their spectators and not their authors but they themselves experience guilt and atonement and, more important: deliverance from both. So much for the moment about a life, a death, which tragic characters in particular can enact, without illusion. This observation is important in order to understand one of the most disciplined approaches of a consciousness which has lost belief to death. For tragic immortality in the work, as a utopian consolation, is likewise granted only to a few, but attainable attitude did emanate from the tragic death. It seemed and seems, as a proud death, not to annihilate life, but precisely to affirm it. To affirm it when the upright-essential aspect of a



person faces death as an equal, indeed forces death to seal precisely this upright-essential quality. To this extent the tragic image of death, as it has been immanently developed, still has a select significance, but as, unlike immortality in the work, this image does not presuppose talent, but attainable will and attitude, its significance is not intellectual-aristocratic. Nor is it merely work-based and metaphorical, but - although it is enacted in a fictional work - a personally effective significance. Even up to the point that death for the tragic person and his cause is used almost paradoxically-positively. Here the hero shows how death can be incorporated into him. He is not cancelled out in death, although not only his life but also his striving is trampled underfoot. In human terms he comes into form through this end, the tragic death works as a chisel. Indeed even the tragic play,* in which no intense characters go under, comes across as an event which contains not only unhappiness, beautified by emotion. Instead the emotion raises the trodden flower or the grave of the noble, the once great individual into a lament; it shrouds the corpse, makes the corpse-like good. Only the vulgar goes down into Orcus without a sound, whereas even the smallest spark of light appears colourful and large in the tears of emotion. Even that form of tragic play which was developed in the Baroque, in clear contrast to strict tragedy, makes transitoriness into something rescued, indeed makes it the condition on which there can be any rescue at all, namely any ‘harvesting’ into symbol. The dying person here does not become statuesque but allegorical, in accordance with Benjamin’s insight: ‘And the characters of the tragic play die because it is only in this way, as corpses, that they can enter into the allegorical homeland’ (Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels, 1928, p. 217). The corpse becomes an emblem, indeed all history, as a scene of devastation and only as such, becomes an emblem in the Baroque: ‘Deadness of the characters and departedness of concepts are therefore the pre-requisite for the allegorical transforma¬ tion of the pantheon into a world of magical conceptual creatures’ (l.c., p. 225). The Baroque tragic play thus greets death, as ‘the significant division of a living thing into the disjecta membra of allegory’. But the hero becomes statue and not ruin, the only statue among ruins, according to the plastic interpretation so to speak, in tragedy. This can also be expressed as follows: the complaint against death is raised in the tragic play, hut is then dropped; only in the tragedy is the case carried through, and though it is lost for the life For the distinction between ‘tragic play’ (Trauerspiel) and ‘tragedy’ (Tragodie), see Vol. I, p. 429L and n.



of the hero, it is won for his character. Accordingly, in tragedy no one may fall except through his own actions; where this does not happen, for example in the case of Max and Thekla, the human sacrifices for Wallenstein, mere tragic play immediately occurs in the midst of tragedy. * Therefore only in tragedy and in the attitude which corresponds to it, but here inevitably, is death, which is then certainly not lamentable, supposed to be able to be and above all: to have to be a value-laden definitivum. A definitivum not of the end but of conclusion, as that of a character who becomes statuesque in tragic death. Lukacs, from a still neo-classical position, therefore still without reference to the actual, social issue which the hero in his character represents in each case, developed the notion of this hard, brilliant consolation most consistently. Without the older images of guilt and atonement, without an origin of tragic poetry in the idea of sacrifice of laying down one’s life to atone for guilt, but of course also without the pathos of the tragic hero as a fighter against fate, fate which is hostile to man, hostile to Prometheus. On the contrary: ‘The essence of these great moments in life is the pure experience of selfhood’ (Die Seele und die Formen, 1911, p. 336). And death falls from it, like the chisel from the finished statue, indeed here it is supposed to be irrelevant even beforehand when it asserts its importance with blood, danger, murder. Genuine drama as form itself takes its characters’ lives, i.e. the undecided, the atmospheric life in mere experienced reality, ‘the anarchy of chiaroscuro’ in which nothing ever swings to the uttermost. Tragedy has no biology and no psychology: ‘The readiness to face death of the tragic character, his serene calm in the face of death or his blazing ecstasy of death is only ostensibly heroic, only the human-psychological view; the dying heroes of tragedy... are already dead long before they die’ (l.c., p. 342). According to this view, death is merely the making-visible of a shape which is already present anyway, in its essence; just as, for example, Michelangelo already saw the statue in the block and all his chisel had to do was remove the superfluous material around it. Or as the late Schelling metaphysicized this chiselling, now no longer as tragic, but towards selfhood: ‘The common notion which regards death as a separation of soul and body sees the body as an ore in which the soul is encircled like a precious metal; death is the process of separation which frees the soul from this matter which encircles and surrounds it and presents it clear and in its purity. The other notion would tend more to compare the effect of death with that process in which the spirit or the essence of a plant is * In Schiller’s tragedy ‘Wallenstein’.



extracted... The death of a person is then not so much a separation as an essentification, in which only the contingent is destroyed but the essence, that which man actually is, is preserved’ (Werke, IV2, p. 2o6f.). Almost in the same sense a Church Father, Gregory of Nyssa, had celebrated death and before that the mortification of asceticism, as the ‘last remedy for the body’, in such a way that the sin-distorted body is ‘recast into its transfiguration’. And Plato, so inclined to the idea of purely represented genus, observes in his ‘Cratylus’ that it was wise of Pluto to wish to associate with men only after their death, after the soul is purified of all the evil and corruption of the body. All this borders, in secularized form, on the tragic emergence of selfhood, with death as forming and, basically, form-appearance of a Being-Essential. However, in Lukacs’ still neo-classical theory of tragedy, dying, indeed destruction itself, is omitted. According to this interpretation, both are the same atmospheric chiaroscuro as the life of experienced reality, are verbs and not essentialities. The mere process of destruction is removed from tragic decisions and decidednesses, and so also, from pure statuesque immanence, is the Promethean tension of the hero against fate. Thus the statuesque ultimately leaves out, along with the atmosphere, the aura of tragic death and its possible background. It not only skips over blood, murders, tragic gloom, it also leaves, in ‘pure selfhood’, no other relief than the back conflict-ground, the content of the represented cause for which the tragic hero goes to his death, with naive or considered consistency. This cause may of course be ‘pure selfhood’, appearing in the formal consistency of an inflexible character; to this extent, disregarding the content of this character, even Richard III would be a tragic figure. But more crucial is the positive-universal, the humanrepresentative goal-content of the unshakeable will, which nails the flag to the mast of the ship, however it may go down. Also the emblem on this flag is never that of a mere person alone and of their ‘pure selfhood’, however essential it may appear; thus precisely the Marxist Lukacs, taking up Marx’s and Engels’ line in the Sickingen debate with Lassalle,* subsequently sought to bring out the more objective relief of the tragic, with a different chisel. Precisely the social cause which the hero in his respective character represents and for which he endures in his necessary actions. So that even ‘pure selfhood’, Ferdinand Lassalle, 1825-64, the founder of the German Socialist movement, wrote a tragedy on Franz von Sickingen, a German Protestant knight who led a nobles’ revolt during the Reforma¬ tion. Lassalle sent the play to Marx and correspondence ensued in which Engels joined. Marx criticized Sickingen as a revolutionary hero. He wrote to Lassalle suggesting that, like his Franz von Sickingen, he had placed the Lutheran-knightly opposition above the plebeian-Munzerian opposition. See letter of 19th April 1859 (to Lassalle) and 10th June 1859 (to Engels). See also Lukacs ‘Die Sickingendebatte’ in ‘Karl Marx und Friedrich Engels als Literaturhistoriker’ (Aufbau 1948).



however pure, is ultimately only the vehicle of these social conflicts and contents: certainly not as a mere idea on two legs, but in such a way that the tragic individual as character is one finally only because, apart from the fatally clear mould, he characteristically enacts what is contained in these social forces. That is to say that he characterizes colliding legal and moral orders; these alone substantiate the tragic conflict. Either in the case of heroes who represented an existence, a legal order which was not morally finished, which had not descen¬ ded without a sound into Orcus (matriliny in Sophocles’ ‘Antigone’). Or in the case of heroes of a revolt which has come too soon, of a legal and moral order not yet objectively ripe in its conditions (Spartacus, Miinzer and - to remain in the literature of the tragic - to some extent Egmont). These rebels are above all the human brothers of Prometheus, of the prototype of the tragic hero as a canonical hero. And from them the last light is also cast on to all the socially more restricted defiant substance of tragic heroes. The light of the un¬ refuted quos ego, sealed precisely by death, hence of the hero who is not more powerful but better than fate with its gods and who as such, only as such, announces a true ‘pure selfhood’ as lasting, for his followers. This rebellion has been active from the beginning in tragedy, indeed astonishingly long before any actual rebellion; it can be detected in the greatness of the long-sufferer, it forms the first reserve of man against gods and fate. And to this extent therefore the tragic death, which makes the hero and his cause so memorable and so ponderable, was also able to appear as a refuge from the transitoriness of man, at least of the heroic man. And above all, like immortality in the work, more shapedly visible than this, this refuge posits itself as utterly immanent, without any transcendence. Classical tragedy, of course, manages without Hades, and even the meads of asphodel of the blessed would be out of place here; modern tragedy does not in the least imply a heaven. This is why the nature of the tragicutopian death-consolation could remain now that religious ideas have departed, with whose ‘non omnis confundar’ the receptivity to un-death in death even here is undoubtedly still filled. Nonetheless, the tragic downfall, or rather the fullness of life with which it is endured, has added a piece of gold to the black flag of death in far from transcendental times. These are usually perceived only on the stage, in works of fiction, but far less with illusion, far more clearly in pre-appearance than the bourgeois contemplation of art, which for so long was or has remained usual, is able to muster. For this the consternation was too great, and that which it is capable of communicating, even of revealing, despite beautiful dying. Tragedy has kept distinguishable a subject-space, a Promethean essence-space, in which the enacted annihilation gains no admittance, although it first contributed to the specific appearance of this space.



Disappearance of lethal nothingness in socialist consciousness All take earlier flowers into the grave, among them some which are dried or have become unrecognizable. Only one kind of person can get by on the way to death almost without traditional consolation: the red hero. By professing till his murder the cause for which he has lived, goes clearly, coldly, consciously into the nothingness in which, as a freethinker, he has been taught to believe. His sacrifice is therefore different from that of previous martyrs; for they, almost without exception, died with a prayer on their lips, believing they had gained heaven. Religious ecstasy not only left the fear of death far behind it, it even in several cases (the song of the Baptists at the stake) conferred insensitivity to pain. The communist hero, on the other hand, under the Tsar, under Hitler and ever since, sacrifices himself without hope of resurrection. His Good Friday is not mitigated or even cancelled out by an Easter Sunday on which he person¬ ally will be re-awakened to life. The heaven towards which the martyrs, in flame and smoke, stretched out their arms is not there for the red materialist; nonetheless the latter, as a professor of faith, superior, dies as only the early Christians or the Baptists were. To this hero Buchner’s utterly this-worldly saying about people applies: ‘We are like the meadow saffron which bears seed only after winter.’ This is as paradoxical as it is magnificent, and how much it is both is shown by the challenges to it, which here seem most natural but in fact are not frequent, indeed often occur only among apostates. Thus in Artshibashev’s ‘Ssanin’, a defeatist novel written after the unsuccessful revolution of 1905 in Russia, Ssanin, the hero, says that he refuses to be hanged in order that the workers of the thirty-second century should suffer no lack of food and sexual pleasure. Such things, at first, at poor sight, appear consistent for a materialist who even as a revolutionary follows the materialistically inherited pleasureprinciple (and what is pleasure if it is not also one’s own pleasure?). Nonetheless, Ssanin is an exception, even a contemptible one; the revolu¬ tionary materialists held their heads high in the face of the class enemy’s gallows, as the most powerful idealists so to speak, although for them personally nothing remained but the grave, the idea, the certainty of not being present at the realization of this idea. As enlightened seafarers they would ostensibly have had every reason to avoid the fateful coast on which man and mouse are dashed and where no discrimination is made between the two. These steadfast individuals did not believe they were destined to be welcomed



with alleluias, they thought that they would at best find a niche in the memory of their contemporaries and of posterity, enshrined in the hearts of the working class, but they sharply rejected any hope of a celestial metaphysics and a Last Judgement in which the righteous receive the reward withheld from them in life. In short, his belief in a mechanical universe meant that the red hero, when, as a corpse, he was utterly transformed into dead mechanism, returned without pleasure but also without pantheism to dust; - yet this materialist dies as if all eternity were his. This means that he had already ceased to take his ego so seriously, he had class consciousness. Personal consciousness is so absorbed into class consciousness that to the person it is not even decisive whether he is remembered or not on the way to victory, on the day of victory. It is not an idea in the sense of abstract faith but concrete community of class consciousness, the communist cause itself, which holds the head up here, without delirium but with strength. And this certainty of class consciousness, cancelling out individual survival, is indeed a Novum against death. No traces whatsoever of a secularized kind, in the case of Fu&k, Fiete Schulz and so many others, replace the courage which comes from within themselves or improve on it with ideas from outside. The communist hero, his ‘technique’ of holding out against interrogations, of gritting his teeth against hellish pain, of going to his death without betraying the cause itself or even the name of a comrade - this extraordinary power appears to be completely without any borrowing. It does not use any earlier images of death, it neither fortifies itself through dissolution in the universe nor through immortality in the framed work, nor even in any appreciable way through tragic greatness, at least as far as its formative element, indeed its statue is concerned. Thus red-atheistic courage in death is in fact original compared with the romantic addictions of the bourgeois sense of individuality. But of course this originality does not mean that, even though it needs no borrowing, it could not and does not enter into an inheritance. One with the strength to win from older wishful images of a mythologically projected kind an element of unmythological, this-worldly meaning. The Feuerbachian re-functioning (not rescuing) of mythologically given wishful ideas has, precisely in that which, according to its calmest manifestation, can be called the Sacco and Vanzetti* phenomenon, a - theoretically far from adequately understood - practical aspect. The disappearance of nothingness in socialist consciousness is the * Nicola Sacco, 1891-1927, and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, 1888-1927, Italian-American anarchists who were executed in Massachusetts on charges of murdering a shoe-factory paymaster and guard.



filling of this nothingness with new, humane contents. However by driving away or at least concealing the mechanism of the background which is empty of life, empty of man, they are not without connection to older, humane-teleological series. Though in the freshest manner; so that the association which takes up and preserves the human beyond death is here wholly produced and never mythologically given. It is instead objectivelyutopianly given, namely in the struggle against the beast of oppression, in the service of the unrelenting tendency to freedom which always raises its fighters above themselves, raises them to the best in themselves and in all the oppressed. It is into this that the red martyr feels taken up, precisely because he does not want to be a martyr at all but a staunch fighter for himself too, for his proven, convincing, fruit-bearing essence. For an essence which now presents itself neither as individual nor as collective-general, but which here, too, has individual-collective unity, solidarity, within it. Not only the solidarity of spatial with and beside one another, but most especially temporal solidarity as well, extending most presently to the victims of the past, to the victors of the future. Thus the indestructible element of revolutionary-solidaristic consciousness, of a security without any mythology, with all insight and tendency, receives and preserves. This consciousness - with regard to its bearer - means that the immortal element in the individual is the immortal element in his best intentions and contents; and so this best no more feels annihilated by fascist execution than it previously felt refuted by the fascist scaffold. Here the revolutionary work of liberation becomes for its steadfast individuals the itself steadfast, lasting stock of the soul. It is for them the soul of future humanity appearing up ahead, which they have already become by faith unto death. The men of the future for whom the hero sacrifices himself will have far easier deaths. Their life is no longer violently cut short, the fear of life itself, insofar as the ruling class caused it, not least and most comprehen¬ sively through war, is dead and gone. But however it may be postponed, natural death remains, which cannot be affected by any social liberation. Mediation with that which is natural in death is now a specifically world¬ ly, world-philosophical problem precisely for liberated, solidaristic humanity. All the more so because, when poverty and the care of life are abolished, the care of death arises in especially stark form, so to speak without the undergrowth of other, banal depressions. Mediation with the subject of society is achieved in classless society, yet the hypothetical subject of nature itself, from which death comes, is located in another field, one more distant than that of achieved social harmony. Et in Arcadia ego, reads the old



allegorical inscription, among the idylls of Theocritus: but this ego is not, as Schiller interpreted the text, the exultant ego that was likewise born in Arcadia or will be born there and thus dances. On the contrary, the ego of the prophetic inscription refers to mors, so even in Arcadia death is visibly inscribed. The dance of death still takes place in the loveliest place on earth. All the more visibly because a new earth may be entered into in the social beginning, because - not least - the contempt for death from the period of heroic revolution has come to an end. The supra-lethal fire of social revolution no longer finds sustenance in its product, the classless society, certainly no longer the same sustenance. In order to investigate it, the final horizon problems of our existence must first become clearer, or rather more clearly directed, posed and influenced than is possible within a concept of nature which remains mechanistic. Secularized velleities from expired ideology and theology no longer mean anything whatever in a classless existence, one related to reality. But it is certainly always the strength of communism that it makes free faith without lies in its critique of appearance. And therefore also that it counteracts nihilism, in which the bourgeoisie, in the face of death, can no longer even bring forth its own wishful images, let alone a possible truth in these wishful images. Whereas dialectical materialism, as opposed to mechanical materialism, does not recognize any barrier in its this-world; consequently it recognizes no pre-determined nothingness of a so-called naturally ordained order either. An order which has taken from the earlier, divinely ordained order the idea of fate, of uncontrollable fate and transferred it one sphere lower, to that of a closed natural necessity. Dialectical materialism instead emphasizes controlled external necessity, one which, because controlled, is ultimately exploded; humanization of nature is a utopian final goal of its practice. And realized wishful images of the death-content will in future be a central part of it, wishful images, of course, that are constitutive in the sense that they are mediatable with the tendency and the latency of the real process. Hence here, too, conclusive negations within socialism are as harmful as their opposite: dogmatic-fixed fantasizing. Being enshrined in the hearts of the working class is memory, but historical memory itself must first be enshrined if it is not to have at its end a finally triumphant nihilism, namely one of total mechanism. In other words, ‘history’ must be founded anew in the physics of a still open Totum, and this to us no longer disparate cosmology lies in the line of extension of all communist problems - existentially recognizable in death. Communist cosmology here and everywhere is the problem area of a dialectical mediation of man and of his



work with the possible subject of nature. This is no more than a problem and, with respect to practical reason, a postulate, but as such the expansion of the realm of freedom to death as fate is legitimate. Precisely because for this entire problem, for anything like a meaningful formulation of it, a non liquet of the material still exists, no No a limine is predicable; if there is not yet a positive solution to our fate in nature, there is equally no conclusively negative solution. Socialism does not think and act with theologically inherited stopgaps of the bourgeois-mechanistic world-picture, nor equally does it think and act with mechanism itself and into its fixed nothingness. Nobody knows what lies hidden in the world outside the human working radius, i.e. in the as yet unmediated being of nature; what subject here directs the turnover, whether such a subject already ascertainably exists at all or already in this form; whether when it is encountered, ascertained, brought out it can be brought into mediation with man as the subject of history. All this depends on the development and the prospects of the human seizure of power, i.e. most precisely: on the development and the appearing horizons of communism. Theorypractice, when it has put the social utopia right and set it on its feet, has the remedy for death as one of its final problems. So that the possible real meaning even of the intention of the death- and final-utopia is examined and, if this meaning exists, it is mediated with the real correlate in the world, which prevents this intention from being entirely homeless. Here the saying applies: non omnis confundar, I will not completely fall into disorder, i.e. in that which is man’s best part. And man’s best part, his found essence, is at the same time the last and best historical fruit. A nature which not only takes its course with the earth as a dead moon at the end or even in the stereotyped destruction and formation of stars and thus, for all its mechanistic change, runs on the spot, can - with hope certainly not dashed - enshrine this fruit within itself, indeed it can become this fruit itself and does not need to destroy it.

V. Joy of Life and Fragment in All Things

Journey of discovery into death Can we get around the final fear by its being no fear at all? In fact when a healthy person considers the end a quite different feeling sometimes comes



to life. Fear is changed by a strange feeling of curiosity, by the desire to know what dying is all about. This emotion is aroused by the great change which death in any case brings with it. Curiosity transforms the falling curtain into one which also parts and reveals. For it the end of life is at the same time the beginning of something wholly unprecedented, even if it is only nothingness. This curiosity can better itself to become a kind of wish for discovery and for knowledge, it looks forward to the act of dying as to a revelation. Of course, this drive to discovery presupposes an ego which survives in and indeed after dying in order to be able to observe death. Schopenhauer ridicules this superbly, he compares a man who expects special revelations from death to a scholar on the track of an important discovery, but just at the moment when he thinks he has found the solution the light is blown out on him. Nevertheless the subject, before the light is blown out on him, circles with undeniable expectation around the mysteries of the bier; this expectation exists side by side with the fear of death (provided it is not acute) and posits thirst for knowledge instead of fear. Brooding puberty, a philosophical bent which has survived, thus cherish especially the wish to be surprised by knowledge after the closing of the gate. It should not be forgotten, though, that the cheapest kind of metaphysics has also set up shop in this very place. Second sight after the fashion of Cagliostro, spiritualism, feed on the curiosity to know in advance a state which everyone will experience sooner or later anyway. At all events the expectation which appears in such a dismal place is certainly a striking gift, especially when, as usually happens here, it imagines the end as something unprecedented. Even imagines that it has a key to it which opens inner doors and doors to the same light, more luminous state in which the beloved dead are remembered and a return to them is possible. Expectation then intends death as a kind of journey, both into its own subject and into the overpowering mystery of existence. At the moment of ‘departure’ from life the veil of the incognito seems to it to fall from the subject, as does the so-called outer shell from the mystery of existence. From this point of view, any journey can anticipate an element of the final journey, an element of the northern but colourful night of death, of the extremest exoticism. More surely than the night of love towards the side of sinking is entwined with death, the journey of love towards the side of seceding is entwined with it, towards the side of the great expedition. This is a drive which runs very wishfully through the final fear and, as one which sets forth, takes from this fear one of its most characteristic features: angustia, narrowness.



The moment as not-being-here; extra-territoriality to death A second wandering drive seeks far deeper, it is even more difficult for it to founder. It is located, as might be expected, in the midst of the moment, at the point where a person may approach his core. That which is nearest to us in our Being is at the same time the positing ground, the naked That of our Being. Because of its unsurpassable, utterly immediate nearness, the just lived moment or the Now which is this That is equally still completely obscure, dark, nowhere arrested and objectified (cf. Vol. I, p. 287f., p. 29sff.). The future, not the past, is its expansion; this is why the future is as obscure and unobjectified as the just lived moment, though not to the same degree. For the immediate That can actively grasp itself in acting for the future, in deciding. The immediate That, on the other hand, has set out on a road which stretches before us, where it appears not only as positing but also as driving, as tendency, and furthermore is mediated with the past. But as the future is also our self-engendering core it is not in itself subject from the outset to any categories of memory, as is the Become, the past; it can only be done, and sensed in a utopian way. The future can be known only (in premonition which has become scientific) insofar as it is in mediation with continuing tendencies of the past, i.e. is accessible to and represents the unenclosed, open categories of scientificconcrete utopia in mediated Novum. Does death, this event which both lies ahead and drags into extreme past and is in this respect decided, which brings into utterly unexperienced otherness and is in this respect at least undecided, does death bear any relation to the darkness of the lived moment? On its one decided side it is transformation into extreme past, but it is subject to no categories of memory, even if it is declared to be identical with our state before birth. Death on its other side, which certainly remains problematic (as a definitivum in a world where there are more fragments than definitiva) was never unwilling, despite and because of being the harshest anti-utopia which in realitate it is, to give space to a crowd of effusions and premoni¬ tions within it. Because of lack of continuity with life to date it is unwilling to give space to the categories of scientific-concrete utopia; yet it has, hypothetically, space for the future, space for giving birth to our core in abundance. In this entire area only questionings are possible for the time being, at best a supposition is possible - that death has a philosophical root in the darkness of the lived moment, indeed that both have the same root. The unobjectified That, the being-that but not yet being-here



of the ground of existence is undoubtedly the driver of Becoming in the future series, i.e. of attempted objectification of being-that out into mediated being-here; but to this extent the ground of existence, entering into the process, as ground of becoming is also the ground of transitoriness. And this holds as long as and insofar as the moment is not tenably objectified, as the That of existence has itself been realized. But because the central moment of our existing has not yet started out on the process of its objectifi¬ cation and, ultimately, of its realization, it cannot itself he subject to transitoriness. Quite apart from the larger, for the time being undecidable question of whether the darkness of the lived moment and death have the same root, namely still involved being-that without being-here; apart from this, the processual extension of this darkness, as transitoriness, undoubtedly has the same content. Chronos devours his children, for the authentic one is not yet born, the ‘Stay awhile, you are so fair’ has not yet appeared. But also, the core of our existence which has not entered into process does not encounter the process with its transitorinesses, and consequently it is not encountered by them either. Something immediately sealed within itself, a Being which is not in being-here, may have death, as another kind of this involutio, as its neighbour, but it cannot have death, as the annihilation of a being-here, as its fate. And if the still sealed core of our existence were to open out of its immediateness, if it were also to enter into process or evolutio, then it would no longer enter, need to enter into any-process. For the matter itself would then be out, the deepest not yet conscious, not yet achieved matter; thus there would no longer be any occasion for process, therefore no transitoriness, which is always interwoven with mere Becoming. A different fight, the most inconspicuous and strongest of all familiar fights, thus unites with this. Although it does not illuminate the darkness of the lived moment, it applies to it accurately enough. Experiences (not yet more than these) are found in which something which in all public contexts is almost irrelevant suddenly impresses, as if a first sight of the That were con¬ tained within it. In the ‘Foundation’ above (Vol. I, p. 30off.), this point was described as that of astonishment pure and simple. This may be even the way a leaf turns in the wind, but what is thus intended may also be filled with more familiar, higher contents. The smile of a child, a girl’s glance, the beauty of a melody rising up from nothingness, the scornful flash of a strange word which does not seem rightly to belong anywhere. Yet this higher element is not necessary to stimulate and to fulfil the symbolic intention of the tua res agitur which appears in this way. It is deepest



astonishment, without any distraction, or the element of something authentic in the form of its question echoing within itself. What is intended, what strikes home here appeared in the exploration of anticipatory consciousness as the form of the absolute question; it describes the last of all consterna¬ tions and of its future archetypes. This last consternation is hovering, yet it has indubitable, though still extremely narrow correlates of landing for itself. A place of existing striking into itself now manifests itself, a place of sober, as it were everyday mysticism, i.e. of that which needs no ‘highest object’ in order to look to the end, but on the contrary a nearest, an extremely near object. What is nearest is for itself the core of existing itself, as the germ of the Not-Yet-Achieved; this fills the human moment, the unknown moment of man which sometimes only comes near to itself. The ‘Stay awhile, you are so fair’ now shows the most serious of the various light-signs, some faint, some portentous, in which it could conquer: that of being the index of non omnis confundar. Precisely because of its capacity for positive astonishment, of that which it reproduces in the objec¬ tive depth, in the narrowest-central latency light of it, there lives in every phenomenology of the non omnis confundar an enigmatic, currently often not at all guaranteed joy; it arises from great health, from the bottom right up to the top, and it gives space to the consciousness of a utopian aura in man. And the positive form of the absolute question is thus always a happy form, not effervescent, certainly not, but inconspicuous, elusive, still unnamable; nevertheless it is connected to this aura, as simplicity of its depth. Now it is precisely this joy and this form of astonishment which seek to look forward to death with strange certainty: not only as a journey of the extremest order hut as a setting-free precisely of the - exuberance of life. Pathos of the moment which is approached in the absolute question already senses in its darkness a new day and a new shore to which it beckons: no transcendent shore but the most immanent shore itself. Death, which both as individual death and as the distant possibility of cosmic entropy confronts future-oriented thinking as absolute negation of purpose, this same death, along with its possible future-content, now enters the final conditionality, the core conditionality which is illuminated by still unguaranteed joy and the lights of latency of the authentic. Death is thus no longer the negation of utopia and its ranks of purpose but the opposite, the negation of that which does not belong to utopia in the world; it strikes it away, as it strikes itself away before the non omnis confundar of the main issue: in the content of death itself there is then no longer any death but the revelation of gained life-content, core-content. This is an astonishing turn-about,



one which phenomenologically avoids the future’s gloomiest position, although - as it is scarcely necessary to stress - it certainly is not really occupied. But it is not only a presentiment of our capacities but the wellfounded appearance of a fulfilment which has its place here. This place is marked by the simply paradoxical major key in the funeral march, and its light is the lux luceat eis, the wishful subjunctive of a certainty in the midst of the requiem. Precisely because of this, however, precisely because of this existential or musical correlate, appearance here is more than pre-appearance, it blossoms not on the horizon but in an immediateness of a central kind, however unmediated it may still be. This is why, in numerous reports, con¬ sciousness of pre-death (certainly never of the unreportable moment of death itself) and consciousness of an essentiation strike together. In Tolstoy these are almost exclusively the great moments of phenomenologically appearing meaning and of the All, of the All Will Be Well which it claims to contain. Here, again and again, belongs the experience of the seriously wounded Andrei Bolkonsky on the battlefield of Austerlitz; even Karenin’s and Vronsky’s experience of unity at Anna’s deathbed belongs here, although it is one from outside, a mere wish to be able to die like this. It was argued above, in the discussion of the relation of death to the darkness of the lived moment, that darkness and its core may well have death (as involutio) as their neighbour but they cannot have death (as transitoriness) as their fate. Therefore the core of existing has not yet set off on the process and conse¬ quently is not affected by the transitoriness of the process; against death it has the protective circle of the Not-Yet-Living around it. But if the core itself had entered into the process, then its self-objectification, finally its self¬ intensification and therefore its self-realization would no longer be one of process: with this resultant moment the realm of devouring Chronos would be completely at an end. Nowhere has the wishful longing for the authentic, which cannot be corrupted by moths and rust,* appeared more passionately than it does in death, its empirically hardest counter-blow, nowhere else has it at the same time produced such transcendental counter-movements, entwinements of utopia with religion. Was utopia able to land in religion, did that which is called God appear as the highest life, as the object of the highest wish? Undoubtedly, as far as abstract, even mythical utopia was the driving force and was pursued; it lives on heaven. The great humanity religions have often provided improper empty promises for the will to a better world, but they were for a long time also its most decorated room, its entire * Cf. Matthew 6, 19.


wishful images of the fulfilled moment

structure. In no longer abstract, in concretely-mediated utopia, as finally became clear with the image of death, this transcendence has, however, been removed: a devotion to human liberation and to that of its new space of existence exists; outside this space there is no liberation. Instead of the gaze upwards a gaze inward, into origin, arises, forwards into the process and into the identification of men as origin to a good end. Death is then part of this process, but not of the subjects from which the process first comes and to whose identification it is directed. Therefore firstly: the core of existing, as still unbecome, is always extra-territorial to becoming and passing, neither of which have yet grasped our core at all. Therefore secondly: the core of existing, if it had become and at the same time, when brought out, had turned out well, would in this achievedness be all the more extra-territoriality to death; for this death itself would have become remote and extinct, along with the processual inadequacy of which it is part. The utopia of the non omnis confundar supplies and gives to the negation of death every shell to crack, but it gives it only the power to crack open the shells around the subject-content, which, if it were significantly out, indeed if it were extracted and determined, would no longer be a shell of appearance. Wherever existing comes near to its core, permanence begins, not petrified but containing Novum without transitori¬ ness, without corruptibility. Only if the process of the self-objectified agent, the agent materially developing towards its authenticity had reached an absolute In Vain, would death strike the core of nature which is in men’s hearts. Only then would it have the power over it which it does not have over the exuberance of life in men, the not yet done. The old saying of Epicurus that where man is death is not, and where death is man is not, comes true here. Indeed the proposition of the lasting non-coincidence of the two comes true in a far deeper sense, precisely with regard to the basic impetus, as yet unborn and hence also insufficient for the grave, which is concentrated in man, though to differing degrees. Childhood and future do not become less in it, nor that supernumerary and unmeasured existence which has not yet achieved its result. But non omnis confundar, still invisible, in this glowing-dark core ultimately touches above all the potentially eagle-like quality of human matter; and this Upwards to the All has been least affected by nothingness, as long as the world has lasted. Is not the whole of eternity mine? asked Lessing; at the least this transmigratory claim applies to the intensive Mine of people in the world, a Mine that has not yet become visible.




If you look into the dark long enough, there is always something there. Yeats

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews II, 1

What man is not but wishes to be he imagines as existing in his gods, a god is man’s happiness-drive satisfied in the imagination. Feuerbach, Lectures on the Essence of Religion

The belief in the other world is the belief in the freedom of subjectivity from the limits of nature - consequently the belief of man in himself. Feuerbach, The Essence of Religion

Those who charged the Christians with burning down Rome with firebrands were slanderers, but they were at least far nearer to the nature of Christianity than those among the moderns who tell us that the Christians were a sort of ethical society, being martyred in a languid fashion for telling men they had a duty to their neighbours, and only mildly disliked because they were meek and mild. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

The critique (of religion) has picked to pieces the imaginary flowers on the chain, not so that man should wear an unimaginative, dreary chain but so that he can cast off the chain and pluck the living flower. Marx, Introduction to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right

I. Introduction

In good hands Fear of nothing, nothing at all, is blind. It does not see where the blow comes from when it comes. Thus the person who fears ghosts feels exposed



on all sides, front, back, right, left, above and below at the same time. And even from something that seems utterly harmless terror can suddenly step forth, inhuman. But the ghost remains equally close to the grave, equally uncanny, when it seems to appear as friendly. Even the man who feels in good hands and shakes them may shudder when what this hand belongs to is, for example, dead. He senses an oppressive atmosphere, and even friendly light around him, in front of him, above him, remains ghostly. It clouds and smokes, the gaze at it is no clearer than the different kind of thing which it thinks it perceives and does not perceive. Hence even horror, which fills the ghost-ridden, never entirely disappears in the religious, it becomes timidity. And this lasts even where the religious person does not prove to be helpless or simply dependent. When he ventures into the strange river, indeed when by magical acts or as a chosen one he makes himself important. The religious man then stands as it were armed, he is no longer a squashed worm, he has become at least a servant of his onrushing idol. Yet even then, even in this mixture of being-on-the-watch and watchmen there are still storms and rays. The believer can be sensible, indeed in lower versions he can represent his cause in a ridiculous-banal fashion and also talk about it in this way. But it is typical of this river filled with timidity that for the time being it never becomes completely surveyable.

Lunatics again, occult path It is not surprising that special dreamers are to be met here too. They are perforated enough to allow unstandardized states to enter into them. That which is deranged has so deranged the limits of the ordinary everyday that it can easily coat the unusual with the everyday and vice-versa. Into the ego thus split there enters not only a sense of sin of a strength long presumed dead. Here, as incorporated super-ego, a pride, a certainty copied from the saviour takes root, such as the sane, even with the extremest arrogance, could never bring off. No false Demetrius can hold out for long, but a false Jesus among lunatics certainly can. And, if they are women, at least in such a way that they go about as his Mary. Thus there were mothers of God in the Middle Ages, and even in the modern period Johanna Southcott, an English peasant-woman, claimed to be the woman with child of Revelation 12. Her followers gave her a golden bed, as well as a cradle, linen and bath, all this was better than in the stable in those days. But



the saviour’s mother died in the golden bed before it became a childbed, and when her body was dissected to save its precious fruit it was found to be empty. To make up for this something as unexpected as a - female Jesus appeared elsewhere, in a wishful dream come true, which buys the dearest goods for nothing. For the English laundress Anna Lee brought herself as Christ into the world, as his female reincarnation, and was believed. Around 1760 the saviouress migrated to the English colonies on the upper Hudson but, in keeping with her former profession, nothing more than a holy laundry and a Jerusalem of the immaculate kitchen grew up around her. Instead of the much more numerous and certainly more moving male imitators of Christ - one of the last was the Italian coachman David Lazaretti, to whom the Sabine country people built a church -, instead of these manifold renaissances of one already born let there appear here the relatively original image of two saviours of a special kind, from whose abnormality a new religion was almost made. One of these, however, was not indisputably possessed but, at least at the beginning and the end, a half-swindler: Sabbatai Zewi. He claimed in 1648 and then again in 1666, the supposed year of the end of the world, to be the Messiah (cf. Vol. I, p. 328), indeed he even signed his decrees in the grandest blasphemous style: ‘I, the Lord your God Sabbatai Zewi, who led you out of the land of Egypt.’ The Jews of the Baroque who believed in him were feverishly preparing to depart, but the god of the last days, when danger threatened, went over to Islam and ended his days as a doorman in a seraglio. Far less a Messiah and without bankruptcy, but nevertheless a ‘latter-day saint’, one truly possessed appeared on the scene in the last century, within Chris¬ tianity but tending beyond it: Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormons. Legend gives the following account of the beginning: in a hill near New York Joseph Smith found an ancient chest containing gold plates, the plates were inscribed with mysterious signs, Smith deciphered them with God’s aid, and the only genuine, the arch-American Bible, the ‘Book of Mormon’ came to light. It was written in the Book that the Jewish Levites had emigrated as early as the building of the Tower of Babel, but Jesus had stayed with the American Levites precisely between his resurrection and his ascension, i.e. long before Columbus, and had given them the true revelation. The Jewish patriarch Mormon at the time engraved the revelation in Egyptian (Smith calls it ‘reformed Egyptian’) and consigned it to the hill in the state of New York, a kind of spiritual Klondyke. The content of the treasure-chest - a geographical-utopian motif recurs here (cf. Vol. II, p. 754), the motif of the buried letter from God or book of



mysteries awaiting its pre-determined discoverer

the content of the

treasure is itself a promise again: ‘Go West, young man’ in chiliastic form. The Canaan which Christ intended was, according to this, in the Wild West; and the Mormon trek, one of the greatest migratory movements in the modern era, thus built a new Zion around the Great Salt Lake. Or rather a Mohammedan-Puritanical hybrid and business structure grew up, seasoned with polygamy, sanctified with gold plates. In keeping with its grass roots, the New Zion soon scarcely looked more celestial than Chicago, the sanctity of the last days soon became identical with what is known in business as a clear monthly settlement. Salt Lake City with its tabernacle and holy safe in which the gold tablets are kept thus became business as usual, and the huge fools’ religion became only the roundabout way to it. But this roundabout way was more necessary than in previous times, in order to rediscover sealed letters from God and to make them credible to tens of thousands. Eduard Meyer in his book on the Mormons compared Joseph Smith with Mohammed; and there is some truth in this, but only to the extent that a piece of lunacy today gives a hint at the believed strength of earlier religious wishful images which themselves, at that time and place, had delusion rather only in their train. Differently from medical, social, technological wishful dreams yet unspeakably world¬ improving here too, delusion finally enters into religious wishful dreams. Furthermore in flat periods and countries such as the nineteenth century and America it kept open specific gaps in the wishful dream and the Seven Sleepers’ tale* which waits in these gaps for its day. And let us not forget what second-rate clairvoyance achieves here. It, too, seeks by weird means to penetrate mysteries, and does so. They are purchased cut-price and look like it too, tailor-made for thick-heads yet sometimes still obscurely strange. Occult tomes from the last century such as Bulwer Lytton’s ‘Zanoni’ belong here. Then, in the Swedenborgian manner, Du Prel and his ‘Magic as an Experimental Science’, and also Franz Hartmann, petit-bourgeois-Paracelsian. Then, completely disordered but atavistically interesting, Blavatsky and her ‘Isis Unveiled’. At the peak of ‘Knowledge of Higher Worlds’ the occult journalist Rudolf Steiner established himself, a mediocrity in his own right. A mediocre, indeed unbearable curiosity, yet effective, as if mistletoe were still being broken off here, as if something shoddily druidical were fermenting, soaking, murmuring and chattering on newspaper. Whether the chatter and the The seven youths of Ephesus, said to have hidden in a cave during the Decian persecution and slept there for hundreds of years, waiting for Christ’s return.



low level are necessary for this kind of ‘initiation’ or occult activation it is difficult to say. There are a few, a very few, serious writings from the Steiner circle, for example Poppelbaum’s biosophical study ‘Man and Animal’ and several chemical-astrological boldnesses with imitations of alchemy; but everywhere else the mere chorus of a hundred thousand fools predominates. Nevertheless there sometimes also appears a dash of mediumistic disposition, an atavistic capacity for parapsychic phenomena, above all for atavistic clair¬ voyance. There can be no doubt that such phenomena and such dispositions still exist, nor that they rose extremely high in characters like Blavatsky and the somnambulistic Steiner. Atavistic clairvoyance was linked as it were subterraneously with mythic customs and cults, with world-pictures constructed on a different state of consciousness from that of today. Thus Steiner was after all able to touch on elements and secret teachings which from the outside are almost closed to modern consciousness, however great its philosophical empathy. Sometimes types such as these, shallow mermaids or minotaurs of tripod and journalism at the same time such as Blavatsky or Steiner, had in their consciousness a feedpipe from the unconscious, from the long-past, not-past. Or, like deep-sea fish, deformed and flattened, but still in a twilight form scarcely accessible to mythological research, old under-, inter- and hinterworlds rose putrefied to the surface. Mingled with strange correspondences right through the world; with the usual connecting lines cancelled out, with as it were displaced boundary stones. One example of this is Steiner’s pursuit of the ‘sphinx-like element, which still looks with a disturbing interrogation’, through all kinds of popular legends and ‘natural manifestations’, as far as that of ‘panic terror.’ Or even an atavistic-sympathetic analogy between uterus, brain and the firmament. Such (ultimately Paracelsian) flair for supposed ‘correspondences’ occurs today only in these theosophical tomes, in Gnosis for the slightly touched middle class. Less sympathetic, more cobbled together in the literary sense is the nonsense on world development out of and about the business of the gods in the world. Here there are not only religious beings everywhere so that one shudders with awe when one sees a flower blossoming or especially when a storm breaks; so full is everything of elemental spirits. Above all the entire planetarium is transformed into a religious institution, an educational institution in which gods create and educate, preside over respective ages and the heavenly bodies, as formerly in astrological nonsense. But then again and again, to supplement the guidance of the planets with more modem education, in the nonsense-structure of this not atavistic but cobbled together myth-cosmology - Hackel and evolution are also to be found, indeed evolution plus gods (at the lectern of the individual



stages) makes Steiner’s world grammar school complete. Let us stick instead to the atavistic clairvoyance of such types and the curious renewal it can give to magic which has become hocus pocus but was not so from the beginning. Let us stick not least to the undeniable fact that such stuff in places forms a parallel to colportage in literature. Just as this has kept alive, if not paved the way for, meanings which scarcely occur in good literature, so theosophical colportage produces tensions, inter-worlds, even archetypes which have been overlooked; at least it can produce such things if used carefully and as it were surrealistically. And this precisely because and insofar as theosophical atavisms are what they are, do not put on airs like the Catholic mythology of the other world, which in many respects is scarcely less incredible. Whereas the atavistic or colportage-like in much theosophy, precisely because of its inferiority, because as colportage it is not shy, can be put to indirect use as regards insight into mythical archetypes, wild-mysterious colourfulness. The miracle man is part of religion, and whoever omits him will learn nothing ultimately adequate about it. In the wishful and dream space of the unconditional, all-surpassing, which remains even after the subtraction of religions, he no longer has any place, but at the edge of this space nothing is less relevant than civilized feelings, definitions sterilized without astonishment. Even a miracle-man as dubious as Apollonius of Tyana* is closer to the religious sphere than Melanchthon.J and even more so Jakob Bohme is unspeakably closer than Schleiermacher. Theosophical colportage does not have a single point seriously in common with the men of the mystery cults, let alone with the Christian mystics of ancient times. Nonetheless it can show what’s what and where many a hubris broke into what was not built for it. Where Rabbi Low struggled with the archetype of Astarte and where the guardians of the threshold were feared, in short where the subject was armed when it penetrated behind the curtain into imagined worlds beyond. This has nothing to do with ‘Christ-impulse’ but it does have to do with the atavisms and fermenting images, the interim king¬ doms and graven images which preceded it. And the young Goethe learnt more about the Faust magic from the Rosicrucians than from Nicolai J for example. Apollonius Tyanaeus (c. 4 b.c. - 97 a.d.), a Pythagorean philosopher and reputed magician from Asia Minor, whose life and miracle-working have often been compared with those of Christ, t Philip Melanchthon, 1497-1560, a German humanist who collaborated with Luther and wrote ‘Loci Communes’, the first great Protestant work on the principles of the Reformation, t Christoph Friedrich Nicolai, 1733-1811, critic and novelist of the German Enlightenment, also a bookseller. He published a parody of‘Werther’: ‘The Joys of Young Werther’. Tormented by apparitions of the living and the dead, he submitted to a bizarre cure: leeches were applied to the end of his spine. Goethe derived the Proktophantasmist (Rump-visionary) from this incident which appears in the Walpurgis night scene in ‘Faust’, Part I, thus taking literary revenge on Nicolai.



Chiefs and magicians; every religion has founders Not the individual child paints but something universally child-like in him. And not the man of the people sings but shared deprivation or a shared spring sing from him. It is the group of something child-like or popular which lives here in individuals and speaks through them. A so to speak gifted ego is not necessary for the production of childhood images, for the creation of popular ballads. Indeed these expressive creations disappear or fade when, through sexual maturity in one case, through the individual¬ istic economy in the other, the group light no longer burns so universally and effectively around the head. The development of an ego through sexual maturity in one case and through individualistic economy in the other is certainly very different. Nonetheless, in the physiological as well as the economic case something separated, self-willed, stands out against the previous group soul. This group soul is undoubtedly also effective in religious movements and developments: but in these a kind of personality sui generis emerges long before so-called advanced social differentiation. Religious movements have often been, indeed are as a rule, connected with driving forces under or outside the ego, with convulsions, panic, possession: nevertheless the group here sets apart a separate figure, a leader. Primitives who have scarcely developed a division of labour and certainly no aristocracy, among whom the chief does not tower over the tribe, honour the medicine man. Among the original gentes* the chief has authority but no nimbus, he is primus inter pares, whereas the magician, even in a still completely cooperative community, is considered as being of a different kind. The mysterious powers attributed to him, the esoteric and often very arduous training he has had as a disciple of the spirit world, mark him out as individual and as solitude, even before any social classification. The special position of the magician, then of the teacher of magic, is consequently independent of other social differentiation; hence the magical individual appears on the scene very early. As such, thanks to his own recognized ‘charisma’, he did not need to wait for the place which otherwise, in other activities, was opened to the personal only by developed class society, and primarily by emerging or still rising capitalist society. From this follows a further, important characteristic: no religion has begun completely namelessly, i.e. without a - more weakly or strongly - stressed originator. Folk songs, even epics, may, even without the * Clans in Roman antiquity supposed to have a common origin and common rites.



exaggerations which Romanticism gave to this, come into being anony¬ mously, but religions are at least ordered and, if they arise anew, founded by a named person. Holy men are placed at the beginning of the religion, they have not only charisma like primitive magicians or even later miracle men but productivity. Here too belong the older types, predominantly orderers, they are founders, though to a lesser extent, even without a new god. An authority as penetrating as Frazer finds no exception to the rule that all great religions have been founded by impressive men (cf. The Golden Bough, 1935, IV 2, p. 159 et seq.). Now of course there are remarkable gradations in this impressiveness, gradations of lesser or greater, of more blurred or more distinc¬ tive intensity with which legend has handed down a genius religiosus. Thus for example Cadmus seems faint, Orpheus hazy, Numa Pompilius all too solemn, little shape emerges with them. They mark a beginning which is affixed to them, but they stand outside their faces, their not quite human faces. And the mythical originators of the Egyptian and Babylonian religions are incomparably more unassailable than Moses or Jesus. They get by almost without a historical core, are mere signs of a religious beginning, whereas Moses or Jesus have a face and through all the legend they hand down an uninventible, real bearing. They themselves entered into the religion which bears their name, as historical individuals by their appearance they changed a previous religious content. However, the fact that the more ordering originators of Egyptian and Babylonian religion, and also of ancient Chinese and ancient Indian religion, do not stand out anything like as distinctively as Lao Tzu or Buddha, let alone Moses and Jesus, does not disprove the rule that religions, unlike folk ballads and ancestral epics, have founders. There are three reasons why some founders are handed down more indistinctly, are also themselves more indistinct. And the same reasons at the same time indicate why the founding of religions is only truly freed with Moses and Jesus. Firstly, the indistinct founders usually lie a long way back in time, legend names them and at the same time shrouds them. There is no written record going back to Cadmus, Orpheus or Numa Pompilius or even one which indisputably comes from their period. And without this such first teachers can easily become characters in a wandering fable which goes from place to place and blurs even an originally distinctive local face. Secondly, founders of religion remain less distinctive if, as pri¬ marily orderers and formulators, they stayed essentially within the tradition. If they do not mark a point at which the wave which had been running until then breaks, where an opposition to the previous cult is set up, in short where a new god is taught. An example: the Egyptians honoured



two very solemn founders of their religion, Imhotep, a priest of the dead at the beginning of the third dynasty, and above all the divine scribe Thoth. Both remain legend, indeed Thoth is almost entirely mythical; neither is even a head taller than the religious tradition which they mark. However if another Egyptian proclaimer, Pharaoh Amenophis IV, prophet of a one and only god, of the sun-god, had prevailed with his solar monotheism, then the point of radical change would have been there and Egypt would have had a distinctive originator of religion, not just a rarefied or mythical one. Thirdly, of course, even Amenophis IV, the heretic, could scarcely have attained the distinctiveness of Moses or Jesus; for this final reason, namely that natural religion, such as that which existed in Egypt, in Babylon and even in the Vedas, makes the founder figure ipso facto less manifest. For where gods appear as natural beings, where the human has not significantly regis¬ tered itself in heaven, no man as a teacher of salvation can clearly enter heaven. He disappears behind natural-mythic determinations or is even replaced by them: the Babylonian prophet Oannes thus rises only as a fishman from the sea; Thoth, the legendary Egyptian first teacher, becomes identical with Thoth the moon-god. Indeed it is the not wholly brokenthrough background of natural religion, or, in Buddha’s case, great acosmism in the same place as the cosmos, which causes Lao Tzu and even Buddha - distinctive though he is and powerfully though he appears in his glad tidings - to seem slightly more mythical or indeed to become more mythical than Moses and Jesus. A founder is of course everywhere, but he becomes very clearly manifest only where he sets his new god against tra¬ ditional customs, against natural religion empty of men; above all where he and his followers cling fanatically to him. It was thus that Moses and Jesus first emerged, were believed in as saviours, not just as mythical teachers, not just as pointers towards salvation. Although the name of Orpheus, and also the names of natural-mythic orderer-founders, right up to the cosmomorphic Confucius, even Zoroaster, the messiah of astral light, are mentioned together with the gods, they nonetheless remain behind them, relate externally to them. The Dionysian founder turns to froth before his nature god, the astral-mythic founder fades before him, and even Buddha, the great self-redemption, sinks at the end into the acosmos of nirvana. Moses, on the other hand, forces his god to go with him, makes him into the exodus-light of his people; Jesus pervades the transcendent as a human tribune, utopianizes it into the kingdom. But whether distinctive or not, whether pervading nature and transcendence or not: words of salvation are always spoken by human beings. And men in the hypostases of gods spoke nothing but longed-for



future, one which in these illusory hypostases was of course itself only illusorily graspable. This illusion, in some invocations to the gods, indeed to the kingdom of god to come at last, could be one which, instead of reconciling people to given reality and its ideology, regarded it as a delusion and allowed no peace to be made with it. But for such protest, summoning, utopianradical and humane, prophets are needed, not formulators of a ritual, even though the prophets only replaced the old God-illusion with a new one. With Moses and Jesus this new illusion also contained unreality, but apart from simply mythical unreality it sometimes also contained a quite different unreality, one of what could be or at least of what ought to be, which could thus be understood as a pointer towards utopian reality. There is therefore a functional connection between growing self-commitment of founders to religious mystery on the one hand and the actual proclamation, the miraculous abyss become human on the other side, that of glad tidings. And the growing self-commitment is finally grounded in that specific venturing beyond with which every religious act begins and in which the productive act leaves all other departures or pre-appearances behind it. This specific venturing beyond, the more mature religions become, proves to be that of the most powerful hope of all, namely that of the Totum of a hope which puts the whole world into rapport with a total perfection. If the nature of this perfec¬ tion, with less prominent or cosmically fading founders, is outwardly and essentially astral-mythic in structure, then just as it originated from a despotic mandate as an ideology of domination, indeed consecration of domination, it may in its design particularly easily join forces with social despotism, even with patriarchalism, i.e. with thorough-going dependences from outside, from above. Ecclesiastical compromise is then not necessary at all here; on the contrary, the genuine foundation of religion itself, as in Egypt and Babylon, leads back to and leads on to the ideology of domina¬ tion. The utopia of perfection, radical and total though it is in its religious form, through its content here becomes mere supreme ideology. But where venturing beyond, thanks to plebeian movements, protests, hopes, thanks to prophetic, not at all conformist but contrastive founders, penetrated decisively into future and into the Totum of a community, the religion which resulted could become a conformist ideology only through later ecclesiastical compromises (or subtleties of interpretation). Jesus’ sermon, an eschatological one, certainly made no peace with the ‘present aeon’; this is precisely why it also made people most sensitive to mere lip-service and ecclesiastical compromises. It was considerably more important for it than for other religions to be a contrast, as it began definitely as a social movement



among those that labour and are heavy laden; and it gave those that labour and are heavy laden an impulse, a sense of their worth and a hope which mere oppressedness would never have been able to find, or at least did not find in this way for four thousand years. But this impulse comes from the most powerful secessio plebis in montem sacrum,* here venturing beyond in toto at last became - orthodox. And if the maxim that where hope is, religion is, is true, then Christianity, with its powerful starting point and its rich history of heresy, operates as if an essential nature of religion had finally come forth here. Namely that of being not static, apologetic myth, hut humaneeschatological, explosively posited messianism. It is only here - stripped of illusion, god-hypostases, taboo of the masters - that the only inherited substratum capable ofsignificance in religion lives: that of being hope in totality, explosive hope. Aut Caesar aut Christus: with this war-cry a different kingdom dawns from that of domination, also from that of the oppressively awesome on which religion as myth, especially as astral myth, pinned its apologetic appeasements, its not yet explosive hopes. The strength precisely of an explosive perfection was a growing and a rich one, so too, undeniably, was the depth of the projected wishful creation of gods, which corresponds to the intensity of the human commitment. Every religion has founders, this means at the same time that religion in its invocations, even sometimes under the cover and the dominant ideologies of the masters’ and star myth, was a most serious attempt at the name of all-embracing perfection. An attempt with elements of frenzy or of calmness, of the anthropomorphic or of the cosmos, of Promethean rebellion or of hypostatized peace; and the religions of protest represent at least the most human projections and hypostases into awesome dimensions.

A numinous element, even in the religious Humanum There is a religious feeling whereby several things are uncanny. This can blind, but it can also enable to see around the corner, where different, unfamiliar life may be going on. Even the non-religious person, if he is no flat-head, will not take his familiar mode of being and seeing as the measure of all things that are or are not. Religious feeling as such stands absolutely against the impudent, even the cosy-liberal feeling that is uplifted by itself and thinks even of its other world as highly sensible and sociable. ‘Behold, ye are of

* ‘The secession of the plebs’. Bloch is alluding to the desertion of the popular army to the sacred hill outside Rome in 494 B.c. as a result of the unfair treatment of the common people by the Senate. Cf. Livy ‘Ab urbe condita’, II, 32-3.



nothing’* says the Bible, and is certainly not being misanthropic. ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways’, f says the God of the Bible and he is here certainly not being portrayed as a demon. This remoteness, precisely this dread of the threshold is part of every religious response if it is a religious response at all. Rudolf Otto is right from this perspective and, be it noted only in this one respect, when he cites the ‘utterly different’ as a sign of the religious object and the ‘shuddering-numinous’ as the aura of the saint. The early Karl Barth is right from this perspective and, again be it noted, only as this antidote, when he puts forward the outrageously illiberal proposition that ‘the divine says a constant No to the world.’ When he teaches that ‘The reality of religion is man’s horror at himself’, and: ‘Infinity, which we men are capable at best of conceiving, is measured against our finiteness and is therefore itself merely infinite finiteness’ (Der Romerbrief, 1940, p. 252, 286). That which is believed to be God is here, as completely unmediatable despotism, kept remote from human participation (‘federal theology’), but at this grotesque price the Humanum, the Cur deus homo is also protected from the triviality to which an all-too sociable liberalism has reduced it. The Church, says Barth, has constantly betrayed god to man, i.e. to the attacks and thought-movements of the unpenetrated, untranscended creature; against this Barth calls on the deus absconditus, who is not after all identical with the despotic God. Religion, and particularly Christianity, amounts instead to turbulent subjectivity and its interest in the object of worship; Barth’s extreme-heteronomous credo looks as if he is trying to remove the son of man as mediator, and therefore Christianity itself, from Christianity. But despite this non-human grotesque, one which ultimately does not even preclude a priest of Moloch but would have justified his being one, despite this abuse of the Tertullian and originally far from obscurantist or utterly irrational credo quia absurdum, Barth’s theology does contain a significant admonition. For it fanatically defends a reverence and a sphere which precisely in the subject-relation of religion are so easily lost, right down to the vapid psychologism or the priggishness which the educated philistine substitutes for this reverence. The illiberal element of taboo theology, after thorough detoxication, in thorough command of its Humanum, can and must be won over for religious or meta-religious humanism; not so that the latter should become irrational but precisely the opposite, so that it does not become stupid. Only in the deus absconditus is the problem maintained of what the legitimate mystery of the homo absconditus Isaiah 41, 24. t Isaiah 55, 8.



is about, of what the community contains of kingdom in its ultimately com¬ mensurate sphere, one not psychologized, not secularized. True though it is that the so-called mysterium tremendum can be suitable for the ideology of authoritarian reaction and its despicable irratio, it is equally certain that the inapplicability of immanent-familiar categories is a first criterion of the religious layer. How little reactionary irratio needs to be connected with this criterion is shown by the simple fact that it is by no means confined to obscurantism and despotic theism, on the contrary. Hence Spinoza, definitely a rational pantheist, says: ‘Furthermore, to speak also of the intellect and the will usually attributed to God, if intellect and will belong to God’s eternal essence then something utterly different must certainly be meant by these two characteristics than what is usually meant by them; for the intellect and will which constituted the essence of God would have to be utterly different from our intellect and will (a nostro intellectu et voluntate toto coelo differre deberent) and could be the same in name only, just as the Dog as a heavenly constellation and the dog as barking animal are the same’ (Eth. I, Prop. 17, note). And this remains decisive: the Utterly Different also holds good for the ultimate humane projections from religion. It is only the Utterly Different which gives to everything that has been longed for in the deification of man the appropriate dimension of depth. The Utterly Different gives to the hubris of Prometheus that true heaven-storming quality which distinguishes the Promethean from the flatness of mere individuality and from the feeble humanization of the taboo. The Utterly Different with its unfathomed depths penetrates into the hubris of Thomas Miinzer, transforming it into rebellious, kingdom-inheriting mysticism: ‘As must happen to us all with the coming of faith, that we men of flesh are to become gods through Christ becoming man and therefore with him God’s pupils, taught and deified by him.’ Thus this numinous element in the regnum humanum itself, instead of unmanning capitulation to sheer heteronomous sublimity and its Above, which is regarded as such because man is not found in it, contains on the contrary that Utterly Different which is itself utterly different, which cannot have too great or too overwhelming an opinion of what is man’s. Such powerful astonishment, when it penetrates into the contents designated as religious which keep a space free for it, does not view their approach as oppressive but on the contrary as - miraculous. The inapplicability of immanent-familiar categories to the religious sphere, precisely this leap reveals itself as the highest human utopia when Paul says: ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him’ (1 Cor. 2, 9). The miraculous as the Utterly Different with regard to



the objective religious world is here clearly the most characteristic mysterium of joy, triumphing in the religious hope-content of man, i.e. that which explodes itself into the Utterly Different. And Christianity stressed the media¬ tion between the subjective religious world and the taboo of the previous objective religious side - a mediation which is here called kingdom, the kingdom of God. But now something Utterly different arises more than ever in the object of the subjective side, namely the mystery of spatiality around the highest object: the religious subjective side is also invested with this, with the mysterium of the kingdom. God becomes the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of God no longer contains a god: i.e. this religious heteronomy and its reified hypostasis are completely dissolved in the theology of the com¬ munity but in one which has itself stepped beyond the threshold of the previously known creature, of its anthropology and sociology. This is why precisely the religion which proclaimed the kingdom of God in the midst of men (cf. Luke 17, 21) has preserved the Utterly Different most resolutely against the old Adam and the old becomeness: here as rebirth, there as new heaven and new earth, as transfiguration of nature. It is this border-content of the miraculous, therefore of the totally removed, which makes even the best human society the means to a final purpose, the final purpose of the totally removed, which in religious terms has been conceived as the kingdom. And this quality of never having been attained reveals itself even in the best of societies, as the uncancelled frailty of the creature, the uncancelled unmediatedness of surrounding nature; - consequently it also stands against all the partial optimism of several social utopias which have fallen out of the Totum of utopia. Certainly the wishful image in all religions, and even more powerfully in those of the messianic invocation of homeland, is that of feeling at home in existence, but one which does not see existence as confined to its clearly surveyable and so to speak local patriotic ranks of purpose. So that religion, in its constant final relation to the last leap and the utopian Totum, amounts to more than ethicizing and blander rationalizations, amounts to more than morality and clear surveyability even in Confucius, its strongest ethicizer. The wishful content of religion remains that of feeling at home in the mystery of existence, a mystery mediated with man and well-disposed to his deepest wish, even to the repose of wishes. And the further the subject with his founders of religion penetrates into the object-mysterium of a God conceived as the supreme Outside or the supreme Above and overpowers it, the more powerfully man in his earth-heaven or heaven-earth is charged with reverence for depth and infinity. The growing humanization of religion is not paralleled by any reduction in its sense of awe, on the contrary: the Humanum now gains the mysterium of something divine,



something deifiable, gains it as the future creation of the kingdom, but of the right kingdom. Indeed this projection used and uses even the sublimity of an Outside and Above, as designated above all in Egypt and in Babylon, despite the literally unholy master-ideology of astral-mythic over-arching and statics, as education for universe containing man and for its depth. Moreover, reverence, which includes, and culminates in, the Humanum, still needs the numinosum, once highly experienced in star-worship, experienced through the majesty of nature, as a corrective to preserve the religious objectivity of its self, i.e. precisely so that it cannot think highly and mysteriously enough of man. Thus this estrangement is everywhere a part of religion, even of religion seen from a utopian perspective, seen utterly without obscurantism. Its obscurum - ‘The Lord said that he would dwell in the thick darkness’ (1 Kings 8, 12) - is not that of superstition which has applied too little knowledge to fate, but one of knowledge-conscience that sees itself perma¬ nently surrounded by the uncanny in the depths and hopes that this will not be resolved into or mediated with anything but the - miraculous. The Phoebus post nubila in which above all messianic religion had its militant light, its truly burning-red light, is no already present consonance and certainly not one that would have simply destroyed the clouds; it merely rid them of the homeless element. Such knowledge-conscience as the inherited substratum of religion cited above, i.e. as the mindfulness that it is hope in totality, at the same time grasps the essence of the world in tremendous suspense, towards something enormous which hope believes is good, which active hope works to ensure is good. In the sense that religion describes the sphere where man’s fear - of the uncanny in himself and in the essence of the world - can resound from deep nearness, from deep distance, as reverence. Presupposing this, religious feeling always penetrated into its Above. Man wants to be with the powers in which he believes, however much he feels subject to them. All the more so when, being of related matter, he feels mediated with them, in Greek religion, and then above all, in the more secret image, in Judaeo-Christian religion. The founders of religion put themselves increasingly into their versions of the Utterly Different, increasingly turning it into the mystery of a content which is human or mediated with men. It is the power of this free penetration, the call of this reverential penetration which works towards this end, the: ‘I will not let thee go, except thou bless me’ (Gen. 32, 26). And in such penetration how often man has realized that he is better than his gods; how powerfully there leapt from this - not smug homespunness, not the emancipated philistine instead of Prometheus, but precisely the founding



of a new mysterium. And the decisive point: even in the most distant astralmythic visions, in estrangements which had degenerated almost completely into apologetic alienations and ideologies of a despotic-static Above, at the utopian end, and thus identifiably, an unknown human element also spoke, spoke out, itself and the unknown in and before it. Numen, numinosum, mysterium, even No to the existing world are never anything but the secret Humanum itself. Let it be noted: that which is secret, still hidden from itself, distinguished by the leap of the Utterly Different from the known Humanum and its immanent-familiar environment. The contents in the unfathomed depths of existing which have never appeared are, in the religious ineffabile, given the sign that they are not forgotten and are not buried. They are given, firmly in the Bible, the hope, always kept open, that a time and a space of adequateness has been assigned to them in utopian form, conceived as kingdom. And just as the religious self is hardly congruent with the existing human creature and just as religious security hardly coincides with positivism’s smug self-enveloping in the empirical content of life, so the religious idea of kingdom, in its intended scope and content, does not completely coincide even with any notion of kingdom in social utopias. Among the chiliasts, the notion of kingdom posited, recognized and demanded their ways as prepara¬ tion of the final leap - it appears in the gospels not as heavenly other world but as new heaven and new earth, but it contains in its anticipations an absolutum in which contradictions other than social ones are to cease, in which also the understanding of all previous connections changes. What Engels, in an early critique of Carlyle, says about the kingdom as a construct of inward¬ ness and of sanctimonious priests certainly remains true: ‘Once again it is the Christians who by setting up a separate “history of the kingdom of God’’ deny all the inner substantiality of real history and claim this substantiality solely for their other-worldly, abstract and moreover fabricated history - who through the perfection of the human species in their Christ view history as reaching an imaginary goal, interrupt it in the middle of its course’ (MEGA, I, 2,1930, p. 427). Yet this rejection is, even in religious terms, so true that not least Joachim of Fiore would have agreed with it, indeed most passionately; however for this reason, precisely for this reason, social history and social utopia, even an attained classless society, are separated from the summum bonum of the religious-utopian kingdom by the leap which the explosive intention of rebirth and transfiguration itself posits. The kingdom remains the religious key concept, in astral religions as crystal, in the Bible, with a total outburst of intention, as glory. There is in all these unconditionalities a bound¬ lessness of longing whose hubris extends beyond even that of Prometheus



and whose ‘I will not let thee go, except thou bless me’ does not go under in the humility of the concept of grace. For even grace, even if it is supposed to be far from the power of the human will and not to come from the merit of works, its concept comes after all from the hope of a leap and of the recognition of being able to be prepared for the most perfect. Hence precisely that unmistakable non-passivity even in the thickest god-forms of religion, hence the superadditum of most tremendous insatiability in every religious shudder, even when it seems to waft down from above. Hence the ultimate transformation, convertibility of the astral-mythic alien mysterium into the mysterium of a citoyen of the kingdom and of its para¬ doxical relationship to becomeness. Hence finally above all the most powerful paradox in the religious sphere so rich in paradoxes: the elimination of God himself in order that precisely religious mindfulness, with hope in totality, should have open space before it and no ghostly throne of hypostasis. All of which means nothing less than just this paradox: the religious kingdomintention as such involves atheism, at last properly understood atheism. As long as the latter does not merely drive out superstition to replace it with just as much of a feeble negativum as the superstition was a dubious positivum. But insofar as atheism removes that which is conceived as God, i.e. as an ens perfectissimum, from the beginning and from the process of the world and instead of a fact designates it as what it can only be: the highest utopian problem, that of the end. The place that has been occupied in individual religions by what is conceived as God, that has ostensibly been filled by that which is hypostatized as God, has not itself ceased after it has ceased to be ostensibly filled. For it is at all events preserved as a place of projec¬ tion at the head of utopian-radical intention; and the metaphysical correlate of this projection remains the hidden, the still undefined-undefinitive, the real Possible in the sense of mystery. The place allocated to the former God is thus not in itself a void; it would only be this if atheism were nihilism, and furthermore not merely a nihilism of theoretical hopelessness but of the universal-material annihilation of every possible goal- and perfection-content. Materialism as the explanation of the world in its own terms has only in its mechanical form failed to touch even marginally on the place of the earlier god-hypostasis; but it has also failed to include life, consciousness, process, the switch from quantity to quality, Novum and dialectics as a whole. And even mechanical materialism, at least in Feuerbach’s version, must leave a special space in anthropology to accommo¬ date the religious projections there, in their ‘origin and object.’ It was, as we shall have to show, in Feuerbach’s case a flat, a fixed anthropology, one



which was not only ahistorical and asocial, abstract and general, but over and above this one of scarcely extended human presence; but for all that, Feuerbach’s anthropological critique of religion did touch on religious contents as if they were by no means mere nothingness as in nihilism. And genuine materialism, dialectical materialism, cancels out precisely the transcendence and reality of every god-hypostasis, but without removing that which is intended by ens perfectissimum from the last quality-contents of the process, from the real utopia of a realm of freedom. Something fulfillable, something expectable by virtue of the process is certainly not denied in dialec¬ tical materialism; on the contrary, its place is held and kept open more than anywhere else. This means that the kingdom, even in secularized form, and all the more so in its utopian-total form, remains as a messianic Front-space even without any theism, indeed it can only remain at all, as every ‘anthropologization of heaven’ from Prometheus to the belief in the Messiah has increasingly shown, without theism. Where the great world-ruler is, freedom has no space, not even the freedom - of the children of god and not the kingdom figure, the mystic-democratic figure to be found in chiliastic hope. The utopia of kingdom destroys the fiction of a creator-god and the hypostasis of a heavenly god, but not the end-space in which ens perfectissimum contains the un¬ fathomed depth of its still unthwarted latency. The existence of God, indeed God at all as a special being is superstition; belief is solely that in a messianic kingdom of God - without God. Atheism is therefore so far from being the enemy of religious utopia that it constitutes its precondition: without atheism messianism has no place. Religion is superstition wherever it is not what in terms of its valid intention-content it has increasingly come to mean in its historical manifestations: the most unconditional utopia, utopia of the absolute. Non existence, non-becomeness is the real fundamental defini¬ tion of the ens perfectissimum, and if it had become it would not be different from its kingdom, hypostatized as God. The hypostasis of God in religions which posit it (Taoism and especially Buddhism do not posit it) is, when it means a creator or a ruler of the world, nothing but unknowingness, indeed anti-knowledge, and for a sense of religion which considers itself too good or even too deep to offer outmoded scientific consciousness or even bogeyman nonsense, this hypostasis is at very best the mythologized governorship of a hope such as All Saints’ Day for all - without masters. Thus the history of man’s consciousness of God is certainly not the history of God’s consciousness of himself - but of the highest possible Front-content in each case of an existence open in its Forwards, in its Above, in its depth. All higher religions are thus themselves fed by the



Front-intensity of radical longing and the sought-for anticipations of an ens perfectissimum which constitutes the goal-content of this longing. The anticipatory, in art, posits solely pre-appearance, but in religion, where disinterested enjoyment is utterly absent, it posits ultimately pre-existence of our selves in total involvement. And in it existing becomes, in accordance with the seriousness of the transcendere, a transformed existing, one of an attempted rebirth towards the new man, through the founder and his god. Nature itself is transformed in the Christian apocalypse and, unlike every ideal landscape of aesthetic pre-appearance, it passes first through destruction to its transfiguration. Transformation, therefore, in the atheism of religion, above it, constitutes the last criterion of its sphere, a criterion which equally flows from religious penetration into the Above, into the aspiration to become like that which is intended as God. Judaism, Chris¬ tianity, as the highest religions, show the entire intended seriousness of this transformation; and of course only a concept of knowledge which has enriched itself with religious conscience can do justice to this. And the end of religion is thus, in this knowledge, as comprehended hope in totality, not simply no religion but - in the convolutions of Marxism the inheriting of it, meta-religious knowledge-conscience of the final Where To, What For problem: ens perfectissimum. After all the will of the Upwards directed to this lives on precisely in that of the Forwards. When the people followed a founder, they were ulti¬ mately following an aspiration to be as in heaven. This sursum corda applies all the more when heaven is certainly not an existing Utterly Different but, as new heaven, new earth, is set as a utopian task; the sursum corda thus bears precisely the religious, i.e. messianic inherited substratum. Founders of religion had behaved messianically long before the Jews took the messianic at its word, made it into the fundamental reduction of the religious, into the creation of kingdom per se. Messianism is the salt of the earth - and of heaven, too; so that not only the earth but also the intended heaven should not become stupid. The promise the numinous made, the messianic aims to keep: its Humanum and the world adequate to it are not only the thoroughly unfamiliar, the thoroughly unbanal, but the distant coast in early morning light. And it was a long way until the founders themselves, with human latency, entered into the name of their God. Until the history of ideas of God ran from fetish to star to exodus light to the spirit of kingdom and ran out. Until from the projecting of a divine darkness and heavenly throne belief came close or will come close to the incognito and the Stay Awhile. All religion was a wishful undertaking mingled more



than elsewhere with superstition and illusions, but it was no splintered or limited wishful undertaking but a total one, and it was no completely hollow illusion but an attempting one, with a perfection in mind which is not. Every religion, even the astral-mythic, found it easier to believe in the invisible than the visible, and its god-content no more coincided with the manageable kind of reality than did the religious breakthrough with man as he had been till then and with his world which - as the prophets in particular complained - lieth in wickedness.* The content conceived and longed for as God is so superior to existing reality that, despite all hypostases of reality, it comes in¬ creasingly to represent a utopian ideal which is not refuted by its non-being. A Not-Yet-Being such as characterizes the mode of reality of concrete ideals is admittedly never and nowhere a Not-Yet-Being of God; the world is not a machine for the production of such a supreme person, of a gasiform vertebrate, as Hackel rightly put it. Rilke, Bergson, even the early Gorky, fruitlessly distinguished themselves in various ways in such god-making, and Lenin rightly described such efforts as necrophilia. Atheism which knows what this means does not, in miserable imitation of the founders, return to god-making, but it certainly does go, with the god-hypostasis omitted once and for all, to the unconditional and total hope-content that has been so variously experimented with under the name of God. Experiments containing a vast amount of superstition, illusion, ignorance, as is well-known, with a hypostasis of unfathomed social and natural powers into otherworldly fate. But equally it was people in great need who in protest against this fate attempted to change it magically-mythically or to invoke it for the good; - thus religious imagination certainly cannot be dismissed in toto by the achieved demystification of the world-picture, but solely by a specific philosophical concept which does justice to the ultimate intention-content of this imagination. For, in the midst of all, this sighing, invoking and preaching lived and rises into red dawn; and even in the midst of the - very easily identifiable - nonsense about the mythical there lived and rises the undischarged question, which has been a burning question only in religions, about the unestablished - meaning of life. It exalts and stimulates precisely genuine realism, as a question which is so far from coinciding with the nonsense about the mythic that it gives every sense its seriousness. Thus because of the especially total wishful influence from this sphere - a new an¬ thropology of religion is necessary. And - because of the especially totally intended character of perfection in this sphere - a new eschatology of religion is * i John 5, 19.



due. Both without religion, but both with the corrected, undischarged problem of such tremendous winged creations of humanity. Varying winged creations, even incompatible with one another, even those with quite obvious fools’ paradises nearby, but precisely full of attempts on the uncommon sense - according to the human-social horizon. Cadmus, Orpheus, the Olympian gods of Homer, the Egyptian sun of the dead and Babylonian astral myth, the Chinese Tao, Moses or the exodus, the emphatic god-men Zoroaster, Buddha and Jesus therefore describe precisely the growing commitment of the founder to the experimental glad tidings of an ens perfectissimum; and the social mandate for this penetration and the human substance of its perfectum always correspond to each other. In the astral myth the founder disappears, his god is the complete outwardness of starlight; in Christianity the founder becomes the glad tidings itself, and his God finally disappears in one single humane All Saints’ Day. Where hope is, there indeed is religion, but as the absolute content of hope even in its intention is still so unfound, there is also such a varying fund of imagination in religions as attemptings of the utopian Totum. However, all are ultimately allocated to this Totum, and, being religions, to the Totum as that Utterly Different which equally, in view of the humaniform transformation (kingdom creation), means that which is no longer different at all, but longed-for authenticity.

II. Founders, Glad Tidings and Cur Deus Homo

The stranger as teacher: Cadmus When the first hearth once burned is uncertain. But it is always recounted that someone first took men away from raw food, in every sense. All primitive peoples tell of such a man from foreign parts who brings religious customs and more. He teaches them to cast lots, to carve runes, to write, often as a miracle-working youth, more often as an old man. The teacher may even appear as a dwarf, it was as a dwarf, according to the Etruscan legend, that he was ploughed up out of the earth, revealed the interpretation of signs and died immediately afterwards. But mostly accounts tell of a high-ranking traveller who has sat at the tables of the gods. Among the Celts he was called Ram, prepared a potion against the plague from mistletoe, taught the art of cooking food and of the favourable hour. Among



the Greeks this figure became clearer, became Cadmus; the foreign parts from which he came were in this case, and in this case only, Phoenician. Among the Greeks Cadmus was regarded as the man who taught them agriculture and writing and to honour the gods. But he is not commemorated beyond this, the names of such bringers of salvation are simply there, as if they had ended the shift from animal to man. The news of medicinal plants and ways of healing left the Ram or Cadmus who first brought it far behind. The power of the mistletoe is here more important than the man who draws attention to it.

Singer of ecstatic salvation: Orpheus The still indistinct teachers thus always stay behind that which is theirs. Even Orpheus, a religious haze in human form, although he perhaps did live. He is regarded as a music-making bringer of salvation, the Greeks had several such: Linos, Musaios, Eumolpos, Amphion, all enchanters by their song, zither, lyre. But Orpheus epitomizes them all, both as a calming and finally as an ecstatic saviour. On one side he appears cooling, not Dionysian, with peaceful though also melting harmony. Thus he compels not only trees and rivers but precisely wild animals to listen to him. He outdid the Sirens, setting his own saving song against their death-bringing song. In particular he overwhelmed with it the Furies of the underworld, Orpheus was worshipped as the only man ever to return from the land of the dead. His sin was that he looked back for Eurydice, a motif that also belongs to his non-Dionysian side, out of monogamous love. Thus Orpheus later lamented Eurydice as his only love; thus the maenads, precisely as Dionysian, marriage-hating, tore him to pieces. Above all Orpheus’ lament for Eurydice does not accord with the hetairan background of Dionysian belief; the soothed, distinctly faithful is in this point stronger than the all-mixing, shape-dissolving frenzy. Equally in the ethics of the later Orphics the required discipline, indeed renunciation, appears, if we disregard the content, almost Apollonian. And yet the other, the burning side of the god of life is in the end stronger. The melting harmony of the sounds which not only silences the Sirens but compels them to listen is not without reason related to the dissolving frenzy. The Sirens under¬ stand Orpheus, and he himself knew how to outdo them, precisely as the bewitchers who drive men out of their minds. A Greek religion did develop under his name, one with Apollonian features, but it developed on the soil of the non-Greek, Thracian worship of Dionysus. Pausanias,



in his account of the Orphic places of worship (which did not spread until the seventh and sixth centuries), says that the statue of Dionysus was always erected next to that of Orpheus. If the singer was torn to pieces by the maenads because of his lament for Eurydice, he was for this very reason also considered the personification of Dionysus, who was also torn to pieces. He was torn to pieces by Titans, but his heart was rescued by Athene, and from it the new Dionysus arises, the one who is re-produced from his dismembered limbs, from the variety of changeful existence. Orpheus, however, kicked open for believers the gate to this god, one who at least stood in natural life, as its voluptuous phallic lord. What applied to death in the Orphic rites applies to the salvation intended here as a whole: it does not fall outside sensual passion but completely into it, into one which has become super-sensory. Clear asceticism is the path, but the goal and the content are enthusiastic fullness; the Orphically promised eudaemonia is passion towards the above. Man is supposed to free himself from his evil Titanic inheritance and return pure to the Dionysus whose heart has remained alive in him; yet precisely the other inheritance, that of Dionysian frenzy, thus remained alive in this creature of heart, not of light or of intellect, who had been rescued from laceration. It tallies with this that the Orphic mystery among the Locrians and on the island of Lesbos led back to completely hetairan modes of life. Even the proclaimer of the thus resolving, i.e. dissolving Dionysus did not himself need to have a distinct face, indeed was not allowed to have one. He was completely absorbed into the untied life that was to be all that remained when Hades and the Apollonian day were both overcome. The fabulous Orpheus was no more seen in it than his god; in frenzy, to the sound of gongs and cymbals, the eyes roll up. The Dionysian saviour disappears as soon as he has saved; such frothing away is part of frothing salvation.

Poets of Apollonian gods and their attendance: Homer and Hesiod; Roman state gods But the attempt to make the all too wild lyre more composed was successful. Two more or less visible Greek poets even wrote of strangely everyday gods. Though gods resembling man,* fully developed into statues, not gods of frenzy. Homer and Hesiod, says Herodotus, named the gods of the Greeks * Bloch is re-introducing his concept of ‘menschenahnlich’ here, which we have translated previously as ‘like proper human beings’ (Vol. Ill, §45). Though it still carries an echo of this sense, the idea of the gods physically and emotionally resembling man is more dominant in the present context.

120 6


i.e. the unpriestly, the chivalric, then the urbane gods. They certainly did not name, or even make, the old folk-gods, of whom Herodotus scarcely seems to know anything. Not the chthonic and the Orphic gods, let alone the animal gods, which later shrank to become the eagle of Zeus or Hera’s cow-like glance. And indeed, what a way, what a forgetting and brightening, from the uncanny owl-like creature which haunts the Erechtheion to Homer’s Pallas Athene. And this way is marked by the decline of the Pelasgian priest and magician caste, by the emergence of profane, chivalric class poetry, which takes possession of the gods in Homer. In Hesiod this occurred in a nonchivalric yet equally unschooled fashion: the shepherd of Askra romances and broods from his folk religion, not from magic circles. Only indistinctly do Pelasgian-magical figures such as Kalchas, Tiresias, loom into the chivalric world, Kalchas who ordered Iphigenia’s sacrificial death, Tiresias, the seer who had been a woman, who knows how to handle blood and who summons the shades from the underworld for Odysseus. Chivalric class poetry has overlaid all this, the world of patriliny has overlaid the chthonic world, with the effect of making the taboo an Apollonian one. It became a taboo of the refined-religious surface, which does not want to know anything too deeply; even Poseidon, with the rage and the unfathomed depth of the ocean in him, is now part of the ambrosial midday. Indeed it is significant that Dionysus is ignored in Homer, as is Demeter, the dark earth-goddess; for they are priestgods, and above all gods of the depths. ‘When golden Eos unlocked the eastern door/Of the benighting pole and the heavens dawned with grey light’ - this day put an Apollonian end to all these impenetrable beings; they now wear the mask of beauty, or at least of urbanity. Kalchas, Tiresias, Orpheus, were covered over; even the Orphic renaissance of the seventh and sixth centuries, strongly though it was connected with what remained of peasant and folk religion, did not cancel out the city gods. They were real city gods, as at home in Athens as the chthonic numina before them had been in a cave, spring or mountain; the entire underworld was incorporated or conquered by Apollo’s tripod. The Acropolis, ruled by Pallas Athene, the goddess not bom of woman, stands as a mountain temple for polis gods which has become thoroughly Uranian: Zeus, Apollo and Artemis had their altars, Hephaistos had his castle rights and civil rights, Aesculapius lived in a chamber in the rock, even Pan lived in one of its grottoes, which were occupied throughout with urban demi-gods and heroes. And what Athens on its castle-rock gathered beneath it, the same Apollonian Homeric system of gods was repeated on Acrocorinth, in the valley of feasts at Olympia, even in demonic Delphi; Gaia and Saturn were gone, Zeus ruled. So Homer and Hesiod did, in



fact, cum grano salis, create the gods of the Greeks, i.e. as radiantly humanized gods, walking in urbane light. But yet again, even these announcers, precisely these, still stand outside their annunciation, in the same way that as epic writers they stand outside their poems and do not intrude on them. Hesiod appears as a warner, but never makes the claim to be a sent, let alone a conquered part of the higher world. Homer stands completely opposite his day-gods with their frank serenity as an epic poet, not as a guest at the table of the Olympians themselves. If the latter have become a reflection of the Mycenean court, a reflection which did not go through any priestly caste, their formulator still does not talk of them with greater personal sympathy than he talks of Achilles, Agamemnon, Odysseus. And so in fact Herodotus’ assertion (II, 53) that Homer and Hesiod gave the gods their names, allocated offices and arts to them, and even created the Greek theogony, is only correct insofar as through these poets the Olympic pantheon now definitely took the place of the dark or twilit local gods. Nonetheless, Homer is a founder, precisely one of illumination; whatever the Orphics Xenophanes and Plato may have had to say against his so-called frivolity. To his heaven there is not only an access depending on the dead man’s rank, but the Novum, far from mysterious, of a familiar-confiding humour now appears. The terrible behind the mask of the beautiful remained, here Nietzsche in part saw correctly and discovered the depth in this superficiality, the consciously overlaid element in this local-humane beauty; behind the gods is Moira, in them is the numinous. But by virtue of a mask of beauty resembling man and of Mycenean culture it was mediated with Moira, as through a mysterium of externality. The barbaric magician had disguised himself with a lion’s face or that of other natural demons to show the divine as present in his body; the Greek godcreator aims at the opposite: he changes his gods into Apollonian human form. But of course the edge of the mask always remains, over which a far from art-religious ground overflows, overflows with blood. As in its sacrificial rites, which were as characteristic of Greek as of any barbaric religion: the temples were full of holy slaughter. The priest poured blood all over the magnificent marble altar, and the noble simplicity, the silent grandeur of the gods’ images was surrounded by the smoke of burnt sacrificial animals - a slaughterhouse for Olympus, which lived on more than just nectar and ambrosia. Something monstrous, something inhuman at least in its propor¬ tions is sometimes to be found even in Homer; as with Ares ‘who covered seven hides of land when he fell’ (Iliad, XXI, 407). And Moira, fate over man and gods, remains, it does not at all accord with the Apollonian day. Mortal fate marks the place where the Apollonian gods abandon man; Athene herself



says that not even a god can help the man he loves ‘if the Moira of death has chosen him as its sad victim’ (Od. Ill, 238). The gods retire when Moira appears; the moment Hector is destined to die, Apollo leaves his side to make way for Moira, which, as a god, he knows but cannot avert from his protege. Here is the limit of the Apollonian gods, they belong to life, to beauty, to the day, and where this ends Olympian aid, indeed existence, also ends (cf. W. Otto, Die Gotter Griechenlands, 1929, p. 339^-)- Moira is that Power from the pre-Homeric cult of night and earth which could not be defeated by the chivalric gods and the gods of beauty; thus it reigns behind the victors, who are victors only by day. Indeed the entire Olympus, though it knows no death itself, lies only as a narrow realm of beauty before the abyss; with the blessing that it covers up the prospect of Moira during brief life and felicity. But at this price the art-religion of the foreground now flashes all the more brightly, with gods as knights who have ascended into the heights and light of externality. Moira, which is not externality, is for this very reason not another god hostile to the gods but simply the power of the bottomless, of the inexorably pre-determined abyss for every figure and its career. Nor does Moira mythicize for example uncomprehended, uncontrolled natural powers per se but - in relation to men - primarily the natural power of death and thus of thwarting-blind destiny as a whole. Thus Homeric religion has no mediation whatever with Moira, not even the enigmatic-superficial mediation achieved with the numinous of the day-gods by means of the mask of beauty. Therefore ultimately, the founding element in Homer was an illumination in art, it could and had to be this, one of epic shaping, with precisely the penetration but also precisely the distance appropriate to the epic. To this uniqueness of a founder-attitude a religion of sheer day-sculpture, of brief day-of-man-sculpture therefore ultimately corresponds; a religion in which everything unformed or, here, unformable is passed over in silence or ascribed to Moira. The power of these glad tidings, which penetrate so far and no further, is that of the deified beauty of life and of depths pushed to the edge, still concealed at the edge. From suffering, from Dionysus, indeed from Gethsemane much can be cited against this art-religion so rich in omissions, yet a first Humanum did dawn in it. It escaped from the animal gods, the Egyptian stone gods, the Babylonian star gods, having failed to overcome their pressure, even intra-mythically, by a subject. For the possible subject intended in Prometheus still had despotism above it in Zeus, just as Zeus in turn was subject to blind Moira. But Homer’s undeniable illumination made the gods of Greece tend towards joy, the taboo became anthropomorphic. A characteristic, lastingly remarkable tributary joined this in Roman



religion. The holy was here immediately connected with the most reasonable actions and virtues, it dwelt in them. Instead of art, Rome thus presents the Novum of deified concepts, not in the manner of serene brilliance as with the Greeks but dry-serious and believed. The Greeks also deified abstractions such as Nike, Dike, Eirene, Hygieia, in Hesiod there is a goddess Eris, a double goddess, the destructive goddess of quarrel, the good goddess of competition. But this kind of thing remained subordinate in Greek art-religion, above all it did not attain the practical seriousness of the peasant and later the state religion of the Romans. The legendary founder of Roman religion, Numa Pompilius, was remembered primarily as having as it were cleared the woodgods Picus and Faunus and abolished human sacrifice; just as Romulus founded the urbs, so Numa founded the law which applied to it and to it alone. And the gods of this purpose later swallowed up the original spring, tree and animal cults, just as they added the great natural forces to those of the urbs, which grew from a rural town into an imperium. One of the most primeval Roman numina is the genius, i.e. the seed to which man owes his existence, which goes on procreating through the son and reproduces the race. But this god is already, unlike in the phallus cults, one of useful pro¬ creation and of its idea; he is the birthday god of every Roman citizen as such. Ideas of labour and of function such as Saturnus (sowing), Ops (work in the fields), Terminus (boundary stone) are also among the oldest Roman gods. These are all gods of peasant Rome and signify the immediately useful in general. They are peasant activities epitomized in an abstract concept (such as Consus, the harvest god, from condere, the gathering in of the harvest); they are functional gods. More mediated abstracta occur in the noble upper class, in the patriciate, which already from the sixth century onwards stood above the rural and urban citizenry; the actual state religion was shaped by this class. In Rome the patricians, the urban incorporated knights and strict bearers of the state function, played the part that had been played in Homeric religion by the class of local princes and nobles, with whom the gods, as Phaeacians of the highest order, had been mediated; but there was of course no space for Phaeacian gods and gods of beauty in Rome. Now functional gods truly began to branch off from Numa’s foundations, including some of quite astonishing functional abstraction. Quietudo, tranquillity, had its altar, as did Occasio, the goddess of opportunity, who was portrayed with a forelock and with the back of her head shaved. Concordia had a temple dedi¬ cated to her as early as 367, after the end of the class wars, Spes was given its first temple after the first Punic War, Honos after the capture of Syracuse. Mens Bona received its temple after the defeat at Lake Trasimene; this in



particular is a numen which does not occur at all among the Greeks, nor is it identical with the concept of sophrosyne. A cultic realm of theologized abstracta thus arose, full of holy-dry exaltedness, with no parallel in other religions. It is very understated to regard these religious images, in Mommsen’s words, as being ‘on an incredibly low level of contemplation and comprehen¬ sion’. On the contrary, there is here a mystery of externality which is related to the Greek mask of beauty but conceals the unfathomed depths in a far more remarkable manner, surrounding them with the extremest reasonableness. Hence Usener in his ‘Names of the Gods’ quite appropriately recognized the religious power and the problem in such apparent platitudes; namely that ‘the excitable religious feeling of antiquity was quite capable of exalting even abstract ideas to divine status’. This applies above all to the Roman gods, and to the most peculiar of them all: the double-headed Janus. He is the func¬ tional idea of the door which opens on two sides; he is the beginning, the morning, and the month of January, in short he is the divine abstraction for opening per se. Even the three Capitoline gods who seem to coincide with the three main Greek gods: Jupiter, Juno, Minerva, are least of all the beautiful divinities of the Greek polis, with their slight quarrels and eternal serenity, with nectar, ambrosia and blessed privateness. They are, as Mommsen brilliantly observes, above all abstractions, powerful, powerfully governing: abstractions of domination, of moral discipline, of understanding. Admittedly Jupiter is also defined in terms of nature, as the visible firmament (sub love frigido is the poetic term for cold weather), but essentially he is the firmament only because this, like Rome’s rule, spans all countries. Certainly, other lords of heaven were at the same time political gods; most impressive of all was the Babylonian Marduk. He too was a god of empire, not merely an astral world-ruler and, another Jupiter, he held the title of Bel matati, ruler of the lands. But Marduk was after all, in the especially high-flying mythological reflexes of Babylon, primarily the astral ruler of the world and only as such an imperial god, whereas the Roman Jupiter was from the beginning identical with the empire as such. He presided over urbi et orbi, Rome and the globe, but primarily over Rome, with whose potentia he was identical, and only as such over the globe. Jupiter is thus the epitome of rule, just as Juno is the epitome of moral discipline and just as - Occasio is the epitome of the favourable opportunity. This too is Apollonian religion, not in the sense of the Muse and her heaven, certainly not, but in the sense of reason of state; Rome established the Novum of prose in religion, indeed of prose as religion. Yet precisely the numinous in this conceptuality remains so powerful that it even constitutes one of the most experienced origins of - Christian allegory.



That is, of religious transparency, indeed of a new expressiveness of abstract categories; faith, hope and charity were such allegories throughout the Middle Ages, and certainly not frosty ones. They still had the breath of Spes and Concordia, of Fama and Fides, of Mens Bona and also of Bona Valetudo from their Roman temples. Finally, indirectly via Stoicism, even the most inflexible entity in Greek myth, Moira, was invested with Roman purposes, as if it were thereby mediated. Rome itself becomes fate, a fate which, for itself, is good; that which, for the Greeks, hovers high over the gods, is here demoted to fortune of the state. At least it was in Rome’s heyday; in later centuries Fatum certainly again looks like doom, indeed like a declared enemy. But it is significant that Stoicism, having become the philosophical sister of Roman religion, could interpret its Zeus, its ‘good necessity’ essentially as the necessity of Rome. This corresponded to a political trust in god such as no imperium till then had possessed in its superstructure, not even (with, moreover, a quite different religious institution) the English imperium of the seventeenth century. The piety of Sulla is characteristic of this kind of belief in fate, characteristic because in this general’s highly individual relation to Fortuna that of Roman patriotism as a whole expresses itself in heightened form. Sulla considered himself the darling of the gods, especially of Aphrodite, with whom he claimed to be in the habit of holding secret conversations, he felt he was almost part of Fortuna and assumed the cognomen Felix as a formal mystical title. Moira, the Roman lucky star, the necessity of Rome, thus became one; the god Fatum now had most temples in Rome, indeed fundamen¬ tally it had all temples. And religio itself becomes the Roman word for tying-back to Fatum as that which is said, which is decreed by the gods; a tying which coincided with that which is Caesar’s. Every official classical religion is the sense of well-being of the ruling class, is belief in itself having turned out well in an intercourse of beauty among the Greeks, an inter¬ course of reason of state among the Romans, both connecting gods with men. The formulators of this religion are in it but above all outside it as much as epic writers are, and among the Romans, from Numa Pompilius onwards, as organizers. Hence the humanization of the gods here occurs as deification of the human creature: of its beauty among the Greeks, of its purposeful mind and power-value in Rome. Temples of beauty arise and a pantheon of the most happily achieved creature-empire: these are the signs of classical salvation.



The unblossomed belief in Prometheus and the tragic liturgy: Aeschylus The Greeks posited only one man who breaks into the above. Wishes to do so were not lacking, Icarus is one example. And Bellerophon, who tried to rise up to heaven on Pegasus. But Prometheus was the only one who did not founder before the goal. He was of course no founder of a religion but originally a chthonic hero of legend around whom a special cult later developed. The bringer of fire gathers epitomizes in his person the mythical primal teachers of all peoples, in rebellious fashion. The name Prometheus itself may be connected with sparking, flaming: pramantha in Sanskrit means a whirl of fire. Prometheus would then be, in his original form, both this whirl of fire and its god and therefore not, as in an element in his legend which appears much later, Prometheus the fore-thinking, i.e. not the mere level-headed counterpart to his brother Epimetheus, the after-thinking. Aeschylus interpreted the fire motif broadly: his Prometheus wants to pass on to men all the goods reserved for the gods. Because this figure acts as the Greek Lucifer, as the bringer of light, very bright, without brimstone, the religion of Prometheus pressed forward into a quite different place from where gods or even anti-gods usually stand. This is why Prometheanism as a religion has been overlooked up to now, and in fact, having no temples and accordingly no priests, it has remained undeveloped as such. Yet under another name it is all the better known: the religion of Prometheus is the religion of Greek tragedy. Here is its temple and its liturgy, here the Titan, chained by Zeus to the Caucasus, has his scarcely theistic cult. The Prometheus Bound of Aeschylus is therefore the central Greek tragedy; all others modify the Titan. Proudly he tells the Oceanides how he intervened in the world: ‘Men saw, but they saw in vain, they listened, but they heard nothing’ (V, 439f.) as a super-Cadmus he brought light: ‘All arts come to mortals from Prometheus’ (V, 490). His will is unconquerable for Zeus, despite the cross in the Caucasus, he rejects any thought of a conversion, waiting only for the end of the present era, of the rule of Zeus. Even now Zeus has nothing to set against him but the com¬ panions Kratos and Bia, strength and violence, as well as the eagle, the old emblem of rule and of tearing to pieces, who feeds on his liver every third day; Zeus here no longer seems urbane at all, he is a vengeful despot. Thus the Aeschylean Prometheus has at least one thing in common with the Goethean: unfathomably deep hatred, indeed contempt for the ruler of



the world. But all this in the religious sphere; which means that rebellion here has as least as much inscrutability as Zeus claims for his tyranny, indeed more. Hence Greek tragedy, too, remained a cult; and all its heroes, after being masks of the torn Dionysus, became masks of Prometheus. Even Oedipus in Sophocles, the passively suffering man, stands above his fate, and the serene holiness around the old man at Colonus is almost as if illuminated by that no-longer-Zeus, that grace a l’homme which the man-shaping, world-warming will of Prometheus had in mind. And it is not only Dionysus as torn to pieces, but also Dionysus as fermenting within himself, not yet articulated, who rebels in the tragic masks of Prometheus: a collisionful pathos as a whole against heaven as it had become till then. Intended to be performed as part of the public worship in the sanctuary of Dionysus, Attic tragedy, most emphatically in Aeschylus, becomes anti-Olympian prophecy. Nietzsche, in ‘The Birth of Tragedy’, praises ‘the astonishing boldness with which Aeschylus put the Olympian world into his scales of justice’, and the scales fall in favour of Prometheus, the ‘glory of activity’. This is the truth of this matter and the ground through which Prometheus, through his poet Aeschylus, became as it were the founder of his own religion, one which of course did not blossom out. It had to remain unblossomed in the spirit of its rebellion, firstly because a social mandate such as that of Moses against the Pharaoh, of Jesus against Caesar, was lacking. And secondly because the founding of this religion is completely postponed, i.e. became only the contemplative drama of a rebellion myth. For the greatest irruption into the other world which occurred before Jesus the Greeks had only the allotted roles of a poet who was no prophet and of a demi-god who was not a man. Thus only tragedy remained for Prometheus as his religious location, though connected with the rite of Dionysus. Defiance of Zeus, this is the metaphysics of tragedy, a warlike one, which even in the destruction of the hero nails to the mast its No to the old order and its deeper Yes to a different era, to a new heaven. It is a magnificent hubris and more than that: one purified by suffering, deepened by genius, which annihilates the old connections between guilt and fate. Even though Prometheus himself is destroyed, he represents something which is better than the Greek gods. Among the Olympians, significantly, only Pallas Athene, the goddess of reason, was believed to be a friend of Prometheus; and she is the only power who goes together with him here. Nonetheless it is surprising that the Greeks did not honour this helper in need more highly. Even in poetry he did not receive anything like the consecra¬ tion which his rank would lead us to expect. Aeschylus celebrated the tragic



cult of Prometheus, but for Hesiod and Pindar as well as for Virgil and Horace he is a scheming rebel and the withdrawing of fire by Zeus is a measure of wise foresight. Even the Cynics, otherwise no friends of the Olympian system, attacked Prometheus, though as a bringer of culture. As Dio recounts, they interpreted Prometheus’ punishment as a just pointer to human self-destruction as a result of man’s longing for external goods and pleasures. Plato, however, relates in the ‘Protagoras’ that Prometheus certainly did not bring men all arts from heaven, certainly not the most important of all for their civilization: the art of government. Prometheus, who wanted to bring all heaven down to earth, could not even bring half: ‘Thus man received that knowledge which is necessary for everyday life, but he did not partake of the knowledge of government; for this was with Zeus, and Prometheus was not permitted to enter Zeus’ dwelling, which was guarded by his terrible sentinels’ (Protagoras, 321 D). Law and ethics, teaches Plato, the utopian of regimented, indeed Uranian order, are with Zeus, and it was Hermes the messenger, not Prometheus the rebel, who first brought them to all men. And in slave-owning society only suffering Dionysus was felt to be the primal image of tragedy, not, as it rightly ought to have been, the rebellious Prometheus. Towards the end of the classical era the rebel was even completely forgotten, he dis¬ appeared behind the far more sought-after figures of salvation or of Asclepius; Prometheus is now only the shaper of clay, not the bringer of light. Indeed in Plotinus’ work he becomes a kind of lower world-soul as a whole, he is said to have played a part in the creation of Pandora and to have sent her to Epimetheus. Plotinus even reverses the roles of Zeus and Prometheus; at least in the case of Pandora, who, as Plotinus claims, had also been made by Prometheus: ‘When it says that Epimetheus rejected the gift of Prometheus, does not this mean that the choice of a life in the intellectual world is better? The creator of Pandora is bound because he is as it were tied by his work (the creation of the physical world) to this work; but this bond is external, he is freed by Heracles, and this means that despite his chains he still has the power to free himself’ (Enneads IV, 3, 14). Prometheus, originally a rebel against the lord of the world, thus finally, in a crazy transmutation, becomes the creator of the world as a whole and the ruler of the world himself; and, in the gnostic version, this soon afterwards came to mean the - devil. Only the Church Fathers, from the negation of Zeus, from the new world era, honoured the light-bringer and deposed him by making him superfluous in the face of the new Lord. ‘The true Prometheus’, say both Lactantius



and Tertullian, ‘is God.’ Thus at least among the Christians Prometheus became - a full god, instead of the demi-god of tragedy and its cult; he had in fact first bidden men to burn the false idols. By opposing the supreme god of the pagans, he seemed to be opposing this idol only, not Yahweh: for the Church Fathers the man-god Prometheus stood for the good, against Zeus. Until, that is, he went on practising his arts against the new Lord too, against the Yahweh of the Church, not only against Zeus. But this happened after a social mandate against authority had finally emerged, even against its maximum in the other world. Prometheus, who in the ancient world remained a demi¬ god, became for the modern era an all the fuller religious-atheistic symbol. So that at the end of the entire history of religion to date the sentence by Marx could be written and still stands: ‘Prometheus is the noblest saint and martyr in the philosophical calendar.’ The revaluation began with Boccaccio, in accordance with the emerging bourgeois-individual consciousness; Scaliger and later Shaftesbury adopted the Titan as an ‘alter deus’, at least as applied to the poet, who is equally supposed to create beyond what is given (cf. Vol. II, p. 812). But above all Bacon, though mainly from his technological-utopian dreams, had again powerfully recalled Prometheus: Prometheus, says Bacon, with a tone never heard before, is the inventive human spirit who establishes human control, intensifies human power to a limitless degree and raises it against the gods (De sapientia veterum, XXVI).* The utterly revolutionary transformation, unleashed by the revolt of the Sturm und Drang, then occurred in Goethe’s Prometheus fragment, with at the same time a thematic after-ripening such as no god has ever found. With a mixture of Sturm und Drang, the complaints of Job and the tragic knowledge that men are better than their god. Shelley’s ‘Prometheus Unbound’ then completely followed the lead of this fragment, the Titan becomes the French Revolution, but Zeus is given all the features of a Manichaean Satan. Even the later, reactionary Schelling here, profoundly, brought out the oppressed element without which ‘there would be nothing eternal in man’. The oppressed individual is the pro¬ ductive subject who sees through his alienations: ‘Prometheus is the thought in which the human race, having created the entire world of the gods from within itself, returning to itself, became conscious of itself and of its own * Bloch is quoting directly from an unreliable German translation of ‘De sapientia veterum’. Although it is consistent with Bacon’s view of Prometheus, the translation he quotes bears little resemblance to Bacon’s Latin original. It seems to be a loose interpretation of the following passage describing Prometheus: ‘He, desiring to benefit and protect his own work, and to be regarded not as the founder only but also as the amplifier and enlarger of the human race, stole up to heaven..See Spedding, Vol. VI, pp. 668-9 (Latin); p. 745 (English translation).



fate, and felt the disastrous element in the belief in gods’ (Werke I2, p. 482). Prometheus is thus the god who signifies disbelief in God, or hubris, which is here so far from being irreligious that it originates from the subject of religion itself. Thus Prometheus is most emphatically different from the Greek images of gods, with the beauty which takes part in undreamt-of feasts, with the unfathomed depth before which the anthropomorphic, not anthropo¬ centric beauty is placed. Titanic, but titanic for men and through them, in an unblossomed religion of Greece: in that of rebellious-humane salvation.

Fish-man and moon-scribe of astral myth: Oannes, Hermes Trismegistus-Thoth The proclaimers seen so far have been indistinct or stood apart. For the lastmentioned hero was no founder, but only the dream of one. Yet even though those who to a greater or lesser extent really appeared were indistinct or stood apart, they did act humanly, even in the frenzy which made them Dionysian. But what now appears, around the Greeks and long before them, the Babylonian, the Egyptian founders, or rather orderers, not only stand entirely within the tradition but they also stand in one which wholly disregards our flesh and blood. The Babylonian and the Egyptian god is considered super-human precisely because he is inhuman, animal-headed or star-like. All ancient oriental form is shaped from without, all content is infused from above, especially the holy, the astral-mythic. Its proclaimers accordingly show their own, human face only when it is estranged; their figure is clothed-over. Egypt recognized as one of its original teachers the historical person of Imhotep, who, as is proven, lived as the architect and priest of the dead of the Pharaoh Zoser around 2900 B.c. But Imhotep, a man with an existing face, a miracleworker and author of books on magic, was not chosen as the founder of Egyptian religion until much later. Beside him, and certainly above him, ancient Egyptian legend told of Thoth as the founder of religion, not a man but a god and from the outset with the head of an ibis. And this remained so, because later a real prophet, Amenophis IV, failed to impose his new, monotheistic solar religion. It was not until the Alexandrian period that Thoth, who was equated with the Greek god Hermes, stepped back, or rather, with a new name, stepped forward, as Hermes Trismegistus. The latter was now declared to be the real founder of Egyptian theosophy, but in vain, it is the same old moon-god Thoth, only now personified. Thoth, however, the scribe of the gods, was also regarded as the god of numbers, measure¬ ment, geometry and hieroglyphs. Hermes-Thoth, this mere memory which



was called founder, this memory which clung to recurrence and to becomeness, accordingly taught the most collected religion of extra-human repose. What had again and again appeared in the Egyptian image of death, in its architectural symbol, now has its final hold in Osiris, the original earthgod, and in Ra, the sun-god; and this hold, in time, is repetition and, in space, sublime rigidity (cf. Vol. II, p. 72if.). Just as the sun, the same sun, is daily born again, so short and changeful human life is prolonged by Osiris into eternity and changelessness: Egypt’s nature gods bring happiness as gods of sameness. What the block-unity of hieratic statues promised was guaranteed in the rigid gods Osiris-Ra and finally Ptah: above all living change ruled healingly ordered death, wishful geometry of becomeness. The latter is the authentic Egyptian glad tidings, that of a future which has all the repose of the past in its favour, that of a heaven which is meant to represent the un¬ clouded primal image of the so very clouded, so very changeful earthly order. The Egyptian pyramid, says Hegel, is a crystal in which a dead man dwells; the Egyptian religion in itself is certainly not a crystal, on the contrary it is composed, in four millennia of stratification, of very differently structured gods with the most diverse functions, which often change in one and the same god; in popular religion there are also flower gods and the grotesque god Bes, there is the always preserved fetish stage of animal gods: but these are externals, and the fundamental content of this religion takes on all the more unmistakably the crystalline essence of its architecture, in the shape of the immobile and the definitive whose regularly crystallized order is dominated by the death-god Osiris. Osiris certainly is in the more ancient and popular imagination also the vegetation god who dwells in the earth and from his grave grants fertility of all things, who indeed rises to new generative power, moving cyclically between life and death: but his essential charac¬ teristic, as with the world-ruler Ptah, who was represented as a mummy and with whom Osiris merged, is life in death; thus he is the god of entrance to a static cycle of elapsed, statuesque enclosedness. Egypt is not the religion of the enigma as Hegel defined it on the analogy of the Greek sphinx myth, but it is the religion of the extremest estrangement, of silence and of its crystal. The holy dwells as thoroughly formed gravity in its house of granite or of porphyry. Egypt thus becomes an excess of geometrical block-unity even in religion. Never was the definitive as a state so highly worshipped, the decided, the closed, as it comes forward in the appearance as death. The only Greek god whom the Ptolemies were able to naturalize in Egypt was Pluto; Alexander’s Zeus-Ammon equation was not accepted. But Pluto, in late, otherwise everywhere disoriented Egypt, under the name of Serapis, the



god of death, became the world-god and the cult of Osiris was transferred to him. The majesty of death is always Egyptian, and the highest order of becomeness is and remains the crystal; Egyptian religion is most profoundly the adoration of the crystal. Only Babylonian religion, so far inferior to Egypt’s silence, still bordered in its specific astral cult on this geometrical quality. Just as the star borders on the crystal and the cycle of change on the stereotypy of unmoved repetition. So if the pyramid, with a corpse at its centre, stood by the Nile, by the Euphrates the stepped tower rose up, dedicated to the seven planets and the houses through which the sun moves. Accordingly the teachers of such distant circles also look weird. They too are regarded as immemorially old, have unusual bodies, are surrounded by strange non-man. Babylon’s astral religion even presents especially monstrous founders, unfamiliarly put together. Such as the fish-man Oannes of whom the Baal priest Berossos recounts, very late, around 280 B.c., but on the strength of legends which had been preserved. Oannes, the disguise which the founder assumes, was originally a god of the depths of the earth; as such he rises up from the sea, as such he teaches of the origin of the present world, of the struggle with the dragon of the abyss. Other fish-men and composite beings are also to be found in the legend of the first Babylonian kings which Berossos handed down, they add to the knowledge of Oannes. Grotesque founders certainly, but despite their chthonic origins they are immediately classified in cosmic-astral terms: Oannes belongs to the zodiac sign of Pisces, it is from this sea that he now truly comes. And the glad tidings ultimately refer to the god of Jupiter, the planet of happiness and of victory, a god who soon came to be identified with the dragon-slayer Marduk. Only one somewhat anthropoid figure, the sun-giant and hero Gilgamesh, appears as a not quite astral saviour, he has just defeated the bull of heaven and attained the water of life and the plant of immortality, only to lose them when returning to earth, and thus he himself suffers death, despite all his deeds, without heavenly resurrection. Hence only a star god puts himself flawlessly into heaven, only Marduk, shining down in the planet Jupiter, is the redeemer. And after his victory over the dragon of the abyss Marduk gains power over the new era and world: on New Year’s Day, his feast par excellence, he receives control over fate, the tablets of destiny, the book with seven seals; from his place of worship the town of Babel = Bab-il, heavenly gate, grows, and under Hammurabi Marduk becomes the god of the empire. As god of empire Marduk in the period after Hammurabi absorbed the entire ancient Sumerian trinity of gods: Ea, the god of the seas and of the hidden wisdom from which Oannes



had proclaimed, Anu, the god of heaven, Enlil, the god of the world. As the god of the New Year Marduk is also the god of spring or of the deliverance of mankind from sickness and misery. A great deal of salvation and of glad tidings of victory all at once, yet it all takes place high above men and outside them, not merely in heaven but in a primeval past in heaven; New Year’s Day is always only the commemoration of this, posited as completed, or at best the repetition of it. A different hoping is undeniable in Babylon, also in Egypt, qua glad tidings; a prophecy of blessing after a great catastrophe goes into the future as a Humanum. Yet because of the complete extra-humanity and non-temporality of the Babylonian foun¬ dation of religion, because of the complete identity of the god of repetition with the saviour, this hoping moves only within the cycle of becomeness, indeed in a fixed celestial clock. Marduk-Jupiter is at the same time identical with the zodiac sign of the bull in which the sun had stood since the founding of Babylon around 2800 B.c.; thus in the calendar system of the age of Taurus he becomes the ruler of the morning- and the spring point of the sun’s course; thus he becomes the long-existing point of spring fixed both in custom and in astral myth, the point from which the con¬ stellation again and again rises up. On every New Year’s Day, at every investiture of a new king, the saviour-god appears as the same being, only in different astrological constellations. The glad tidings of Babylon always go back to victory of the star-god Marduk over Mummu Tiamat, the dragon of the abyss; thus they are and remain trust in a law from above to below, in a star-law. The earliest cuneiform sign for god was, significantly, a star, likewise even in ancient Babylon the rudiments of religious astrology already existed and were then developed by the Chaldeans. In the sky the primal image of order rules, Marduk, pasturing the star gods, maintains it as a good order; happiness, bliss, well-being on earth are merely its cosmomorphic likeness. This perfected astral myth, even as teaching, contains nothing human, its gospel lands in star gods, in accord with their good cycle, in wariness of their harmful cycle. It goes without saying that this is just as much founding and human projection into the world as all religions, but its will-commitment and self-commitment contains a subject that seeks entirely to be present only as object. The mysterious path here goes outwards, into stone and cosmos, and neither in Babylon nor in Egypt does it tend to turn back towards the subject. The basic teaching of astral myth is that the world below is as the world above; thus even man is only the image, only the copy, of the upper and thus external world. So this astral Above left no substance whatever for religious subjectivity, it did



not even leave it enough to be nailed to the Caucasus. Indeed wherever the ruling being has been brought to the pure object side, the religious arche¬ type of Egypt and Babylon always continues to exert its influence. Not only in astrology as developed by the Chaldeans on Babylonian soil, in contact with the old star religion - a system of unavoidable dependence on outside and above. As such, astrology mythologized order versus freedom, always with stern light in the background, as is still recognizable in Campanella’s social utopia. Even where there is no talk at all of stars of fate, Babylon remains, a kind of rotating drum of repetition empty of human beings and alien to history remains, determining from above, even only from outside, especially in predominantly heteronomous world-views. The astralmythic is thus to be found in every form offatalism, even in christianized, indeed even in mechanistic fatalism. In return Babylon and Egypt on the other hand, as not only the most unswerving religions of despotism but also the most remarkable religions of estrangement, for the first time brought sublimity into the religious sphere - precisely by the extremely spatial contraposition of the astral-mythic to all too subject-based anthropomorphization. There is in its absence of human beings the pathos of extreme outwardness but also the still mythic corrective of an order without which subject and time only flail about and consume themselves. Crystal and stars certainly were once glad tidings, even though the founders inevitably became droll or faded in comparison with this pure astral face of their selves. Astral myth presupposes hierophants, it allows no proclaimers to turn the sun god’s head, turn it towards man; just as the hieratic buildings of Egypt and quite clearly of Babylon sought to achieve their perfection purely as reproductions of a cosmic stereoscopy. Even the labyrinths of Egypt of which Herodotus writes were intended to be far more than stylized intestinal or cerebral convolutions, they sought in their galleries to imitate the course of the heavenly bodies, i.e. to be cosmomorphic; and how much more so did the Egyptian temple path, the Babylonian planet tower. Pro¬ claimers and worshippers vanish into forms and teachings which have piled up the divine both colossally and geometrically; this is the sign of strict astral myth and its long-believed salvation.

Glad tidings of earthly-heavenly balance and of the inconspicuous world-rhythm (Tao): Confucius, Lao Tzu The moderate person also holds back, does not impose himself on others, push himself forward. Blessed contentment and the gift of being well-balanced



in the mean are related in kind. This is bourgeois in an older sense, one which does not yet have any unmeasured profit drive. Thus the moderate attitude, alien to adventure, was praised particularly among peoples without a warlike upper class. Anyway, preached decency, along with savage corporal punishment and more preventive than it, is to be recommended to keep the masses in check. People love the tried and tested, the balanced, the straight line in things, they are reverential towards moderation. This manifested itself most consciously in China, at the end of its feudal era of course, around 700 B.c., in the midst of anarchic confusion which dragged on until about

220 B.c.

It was then that China first became civilian,

a new class of lords emerged, i.e. a new form of ground rent. The patriarchally structured family remained, but aristocratic birthrights disappeared, apart from the emperor there is no hereditary aristocracy. Even the emperor and his mandarins (a new educated nobility) no longer acted like the ‘lords’ of the chivalric-feudal era but as the despotic ‘parents’ of a formally liberated people. Holding court turns so to speak into holding measure; the form of life is patriarchally tamed throughout. The sought-for mean was formulated in religious terms by Confucius, himself a reserved, never a fanatical man. As a moralist he seems unwarlike like no other: ‘Better to be a dog and peaceful than a man and live in discord.’ Li (the law of manners) becomes a form of devotion, Yen (humanity) here means custom or tradition. A wise man does not concern himself with wild or dark things: ‘What the master did not speak about were unnatural appearances, deeds of violence, disturbances and spirits’ (Lun-yii VII, 20). Likewise: ‘To treat spirits with awe but to keep one’s distance from them, this may be counted wisdom’ (Lun-yii VI, 20). Instead the emperor now moves into the holy middle, the emperor of the post-feudal, patriarchal-centralized ‘state based on the rule of law’ and its circumspection. To formulate, indeed to consecrate this, Confucius personally went back to the past, as if the theology of the new, patriarchal-absolute state were mere ‘reform’. Confucius disguises his own ideas as the codex of the feudal gentleman, he sticks sentimentally to traditional customs, nothing is to be restored but the ‘way of the old kings’, nothing is to be regulative but the old documents of the Shu-ching and Shi-ching. But in truth Confucius became the sage of the new patrimonial bureaucracy; he anticipates its no longer hereditary but academic organization, its pacifism and rationalism. With post-feudal society a post-feudal world of gods appears and, despite remaining natural religion, this has in its centre something as eminently human as the morality of the emperor and his measure-keeping



circumspection. This is in this form something new, especially in the field of natural religions, to which Chinese religion still belonged; and Confucius, the founder himself, despite all his moderate reserve, appears loud and clear with his name: as the teacher of the emperor and of his Middle Kingdom. Certainly, other natural religions also made the chief magical: in ancient Ireland it was believed that a strong king would bring the blessings of nature; in ancient Mexico the ruler on acceding to the throne even had to take an oath that he would make the sun shine, the clouds rain, the rivers flow and bring the earth to great fruitfulness. In ancient India this rapport with nature was even connected with morality: ‘Where kings act without sin’, says Manu’s Book of Law, ‘men are born without pain and live long, corn shoots up as soon as it is sown, children do not die, all offspring turn out well.’ And in Babylon, in Egypt, no founder, but the ruler as such had god-like status, through him Marduk, Horus, Osiris and Ra blessed the land. But whether Ireland or Mexico, whether ancient India or even EgyptBabylon with its monarchies made hugely taboo: the ruler of the people stands beneath the respective nature gods, he merely has in relation to them a special power of prayer, or else Marduk and Ra embody themselves in the dignity of king, in the astral myth otherwise almost devoid of human beings. But it is different in Confucian religion: the emperor ranks higher than the earthly nature gods, only he holds the balance between earth and heaven. The mountain and river gods, the town and provincial gods of the empire are regarded as imperial officials, they are removable, like mandarins. The emperor of Confucius is the same as the middle of the state and the middle of the cosmos: poor harvests, floods, avalanches, even evil star-constellations follow as inevitably from disordered government as does a favourable course of nature from ordered government. And at this point in the teaching it becomes clear that the fact that a founder is named and stressed can crucially change even a natural religion (over and above the mere ideological glorification of a ruling dynasty). Accordingly a founder, even when the forces of astral myth are retained, does not fade when this myth no longer rises above the realm of man but this realm now advances into the central middle of earth and heaven. The ancient Chinese religion still remained completely nature-mythic, it was demonic-orgiastic in its fertility and agricultural rites (the Chinese theatre has preserved some features of this), it was astral in its rites and laws, in its measurements and in its music (the primal emperor and the primal liturgist, the legendary Huang Ti, is none other than the year and calendar god). But through Confucius the orgiastic disappears completely and the astral-mythic is reinterpreted,



is projected by the moderator of concord between emperor and nature on to the power of human harmony. Hence the basic doctrine: ‘Heaven does not speak, it has its thoughts proclaimed through a man’, and: ‘For the Middle Kingdom, not only on earth but also in heaven, there is no abroad.’ One of the most amazing pacifications took place in the antitheses between which the struggle of the female-chthonic and the male-uranian nature demons may once have raged. I-ching, the ancient ‘Book of Changes’, calls these antitheses Yin and Yang; they mean valley and mountain or also river banks, one of which is in the shade, the other in the sun, at the time of the Ming dynasty, indeed already in very early Shamanic writings they were applied to man and woman. But the struggle between Yin and Yang, night and day, earth and heaven, finds, utterly primeval-dialectic, the unity of the antitheses everywhere, even though this unity is ended; Yin and Yang on the whole become the earthly and heavenly scales of the great balance, of longed-for universal harmony. And in spite of this the human world, with the emperor at its head, is nowhere subjected to nature gods any longer but solely to the idea of heaven, - and this, a final specific feature of East Asia, is no god. In all western religions a single superior line, becoming as it were ever more theistic, ran from the lower gods to the highest. In China, on the other hand, gods are only to be found in nature, the world which over¬ arches them, is superior to them, and is non-theistic. Shu-ching, the ancient ‘Book of Documents’, long before Confucius, named the heavenly order T’ien-tao, heaven’s being-on-the-right-way; in Confucius this became the care of an equally non-theistic norm which rules throughout the world. It became the last support of the Middle, through the emperor it prevents empire and empire-nature from straying beyond their limits; contact with to T’ien-tao is mediation with the primal balance of all things, i.e. with happiness. However at this point the founder withdraws again, though for quite different reasons than with astral myth: person here would be disturbance. When men’s lives are orderly, the world runs pleasantly in a circle; like the family state, like the harmony of nature, T’ien-tao may tolerate a teacher but it does not need a tribune, and man himself does not need one in T’ien-tao either. This is a quality or a limit that remained with Chinese religion for as long as it existed. Where Near-Eastern, Iranian and Indian religion were later to bring forth the most powerful prophecy, China knows nothing of this, and no founder raised his head above the holy health of humane-cosmomorphic measure. Some centuries after his death, Confucius was declared a god, yet this does not signify a penetration into heaven but merely a concession to polytheistic popular religion; this



kind of god-man is insubstantial amid the great and subordinated throng of Chinese gods. T’ien, heaven itself, has here too no space for a god, T’ien remains the apersonal-closed epitome of moral-physical connection. T’ien-tao thus retains the calm breath of the static family state, in perfect ideology and the perfection of a religious ideal at the same time: humanity is adhering to this heavenly way. Astral myth has not disappeared but returned com¬ pletely into something cosmomorphic which both reflects the China of families and of officials and standardizes it in a rationalist myth of moderation. And significantly this religious attitude has appealed everywhere, even outside China, where a wholesome mean was sought, the regulating moderation of pacified nature. This happened consciously during the eighteenth century, in the bourgeoisie’s struggle against neo-feudal excesses, lack of means, ‘un-nature’. It was not without reason that the China of Confucius moved alongside the Greece of the Seven Sages, of the fitjbev &yav, of Aristotelian iieo'orqs, the religion of moderation moved next to sophrosyne, optimism about the course of the world next to idylls and arcadias. On the basis of anti-feudal bon sens at that time something almost genuine in the China of Confucius and of his moderate world-childhood was again felt and received, lastingly remarkable, lastingly a partial corrective in the over-effervescing wishful image of what is right. There is a peculiar after-image of Confucianism, contrasting strongly with all juste milieu, even in revolution, not only in the French revolution; and this after-image appears in Brecht’s proposition: ‘Communism is not radical, capitalism is radical; communism is more moderate.’ Bon sens, belief in moderation, trust in the fairway which leads right between Scylla and Charybdis, still contain an element of those unvociferous glad tidings which originate with Confucius. These glad tidings are closely related to critical comparison, therefore they can be revolutionary, they are closely related to balancing, to the continuously evolving, therefore the message can also be compliant with order and conser¬ vative. Hence too the Confucian element in Goethe’s belief in world-measure, in the belief in a natural being who everywhere regulates and puts in the right weights. Hence the ‘life according to reason’ in China which so appealed to Hegel and which led him to treat this country so much more exactly, to understand it so much more closely than the exorbitant India of the Vedas, the land of Buddha so remote from all world-measure. Even in the after-ripening there was clearly at work here not chinoiserie but glad tidings felt to be orderly, almost even to be real: the world, when man knows how to take it, is well-ordered. However, the cult of harmony disappeared, the not so clear cult which made Confucianism into a religion and not



just a cosmic moral code; the mysterium in the T’ien-tao, as fine as it is untranslatable, disappeared. If the life of men becomes canonical when it makes the way to heaven its canon, this way to heaven is paradoxical even in Confucius; if only for the reason that it is itself solitary and silent. The teacher of moderation became visible as one who stepped back. But the true, the mystic teacher of Tao appeared by disappearing. Lao Tzu went westwards, over the mountain pass, was never seen again, left only his book behind. His person does not live on, except in the most distorted form; in the memory of the so-called Taoists (a group of Chinese miracle men of a low kind and their believers) he became a magician. From the ‘Tao-te-ching’, the ‘Book of Tao and Life’, gold-makers and exorcists learn their formulae. Even where Lao Tzu is remembered as the noble and wise man, he dissolves into a cosmic form, he then appeared on earth at the most different times; even in this way, succession does not become possible. For all this, Lao Tzu undoubtedly did live, an older contem¬ porary of Confucius in the sixth century B.c., a solitary man. His book contains intensely personal confessions: ‘I alone am gloomy, wandering about as one who never stays’ (Ch. 20). But despite this reality of his, above Lao Tzu as founder there hangs a bright haze, which is so fitting for this man, which reduces his doing till it arrives at non-doing, and which covers his tracks. In the Chinese family-state, Lao Tzu is the wandering hermit, hostile to custom, hostile to civilization, safe and secure only in the incomprehensible. Lao Tzu vanishes not only to the west, over the mountain pass, he constantly becomes invisible on the way of Tao. Thus Lao Tzu appears as clearly as Confucius with his name, as the teacher of the quiet way, but he presents himself even more clearly as dis¬ appearing. This founder is certainly profiled, but his profile is similar to what it contemplates; it is itself the powerfully inconspicuous. Tao gives support and guides, but on its way stands no visible mediator, no language statue; for it is that which is not worth naming, the only thing worthy of naming, and Lao Tzu does not know its name. It is inconspicuous and as if nothing: ‘So he who is called works and does not retain, when the work is completed he does not persevere. He does not wish to show his importance to others’ (Ch. 77). Middle and moderation apply here, too, as in Confucius, but how little this moderation is suited to morality and ruling government. ‘The method of Tao is to reduce substance, to restore what is missing’ (Ch. 77). This equilibrium shows different scales and weights, a different position of the pointer from Confucian justice. Lao Tzu’s Tao is harder to define in European terms than any other religious basic



category of East Asia; nonetheless it is, unspoken, the most easily compre¬ hensible. As the religious category of wisdom, as harmony with the deep repose which fulfils wishes by forgetting them. As chiming with the great Pan, who makes everything earthly small and yet is himself nothing but smallness and fineness, nothing but intentionlessness and stillness. And because disturbance by person completely disappears, astral myth advances even more extensively than in Confucius, but the astral myth of the Lao Tzu world is the strangest of all: it contains nothing but the light breath of a cosmic space everywhere; its universe is unextendedly infinite, solemnly small. Cosmos presents itself as inclinedness in immense shyness, as the paradoxical dream of being humane without having much that is individu¬ ally human to show for itself. A certain undistracted access to the dream background of this intentionlessness is given by that Chinese landscape painting which, though for the most part it developed much later, under Buddhism, nonetheless shows the alert, bright stillness of the Tao, not the deep sleep of nirvana, which cannot be painted at all. Symbols of an existing, not for example of an objectless, world-extinguished silence rise up here, deep in a Tao culture which has survived, in the work of Liang Kai, Ma Yuan, Hsia Kuei, all around 1200 a.d., so long after Lao Tzu, and everything speaks world symbols of stilledness. This appears now as a bare, dead branch, now as a boat surrounded by reeds at moonrise, now as a house roof beneath a tree or as a waterfall or a collection of rocks, with a person at the edge, himself a solitary and collected, a gathered-in figure, absorbed in contemplation. This is breath of Tao in its infinite-finite being at home, expressed through the landscape painting; and Lao Tzu preached precisely this repose, this unweighty weightiness. Preached in the incon¬ spicuous, which keeps the universe going, which keeps it in repose. The differences from Confucius are therefore considerable; they are the differences between the purest mystic among the founders and the most devout rationalist among them. Confucius sets the measure, which is easy to keep, Lao Tzu the simple, which is hardest to do. Confucius is historical, is fond of quoting the ancients, Lao Tzu is tired of history, does not give a single historical example, and to him the ancients are excellent only because of the savour of their Tao. This, however, is in every time, i.e. in none, it is the primal beginning in antiquity and in the present, the incessant as the unending. And, like history, so traditional morality, which for Confucius is canonical, is for Lao Tzu worthless, even degeneration: ‘The Tao was abandoned and so there were morality and duty. .. .the states fell into confusion and disorder and so there were loyal servants’ (Ch. 18).



Likewise: ‘Morality is scarceness of loyalty and good faith and the beginning of confusion, forethought is the illusion of Tao and the beginning of confusion’ (Ch. 38). Rule, example and codex as a whole, so highly rated by Confucius that the theory of government and metaphysics were identical, are superfluous, indeed harmful, in Lao Tzu’s Tao. This lives in the instinct for what is right, the only one which man was left with and which goes through the health of the whole world; it lives more precisely in the instinct, if the term can be used, of a mystical democracy: ‘If princes and kings were capable of being its guardians, then all creatures would stand beside them as its guardians. Heaven and earth would unite to make sweet dew fall, the people would of themselves become good, without needing anyone to command them’ (Ch. 32). Such glad tidings, of an all-resolving grace, are far removed from the ideology of the family state, the authoritarian state; despite the transitions to be found in much of Confucius’ advice, despite the superiority which he accords to grace over dignity. In Lao Tzu all that is luxuriant and magnificent is left behind, the seductively mild art of wisdom appears, Tao - long since not only in heaven, long since close by - is its quiet god, a god full of contrast ideology against anarchy and the ‘state based on the rule of law’. This shows itself most clearly at last in Lao Tzu’s central idea (only verbally does he have it in common with Confucius): in the principle of not-desiring, not-doing (wu yu, wu wei), in this quiet centre of the Tao itself. Not-doing is praised from time to time in Confucius, too, as the maxim of government of biding one’s time, but in Lao Tzu it becomes fundamental. In the realm of Tao nothing is done, the putsch of intervention disturbs its rule, deprives it of its recuperative powers (convalescence per se, the act itself which does not even always presuppose sickness) of the receptive stillness in which they take effect. This is not quietism in the European sense or even in the sense of the hymn: ‘Lord, lift the wagon alone’; the repose of Tao is both more naive and more radical. More naive because it contains an element of unpriestly health, a trust in the restitution of the well-built from itself; more radical because this trust relates to the constant world-rhythm, not to God’s providence and its acceptance. Despite all the characteristic quietisms to be found precisely in the composure form of oriental wisdom, it would be wrong to equate not-doing, in Lao Tzu’s version, with not having an effect; on the contrary, it is not-doing and this alone which is here regarded as producing an effect. Doing here is contrasted with liveliness, ripening, thriving, which is organic spontaneity and which alone is turning out well: ‘The higher life is without action and without intentions,



the lower life acts and has intentions’ (Ch. 38); ‘One can attain the kingdom only if one remains free of busyness. The very busy are not destined to attain the kingdom’ (Ch. 48). In this aversion to mechanical-abstract doing, chthonic memory speaks unmistakably, belief in the earth-mother, giving and guarding; long-lost matriliny continues to have its effect in the maxim of not-doing as spontaneity in repose. And it is not without reason that Lao Tzu’s life-Tao thus reproduces, sublimates images from the earlier, matrilineal period in China: for Tao is the ancient name for an animal¬ shaped world-mother. Thus not-doing achieves its contact with Demeter in the Tao: ‘The spirit of the deep does not die, this is the eternally female. Endlessly it pushes forward and is yet as if persisting, in its working it remains effortless’ (Ch. 6); ‘It walks within the circle and knows no uncer¬ tainty, it can be grasped as the mother of the world’ (Ch. 25); ‘A great kingdom must keep below, thus it becomes the point of union of the world. It is the female in the world, the female defeats the male by its stillness’ (Ch. 61). Thus Lao Tzu’s not-doing is definitely connected with a kind of co-ruling effectiveness: by virtue of its alliance with the pulse of the world, by virtue of its aversion to abstract mechanics which operates without contact to nature as mother. But the correctly understood teaching of not-doing also contains a maxim which in the end can be so far removed from quietism as to be no stranger at all to concrete action, which indeed justifies revolution as a breakthrough into that which is due and right. It is the maxim: the way is begun, complete the journey; and in this sense Lao Tzu declares not-doing to be a chiming with the concrete efficacy of the world: ‘If Tao is honoured and life valued, then no commandments are needed and the world goes right of itself’ (Ch. 51). He even speaks on one occasion of the doing of not-doing (wei wu wei), by which he means precisely the establishing of conformity with the world-rhythm, with its powerful-still beat. The fragrance of tea runs through this religionuniverse, so far from violence, crudeness and noise; anti-Barbarus has here become religion in the most worldly way, the mother landscape of ruling and healing. Indeed the peace in which the doing of not-doing moves causes Lao Tzu’s Tao, without it falling somewhere out of the world, even to appear as that complete fullness of inconspicuousness which means that the strongest may be seen in the weakest, the most important in the meanest, almost the absent. Therefore Lao Tzu included this among his many similes for the Tao: ‘Thirty spokes meet in a hub; on their nothingness the usefulness of the wagon depends. Clay is shaped and vessels are made from it; on their nothingness the usefulness of the vessels depends. Doors



and windows are cut in the wall to build a house; on their nothingness the usefulness of the house depends. Hence: being gives possession nonbeing usefulness’ (Ch. n). Of course this non-being is not acosmic either, it is no more nirvana than world-secluded absorption in intentionlessness was; even Tao as emptiness lives, as the simile of the wheel’s hub says, in the middle of the world. And its non-being is not contradictory, not even disparate, to being, on the contrary it signifies again and again the inconspicuousness of true being, mild and without taste. The emptiness of Tao is that of the non-separate, but also again and again that of the unseparated and of that which is returning from separation: ‘Great fullness must appear as if empty, thus it becomes inexhaustible in its effect... purity and stillness are the measure of the world’ (Ch. 45). As such fullness and stillness, Tao emptiness rules throughout the world; emptied of world yet precisely filled with nothing but world. The glad tidings remain cosmomorphic: ‘Man models himself on the earth, the earth models itself on heaven, heaven models itself on the Tao, and the Tao models itself on itself’ (Ch. 25); - thus cosmic harmony provides a hold. Although Tao also stands above heaven, it is not transcendental, rather it swings through all the after-images of its model, in incessant distributedness, in a rhythm which for Lao Tzu is both the origin and the norm of what is right. As such a being of world and of nearness, the Tao, precisely also politically and theologically, is a god, but so without all magnificence that it is not a god at all in the common meaning of masters: ‘It clothes and feeds all creatures, and it does not play the master’ (Ch. 34). Only a single passage in the Tao-te-ching (Ch. 4), and this moreover a corrupt one, talks of a highest ruler (Di), whether he is to be understood as the god of heaven or simply as the emperor-god of the highest antiquity; yet in this very passage the highest is described as caused by the Tao and the Tao as earlier. An unpathetic world rhythm demands no lord, and nature itself is in Lao Tzu such an old culture that it does not need to play the master. This Tao, if it were so, would not allow any man to be ruined; it would be the world without false paths. Richard Wilhelm, who has probably come closest to the Chinese religious text, wants to render Tao as ‘Being-For-Itself’ (Tao te King, 1915, p. XX), with a Hegelian term which here, however, must not presuppose a process, as convalescing pre¬ supposes illness. Nonetheless the Tao does contain dialectic, not merely that of the constant self-cancellation of its attained determination but the dialectic of walking in a circle, of the flux in Being-For-Itself: ‘Always in flux, that is, far away; far away, that is, returning to itself’ (Ch. 25). But above all Tao



remains sheer spontaneity in sheer repose, in the mother-ground of ruling, to which the human essence holds as it identifies itself. Because this human essence becomes so identical with the world-ground that its life, when it is on the right path, is definitely lived by the world-ground, indeed as it were walked by the world-ground, the human essence ceases to exist as a further educating, super-naturing essence. Again and again the paradox of a pan-humane without human beings breaks through; men disappear in it like all things, indeed above all the Tao itself. Secret working of eternally reigning nature, in this divine element without god everything human is to be embedded without man, all hope embedded without any¬ thing needing to be hoped, all that is in being without Being. ‘The highest life appears as emptiness, the great tone has an inaudible sound’ (Ch. 41). Subjects are lost in the Tao like tones in a harmony so great that like health it becomes imperceptible, like unceasingness inaudible.

A founder who is himself part of the glad tidings: Moses, his god of exodus The especially vehement, fanatical speaker cannot be concealed by legend. He stands in person in his traditional image, the real voice breaks through fables. As with Moses, the earliest leader of a people out of slavery. Moses is chronologically the first distinctive founder and he has remained the most visible in human terms, a man. Attempts have been made, in vain, to make him into a legend, like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, who in fact are mere names of Israelite tribes or perhaps even Canaanite gods, back-dated. For even in the story of Joseph, the story which precedes the work of Moses, the dissolu¬ tion into legend has never quite established itself. Joseph was supposed to be part of legend of wandering, the legend of the youngest brother envied by his older brothers. Joseph was even supposed to be a variant of a Babylonian lightgod, Tammuz, who sets in the West Land. But it turns out that even the story of Joseph and the person of this imperial chancellor* have a lot of historical probability on their side. For Joseph knows something about Egypt which no invented figure, no legendary figure merely applied to West Land can possibly know. His story, which precedes the exodus by centuries, shows strikingly strong Egyptian local colour: the rites of investiture (Gen. 41, 42) are as exact as they are correctly quoted, equally correct are the details on

Pharaoh made Joseph governor of Egypt. See Genesis 41. Bloch is using the title ‘Reichskanzler ironically here, of course.



the dead hand of the Egyptian church (Gen. 47, 22 and 26). So not even the so far distant story of Joseph constitutes a precedent for resolving Moses and the exodus into legend; even though the hitherto known Egyptian counter¬ account of these events is incomplete and questionable. There were Egyp¬ tian imperial chancellors of Semitic origin, and the clay tablets of Tell al Amarna, which were not discovered until 1887, prove that Canaanite kings asked the Pharaoh for help against invading Tbrih However, Moses has been surrounded even more liberally than Joseph by that wreath of legends which mythological research, especially on Babylon, has woven. Yet no people has so far ever told of the days of its slavery and humiliation without historicalreal reason, so to speak voluntarily. No people has so far spun completely out of nothing details of its liberation and being led out of this slavery, or confused the struggle between the spring sun and the winter with its own. Yet mythologists, especially those of the Pan-Babylonian persuasion, expect us to believe this of ancient Israelite history, just as, with even greater fantasy, they expect us to believe it of the story of Jesus. For them, because of the basket of reeds in which he was saved from the wrath of the West Land Pharaoh, Moses was pre-disposed to appear analogous to an entire mythic group of young sun- or spring-gods. Like Moses, the Adonis-, the Horusand the Jesus-child were pursued by the giant of winter, like him, too, the various young sun-gods were concealed in a narrow hiding-place, a box or a cave. Even the work of Moses, the exodus itself, was dismissed as a solar legend, of Babylonian origin: ‘The deliverance from Egypt, in terms of the world-year myth, is deliverance from the dragon of winter’ (Jeremias, Babylonisches im Neuen Testament, 1905, p. 120). In the ears of the PanBabylonians, even the drowning of the Egyptians in the Red Sea sounded reminiscent of motifs of the struggle with the dragon, the fight which Marduk fought with the underworld demon Tiamat. Finally, unlike this PanBabylon, incomparably more serious, indeed with the great achievements of philology, a radical critique of the Bible sought to erase Moses from history. Not always as a living person but as the person who proclaimed a new god, who originally founded a religion. According to a so-called Kenitic hypothesis (cf. Budde, The Religion of the People of Israel until their Banishment, 1900) Moses borrowed the idea of Yahweh from the Kenite tribe, into which he had married after his flight. The Kenites had their pastures on Sinai (perhaps the now-extinct volcano), and Yahweh (probably meaning: he who wafts, he who blows) had been worshipped among them as a volcano god since primeval times. If Yahweh himself is a plagiarism, it is not surprising that the ten commandments are not supposed to belong to Moses and to the children



of Israel either. According to Wellhausen, the radical exaggerator and antisemitic epigone of biblical criticism, the decalogue comes from the Canaanites. Jewish priests, he says, adopted it in Canaan, together with the ritual command¬ ments; only much later, only after Cyrus, were the ten commandments attributed to Moses, their entire content, not just their formulation, is interpolated (cf. Wellhausen, Israelitische und jiidische Geschichte, 1901). And in the end, in all too radically dissolving biblical criticism, nothing more remains of Moses and ancient Israel than a wild bundle of religions, completely without a centre, of holy stones and trees, of diverse local gods, ancestor cult, human sacrifice, Canaanite rites and late Babylonian legends. Thus the founders of the Jewish religion were the prophets, and Moses, Yahweh, exodus, the decalogue there and then are no more historical than Abel and Cain. But now something remarkable happens: precisely where biblical criticism annuls the later assimilations and back-datings of the priestly codex, where it has discovered genuinely extraneous elements in Mosaism, precisely here the originality of Moses becomes more evident than it was before the triumphs and even the extravagances of biblical criticism. Just as the theory of evolution does not blur the difference between man and animal but on the contrary makes it far more recognizable than before, so the Bible appears even more original and unique now that its extra-biblical sources and elements have become fairly well-known. Perhaps, probably Moses adopted the god of Sinai from the Kenites, but the god did not remain what he had been. Quite unquestionably the decalogue, not to mention the ritual code, contains late interpolations from Canaan, but the concise main body has no equal in Canaan, in the entire world. With Moses, a leap in religious consciousness occurred, and it was prepared for by an event which is most opposed to religions till then, religions of worldliness or of astral-mythic fate: by rebellion, by the exodus from Egypt. Thus, and not for example as Nimrod or as a hugely prominent medicine man, Moses became the first heros eponymos, the first name-giving originator of a religion, of a religion of opposition. Other, later religions of opposition, such as the warlike religion of Zoroaster, the acosmic religion of Buddha, are understandable for Europeans only in terms of the exodus-archetype. Just as the founder-figure Moses is the prototype of all who stand not on the margin of their teaching but within it, messianic. An enslaved people, this is the need here which teaches people to pray. And a founder appears who begins by slaying a taskmaster. Thus suffering and rebellion stand at the beginning here, from the outset they make the religion a path into the open. The god of Sinai, adopted from the Kenites, through Moses did not remain the local god of a volcano, he became the



spirit of the exodus. The volcano god is set in motion, and his character, except for certain choleric-eruptive features, is changed. The local god is raised up from his ground, through his theurgist Moses he becomes a cloud and a pillar of fire, which moves with a race originally unknown to him from Sinai into the untrodden, into the splendour of something untrodden. And just as the god of exodus is Mosaic, not Kenitic, so the main body of the decalogue preserves a creation of Moses, not a moral code of the Canaanites or, even more far-fetched, of the ancient Babylonian king Hammurabi, whose Book of Laws of around 2100 B.c. has about as much in common with the decalogue as the corpus juris has with Kantian morality. The decalogue contains interpolations, undoubtedly; the commandment not to covet one’s neighbour’s house is meaningless among Bedouins, as is the commandment to honour the Sabbath. Both presuppose sedentariness and the ordered workday of the Canaanite farmer, indeed the making holy of the seventh day did not happen until much later, in Babylonian exile, it is Chaldean in origin. However, the unbroken community ethic which Moses formulates did not exist in Canaan. For it stems from primitive communist conditions, which had not yet been completely eradicated among nomads but certainly had been in the agricultural civilization of the Canaanites in which a class system had long since been formed. A sentence such as: ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself’ (Lev. 19, 18), such a concentration of the ten commandments into one, has, even in the primitive commune, only its still unconscious beginning; the making conscious and the almost glaring exemplification is the work of Moses. As such it was also borne in mind by Israel, not just in the midst of Canaan but against the Canaanite economy itself, which was now adopted by the Israelite conquerors. A new entity now penetrated into the existing kulak morality and Baal religion of Canaan, and, despite all receptions, it never completely capitulated (cf. Vol. II, p. 497f.). The Nazarites, from Samuel to John the Baptist in his nomad’s hair tunic, the prophets closely connected with them, with their view of the period in the desert as the ‘bridal period of Israel’, as the time ‘when Israel was a child’ (Hosea 11, 1), derive their memories and their power from the Mosaic foundation, from decalogue and exodus god. Without Moses the prophets would be without ground, even the morality of the prophets, sublime and universalistic though it became, shows the still influential impulse of the exodus-leader and his idea of the holy people. Through the commitment of Moses the content of salva¬ tion changed, a content which had constituted the completely finishedexternal goal of pagan religions, especially the astral-mythic ones. Instead



of the finished goal there now appears a promised goal that must first be achieved; instead of the visible nature god there appears an invisible god of righteousness and of the kingdom of righteousness. But if not prophecy then did not the Book of Job (after so little that was good in Canaan, after so little fulfilled promise) add to the religion of Moses something completely different, namely the negation of itself? As rejection of its glad tidings, as rebellion - and now not only against Pharaoh or Baal and Behai but against the Yahweh of ostensible righteousness himself. Certainly this is the content of Job’s revolt; neither the tame correctnesses and traditional harmonies of his friends nor the storm in which Yahweh announces his disparate sublimity can rescue faith in the righteousness of the once so magnificently proclaimed-proclaiming god. A theocracy which has become inhumane no longer makes any impact on a subservient mentality which does not want to remain limited.' And yet even the Book of Job, although written so late and geographically on the edges of Judea, remains genuine Old Testament or Moses in contraMoses. Well before Job not even the priestly version of the Bible text could suppress or wipe out the memory of the subversive characteristics in this text, even just the murmuring of the children of Israel, the measuring of Yahweh’s deeds against his promise, against that highest definition which Isaiah finally gave him: that he is the Holy One of Israel. But the murmuring was the measuring of God against his ideal: all this is found laid out in Moses himself, in the man of the water of strife (Num. 20,13), of doubt that Yahweh would deliver his people (Exodus 5, 23), of the prayer to Yahweh, that he himself and not merely an imperfect angel should lead them into the Promised Land (Exodus 33, 15). Moses insists on Yahweh instead of the angel, with kiddush hashem, the making holy of the name, on him who has become face: ‘If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.’* But the face is still far above the righteousness which Job so denies in Yahweh, so that almost nothing remains of him but the old demon of Sinai. ‘Prince of the Face’ is significantly a later title of the Messiah, of the intended leader to the final Yahweh or to the finality which Yahweh was believed to represent. No religion has passed through so many layers of sublimation, of utopianization of its god as that of Moses, but all these layers are inherent in the concept of his God of Exodus himself. The God of Moses is the promise of Canaan or he is no God. The rebellion of Job, the Hebrew Prometheus, also stems from here and this is precisely why it has an utterly different fierceness, an utterly

Exodus 33, 15. The Authorized Version gives ‘presence’ where Luther gives ‘Angesicht’: ‘face’. The Hebrew is ‘panim’.



different substantiatedness from strife with God in any other religion. Exodus in Job becomes radical: not merely as the measuring of Yahweh against the ideal of his righteousness and the kingdom of his righteousness but as the exodus from Yahweh himself into the unknown Canaan of which he was the unkept promise. ‘I know that my blood-avenger is living and will at the end rise up above my dust. The witness of my innocence will be by me, and I will see my deliverer from guilt for myself, with my own eyes I see it, and no other’ (Job 19, 25-27, after Bertholet’s translation, using the conjectures*): the Messiah religion in this text, which, probably for good reason, has come down to us in corrupt form, abandons Yahweh too - for the sake of its utopia. But if Moses had not proclaimed God in Canaan, Canaan in God, then Job would have neither language for his accusation nor light for his rebellious hope. The impulse of Moses holds the entire Old Testament together, including Messianism, which appears late or rather is pronounced late. This too, indeed precisely this, is latent in glad tidings whose proclaimer brings himself and his people into it, with exodus and promise of the land, land of the promise.

Moses or consciousness of utopia in religion, of religion in utopia Much that oppresses and makes people cower has accumulated in the Scrip¬ tures. But this is precisely what is added, laid on to an unsatisfied, permanently creative religion. The children of Israel themselves shook off a yoke and followed him who said to Pharaoh: ‘Let my people go.’ The law with which the first rabbis, around 450


after the return from Persian exile, isolated

and held together a people does not belong to the impulse of Moses. Even less so does the high-throning lord-god whose cult the Israelites had adopted in Canaan and who is Baal. It is the same Baal whose religion, according to the recipe of every ruling class, must be kept up for the people. Together with the triviality and cliched conventionality with which Job’s comforters, those prototypes of all opium-priests, dispense their kind of trust in God. The God of exodus is different in nature, in the prophets he proved his hostility to lords and opium. But he is above all not static in nature, like all pagan gods until then. For the Yahweh of Moses, right at the beginning, gives a defini¬ tion of himself, one which over and over again is breathtaking, which

* We have departed from the Authorized Version and translated directly from the German, as Bertholet’s variants are important to Bloch’s argument here.



makes all statics futile: ‘God said unto Moses, I will be who I will be’ (Exodus 3, 14).* In contrast to the interpolations of the Law and of Baal, it is here immaterial how late such a highly messianic definition was inserted into the original text. For, complicated though it looks both linguistically and conceptually, it springs in its spirit not from any priestly code but from the original spirit of exodus itself. Eh’je asher eh’je, I will be who I will be, is a name which despite its ambiguity and interpolatedness reveals Moses’ intention, does not cover it up. Yahweh’s self-description is ambiguous because the verb haja from which eh’je is derived can mean both to be and to become, and it is interpolated because only later theology could have put such an enigmatic word in place of the word Yahweh, which it was forbidden to pronounce. Nevertheless the addition here is autochthonous, i.e. the interpretation of a real intention, the same intention which caused the local god of Sinai to move into the futuram of Canaan, as his distant homeland. To gauge the uniqueness of this passage, compare it with another interpretation, or rather the late commentary on another name of god, that of Apollo. Plutarch records (De El apud Delphos, Moralia III) that the sign El was carved above the gate of the temple of Apollo at Delphi; he attempts a numerological-mystical interpretation of the two letters but finally comes to the conclusion that El means grammatically and metaphysically the same, namely Thou art, in the sense of the timelessly unchangeable existence of God. Eh’je asher eh’je, on the other hand, places even at the threshold of the Yahweh phenomenon a god of the end of days, with futuram as an attribute of Being. This end- and omega-god would have been a folly in Delphi, as in every religion where the god is not one of exodus. However, God as time is in tension with God as beginning or origin, with which the Egyptian-Babylonian influenced teaching of the creation in the Bible begins. The Deus Creator of a world represented as very good and as complete, and the Deus Spes whom Moses proclaims to his people, do not become completely identical until rabbinical theology (and later the Credo of the Christian church). The prophets on the other hand - which is so important and remains so essentially true to the con¬ ception of the God of exodus - seldom mention the god of creation and then almost only as the intending scene-setter for man: ‘For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited’ (Isaiah 45, 18). Although this goal-description, as one of the kingdom of God among men, is already present in the Mosaic story of the creation, it is uniquely reinforced

Again, we have translated directly from the German here. The Authorized Version gives ‘I AM THAT I AM’, but clearly the future aspect is crucial for Bloch’s interpretation.



by the prophets, and memory here completely becomes anticipation: ‘Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done’ (Isaiah 46, 9b). Even in later extended creation mysticism, which then in the Cabbala became a gnostic mysticism of emanation, the god of exodus and promise never lost the final power. This penetrated into gnostic mysticism about the beginning of the world and about the divine throne-chariot (Merkaba), it aligned both towards the messianic omega. According to the Cabbala, God even created several worlds, but smashed them again because man did not occur in them; it is therefore towards him alone that the creator works. Indeed the attachment to man as the purposecontent of creation becomes, precisely here, so inevitable that the lord of heaven and earth, who wants to dwell among his people (Exodus 25, 8), with his people as Eh’je asher eh’je, takes part in all their destinies, right to the end and precisely to the end. Exile lent the Deus Spes the most painful radiance because Yahweh himself, together with his people, seemed to have gone into exile. God as ‘shechina’, i.e. as the presence of his light, is now, according to the Cabbala, himself homeless in a creation in which man does occur but is imprisoned: the shechina shines not from the beginning of the world but as a messianic light of consolation and hope. One of the greatest Cabbalists, Isaac Luria (1534-72), introduced the idea of exile even into the teaching of the creation itself and thereby changes it completely; bereshith, the beginning, the word with which the Bible opens, thus became the beginning not of a creation but an imprisonment. The world came into being as a contraction (tsimtsum) of God, is therefore a prison from its origin, is the captivity of Israel as of the spiritual sparks of all men and finally of Yahweh. Instead of the glory of the alpha or morning of creation, the wishful space of the end or day of deliverance presses forward; it allied itself to the beginning only as to a primal Egypt which must be set aside. Little though such ramifications of Mosaism accord with the solemn hymn of Genesis, they correspond precisely to the original God of exodus and the Eh’je asher eh’je, the God of the goal. So Deus Spes is already laid out in Moses, although the image of a last leader out of Egypt, i.e. of the Messiah, does not appear until a thousand years later; messianism is older than this religion of the Messiah. For a new saviour did not seem necessary as long as things were bearable for the people. Or as long as they believed that only their sins had caused the disasters that had befallen them. But despite the God-pleasing change that quickly gained ground in the Jewish church-state from 450 B.c. onwards



the situation became more and more hellish. The image of a last leader thus emerges, becoming sharply defined from the second century B.c. onwards, after the oppression by Antiochus and the war of the Maccabeans. The dream culminates in the Roman period; Messiah is the secret king, the anointed of the Lord, the restorer of the kingdom of David. As such he is a national revolutionary leader, with romantic radiance, but at the same time, in the sense of the prophets’ universal Zion, ruler in a new period of time altogether, in a kingdom of God. Thus, in the messianic religion, as well as the hoped-for king from the family of David a hoped-for higher Moses rises up. The ten plagues, the destruction of the Egyptians in the Red Sea, become apocalyptic: the precondition for the coming of God’s rule is the annihilation of the power which now holds sway on earth. And the national revolution itself, despite its smallness, becomes entwined with worldchange, with the new heaven, the new earth. The Messiah-image was multi¬ plied even more powerfully, far beyond such a cosmic Moses, by that of a divine first man, in accordance with an idea common to Jews and Persians at this time. In Ezekiel, a contemporary of Zoroaster (c. 600 B.c.), this divine human form first appears, full of wisdom, in God’s garden of Eden, powerful as a cherub (Ezek. 28, I2ff.). In the famous vision of Daniel (c. 160 B.c.) the ancestral messianism even puts on this flesh: ‘One like the son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before them. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations and languages should serve him’ (Dan. 7, I3f.). The idea of the Messiah was given its learned formulation in God by Philo, an Alexandrian contem¬ porary of Jesus: the divine first man - the first-created Adam, who is formed in God’s image (Gen. 1, 27) and not of dust (Gen. 2, 7) - is the Logos, the first-born Son of God, indeed the ‘second God’. He is no longer just the anointed of the Lord but an inner-worldly or a man-god. In fact the other god, the unrecognizable god of heaven, increasingly relinquishes his pillar of cloud and fire, his exodus and saving power to the Messiah figure; the Messiah, despite his subordination to Yahweh, is regarded almost as equal to him, but as the good God, the helper and the good in God. This is a theological transformation which goes far beyond the sublimation of Yahweh that had taken place until then; for in the shape of the Son of Man as a second god it is directed at trust in Yahweh alone. Even though the latter, through unrecognizability and transcendence which becomes absolute, moves ever higher: precisely the disparateness of this distance deprives deprivation of the being to which it could pray. All too great sublimity



is transformed qualitatively: it causes a turning away among believers, because no relation whatever to this transcendence is possible any longer, and in the case of the god who is believed absolute transcendence becomes the same as abdication. Indeed sublimity finally becomes just another way of saying that God has abandoned his people (heaven is high and the Tsar is a long way off, says a Russian proverb, in correspondence to that sublimity for which man is too small to be considered). In late Judaism, as we have seen, in the case of Job (c. 300 B.c.) and the preacher Solomon (c. 200 B.c.), a completely anti-Yahwist feeling now broke through, that the government of the world was evil; and transcendence, which completely separates God from the world, could then at best be used as a means of protection against this feeling. Of course it became only a negative means of protection, not one that could have prevented the formerly praised saviour-function of Yahweh from being more and more passionately expected of the divine first man. Thus the idea of the Messiah finally appears as a scarcely concealable vote of no-confidence, indeed as secession from Yahweh; in spite of and because of the sublimity which is proclaimed precisely in the late Psalms. But what is decisive here is that the Mosaic foundation, even with this most powerful leap, is not shattered. Messianism is not shattered by the Messiah, even though he is antithetical to Yahweh; for he is not antithetical to the old exodus-Yahweh who had proclaimed that he would be Israel’s doctor. Although the entire despair of Judea was needed to put the Messiah beside Yahweh, indeed against him, and although the idea of the Messiah did not originate solely on Jewish soil but also, with manifold interchange, in the Persia of Zoroaster, nonetheless the exodus god was already such that he could not remain a god if, instead of destroying Pharaoh and his oppressive empire, he himself appeared as a - pharaoh. It is quite immaterial how far foreign influences played a part here, it is even more irrelevant how far philological antisemitism seeks to take not only the decalogue but also the idea of the Messiah away from the Jews. No analogies whatever to this now-erupted idea of exodus are to be found in the panegyrics of the Egyptian-Babylonian courtly style, which praises every lord who happens to be ruling at the time as a saviourking. Undoubted analogies are to be found, as will be seen more clearly, in the religion of Zoroaster; it, too, has a divine first man, called Gayomard, and the last appearance of Zoroaster, the Saoshyant who brings the end of the world, corresponds to the Jewish Messiah (as well as to the paraclete of the Gospel of St John). But even though the Jews may have been influenced by these Persian parallel ideas during the Babylonian exile from 586 to 538 B.c.,



and may have retained them after their return, it is in the first place far from established that these ideas had not previously radiated from Palestine to Iran. The ancient Persian religion, a natural religion which largely coincides with the ancient Indian religion, excludes messianism, this eminently historical religion, just as much as messianism is intended in Moses and already steps forth bodily in the first Isaiah over a hundred years before Zoroaster: ‘And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots’ (Isaiah II, i): this passage, which is not interpolated, and the verses which follow it, definitely contain the messianic idea, even though they do not, not yet, refer to a divine first man and his return. But then the authentically apocalyptic developments of messianic religion, which begin simultaneously among the Persians, the Jews and not least the Chaldeans, appear as a work which may have been common to all but in which only the Jews had all the power of suffering and therefore all the seriousness of hope on their side. For the Persians under Cyrus, the Chaldeans under Nebuchadnezzar ruled a world and their god did not need a future in order to be victorious; thus a significant document, the magnificentgrateful Behistun hymn of Darius, shows how they managed even without a Saoshyant. Judea, on the other hand, was in such a bad way after the return of the Jews that it was here for the first time that the belief in the Messiah became wholly one of explosion and not only of crowning apotheosis. Thus philological antisemitism here comes almost more to grief than with the Kenite Yahweh and the decalogue. Reitzenstein from his knowledge of Iranian mythology observes, at least neutrally: ‘It is not that Jewish ideas of the Messiah are borrowed per se; hopes of a saviour king and a blissful age whose duration they do not wish to limit arise independently of one another among the most different peoples and influence one another in individual features in literary communication’ (Das iranische Erlosungsmysterium, 1921, p. Ii6f.). And Max Weber gives a summary which even breaks out of neutrality and, rightly, sees messianism inherent in Moses and in the prophets themselves: ‘The peculiarity of the Israelite expectation is the increasing intensity with which, whether it be paradise or the saviourking, the former was projected from the past, the latter from the present, into the future. This did not only happen in Israel; but nowhere else did this expectation move into the centre of religiosity with such obvious con¬ stantly increasing force. The old Berith (Covenant) of Yahweh with Israel, his promise in association with the criticism of the miserable present made this possible; but only the force of the prophecy made Israel to this unique extent into a people of expectation and of waiting’ (Gesammelte Aufsatze zur



Religionssoziologie III, 1923, p. 249). Consequently the idea of the Messiah has survived only in its biblical form; only in this form was it experienced by peoples with suffering and a sense of mission. And because it expressed that which constitutes the essence of religious longing, with astral-mythic statics set aside, with all the after-ripening of the exodus god, it is plagiarism, though plagiarism not just of Persia but of the central utopia of religions themselves. Every founder of a religion appeared in an aura which belongs to the Messiah, and every foundation of a religion has, as glad tidings, the new heaven, the new earth on the horizon, even when both perfectednesses have been abused by the masters’ churches for the idealization, i.e. apologetics of an existing order. Of course the astral myth of perfection (with a decidedly old heaven, old earth) always found this easier than did religions with a prominent founder, pathos of the new, the human in the middle. But as soon as any founder at all appears an element of the Messiah is posited, and with all glad tidings a Canaan experiment is involved. Judaism showed the Messiah and Canaan particularly clearly, yet all religions contain, in a more or less brokenoff or mindful form, these destinations, are grouped around them, are crosses between transitory mythology and invariantly intended messianism. Messianism in religion is the utopia which enables the Utterly Different of religious content to be mediated in a form in which it contains no danger of lords’ anointment and theocracy: as Canaan in unexplored splendour, as the wonderful. Judaism became rigid in the armour of the cult laws but messianic faith was kept alive through all codified epigonism; it was misery, it was above all the promise in Moses and in the prophets, irrefutable by any empiricism, which kept it alive. ‘Whoever denies messianism denies the whole Torah’, says Maimonides; and it is the greatest Jewish teacher of the laws who says this, a rationalist and no mystic. The glad tidings of the Old Testament run against Pharaoh and sharpen on this antithesis their lasting utopia of deliverance. That which is meant by Pharaoh, Egypt and the kingdom of Edom is just as much the negative pole of Moses’ glad tidings as Canaan is its positive pole. Without Egypt there would be neither exodus nor such evi¬ dence of messianism; but if Egypt is engulfed in the sea, the path to the holy dwelling becomes clear - therefore the Apocalypse, too, is latent in Moses.

Warlike self-commitment, mingled with astral light: Zoroaster, Mani The visible teacher clearly becomes one who wants to bring his people home. For this he puts his life into the path, into the goal itself, to save his disciples.



Zoroaster also acted thus, on the path to a brighter sun than that which already burns. This emphatically human founder nonetheless again takes part again in nature-mythic movements, comes in part at least from ancient Persian movements, yet expresses in them his utterly different saving quality. Zoroaster certainly lived, around 600 B.c., the very wild and dense legend around him began to form only eight hundred years later, in the earlier Avesta. The Gathas, the collection of Zoroaster’s sayings, show a sharply vivid man, surrounded by doubters, answering them reflectively. The incipient legend, too, is produced by the palpably powerful impression of a historical person; Zoroaster inspired people to spin fables. Even in the most bizarre legend he himself has a human destiny, not that of a fish-man or moon-scribe. As power and serenity embodied, ‘allied with light’, this founder pierces the fables of the Zendavesta and not least its priestly, often desolate formulae. The legend says that when Zoroaster was bom he imme¬ diately let out his happy laughter, the world of the good god cried out for joy with him, the evil spirits fled. An archangel leads the youth to the glory of the god of light, there he receives the true teaching and the mysteries of the great division are revealed. ‘I made a creation of beauty’, Ahuramazda-Ormuzd, the god of light, tells him, ‘and Ahriman made a second creation, one which is man-destroying, made death, winter, sluggish¬ ness, from which poverty follows, inexpiable action.’ Again and again there is the antithesis between the winter giant and the god of spring (among Germanic tribes this is Thor, who smashes the ice with a hammer). This is the nature-mythic antithesis per se, it was Babylonian, in the struggle between the dragon of the abyss and Jupiter Marduk, it was ancient Iranian as well as ancient Indian; the Indian sun-god Mithra is in any event identical with the Iranian Mithras and the god of light Varuna with Ahuramazda. But while in Babylon the dragon of the abyss is defeated by Marduk right at the beginning of the world, with Zoroaster, the exhorting, forwardrelated founder, this does not happen till the end of the world. History thus enters into astral-mythic statics, the whole world becomes history, namely a scuffle in which Ormuzd and Ahriman are entangled. After a glorious life, the Zoroaster of legend falls in the struggle against Ahriman. But at the end of each of the three millennia which the world still has to go through after Zoroaster’s death, a new prophet grows from his seed, which is guarded by spirits. The last millennium brings the end of all things, and with it of course also, as an element of final tension, the threat of Ahriman’s supremacy. But according to the highly chivalric legend the Zarathustra laughter with which the first Zoroaster had already entered the world grows



to the same degree. The name of the definitive prophet, from the seed of Zoroaster, the name of this last Zoroaster is Saoshyant, which means: coming helper. United with him is Vohu mano, which means: spirit of truth, one of the genii of Ormuzd, and thus, in purification of men and of the world, Ahriman is defeated by Ormuzd, the gigantic clinch of two almost equal forces breaks, the hybrid world, shadow world of day and night ceases. A new one begins, ‘free of age and death, decay and putrefac¬ tion, full of eternal life and growth’. Zoroaster thus wins as ‘the ally of Ormuzd’, he is the first and the last who, with all who belong to the light, can return to this light. Thus he shows features analogous to the Jewish Messiah, not to the suffering Messiah who in Jewish legend is described as the son of Joseph but to the victorious Messiah, the son of David. Zoroaster, too, bears a name familiar from the Bible, ‘one like the son of man’ (Dan. 7, 13); he is Gayomard, which means the bright first man, as he was from the beginning with Ormuzd. And the last Zoroaster, the Saoshyant, stands like the Messiah at the end of the days, the lord of the separation of the good and the evil, of the Last Judgement. Even the Christian idea of the paraclete (helper, comforter) has one of its origins in the Saoshyant: the ‘spirit of truth’, the name by which the paraclete is prophesied by Jesus (John 16, 13), is Vohu mano, the spirit of the last Zoroaster. Despite all this of course the nature-mythic inter¬ twining remains, even with such a powerful, most visible entrance of the founder-person. Zoroaster rejected the ancient-Iranian, Vedic nature religion, dispatched many of the old gods to hell, consigned the fiends as well as the genii to the dependent retinue of Ahriman or Ormuzd. However, astralmythic statics, through having so much person, so much world-history as Last Judgement forced into it, is not completely abolished in the teachings of Zoroaster. Hence the firmly fixed moment of Ormuzd’s victory, which is due after three thousand years. And just as the future here is not open, is not truly new, but has been set a closed deadline, that which appears in it at the end does not seem a Novum but the filled quantum of the already present light which has merely been blocked and restricted by Ahriman. Thus the huge person-commitment of the founder, striking through the world as threefold lightning, is just as hugely and definitively interwoven with the external heaven. The Jewish apocalypse also, and even more so the Christian one, draws the cosmos into it, but as a cosmos which is collapsing, behind which the kingdom lies. The Persian glad tidings do not contain this break in nature, they remain despite all their exodus in the old space; consequently for them light is not so much a symbol of good as good



is a symbol of light. But astral myth did not therefore remain the same as in ancient Babylon or even among the Chaldeans, whose star-worship extends so far into the Zendavesta. If the seven main lights of heaven are worshipped, they are worshipped as allies in the struggle, not only as directors of fate. And if in Zoroaster history is again engulfed in nature, nature too is engulfed in the path of salvation of an eminently moralized history. Precisely in the dualism of night and light, Zoroaster perceived nature as the place of two armies, as a human battleground. The believer, instead of standing far below, or in fact outside, as in the astral cult, now puts on the armour of the light-god, just as the light-god in turn needs believers. And it is not surprising that the teaching of Zoroaster, by virtue of its dualism, could cultivate intolerance particularly well. When, from 224 a.d. onwards, the Sassanid dynasty regenerated Persia militarily and nationally, the Mazdaic church which evolved at that time from the remnants of the Zoroastrian tradition was as tightly organized, indeed more tightly organized, than the state. It cultivated a strict hierarchy, a scrupulous ritual and above all a dogma which enabled detailed distinctions to be made between orthodoxy and heresy. This church, like all others, completely denied the utopian nature, i.e. the messianic character of its Zoroaster. It abolished the cosmic-utopian scuffle and thus determined even before the appearance of the last Zarathustra that, and how, light (the Mazdaic church) and darkness parted. Until a new teacher came into the midst of all this rigidity, came precisely from the old kind. His name was Mani, he was bom in 215 a.d. and crucified by Mazdaic priests in 273 a.d. In 242 a.d., the year of the coronation of Sapor I, the second Sassanid king, he made his first appearance in public, giving the Shah a document on the reform of the Mazdaic religion. Given the fortress-like development of the state church, it was already too late for this, but it is significant that with his first work Mani definitely began to have an effect on Persian soil, as the renewer of Zoroaster. Not for example as a Chaldean or as an apostle of the Christian heretic Marcion or even, as has also been claimed, as a pupil of the Greeks who knew his Plato well and his doctrine of the wicked soul of the world. It is more likely that Mani may have been connected with the curious Mesopotamian sect of the Mandaeans, which his father had joined, among whom he grew up. The Mandaeans were fanatical believers in the Son of Man, the saviour of the last days and the world-conflagration; in all their writings the son sent by the light-father into the depths is the object of their expectation. Not that the Mandaeans recognized Jesus as this son, on the contrary they regarded



him as a false Messiah, although John the Baptist probably himself belonged to a Mandaean order. In a Mandaean apocalypse contemporary with the oldest Gospels (cf. Reitzenstein, The Mandaean Book of the Lord of Greatness, 1919), the heavenly ambassador is still expected; thus, two hundred years after Jesus, Mani, in the sect to which his father belonged, saw the promise of John the Baptist still unfulfilled. Now the Mandaeans were anything but a Chaldean sect, on the contrary, with many cross-connections to contemporary popular Jewish religion, they clung to the legacy of Zoroaster. They certainly do not uphold the modern tearing-away of Mani from Persian culture or Hamack’s theory that Mani’s teachings ‘are based on Chaldeism, interspersed with Christian, Par si and perhaps Buddhist ideas’. Harnack even claims that it is the ‘semitic natural religion removed from its national limits, modified by Christian and Persian elements and raised up to Gnosis’ (Harnack, Dogmengeschichte II4, p. 522). This transposition of Mani does slightly correct the view that Mani was merely an epigone of Parsiism, but at the price of making him into a late-Babylonian epigone; both views are wrong. Mani shows undeniable Chaldean influences, but the Chaldean at his time was itself Iranized from top to bottom. And if the proportion of astral myth in his teachings appears far greater than in Zoroaster, dualism still remains dominant, the scarcely cosmomorphic discord between night and light, and this is Persian. Indeed the moralization of world history no more occurs in Semitic natural religion than does history itself and the son of man who moralizes it. Therefore the older interpretation, that Mani belongs with Zoroaster, once a number of additions and corrections have been made, particularly with regard to the Mandaeans, is correct. This becomes clear enough when we turn from interpretations of Mani to the core of his teaching itself. This core is dramatic, because of the universal discord in which man finds himself, and it is as drama that the world process itself unwinds. This drama, Mani teaches, consists of four acts, corresponding to the four periods which Zoroaster had assigned to the battle between Ormuzd and Ahriman. And four times the son of man intervenes, in diverse forms and knighthood, to prevent hope being wrecked, to rescue the stolen gold light from the prison of the world. The drama thus becomes an unparalleled battle- and grace-play, an alchemically illustrated exodus, with the following stages: evil broke into the heights, light sent its first ambassador, the first man, to combat it. Against the helpers of the night the ambassador called up his own, against smoke, fire, darkness, burning wind, poison, he flung ether, fire, light, pure wind, water. But the black forces engulfed the bright, the first man himself was



taken prisoner, was numbed, forgot his origins. To free him, primal light, which in Mani is also called by the highly Mandaean name of father of greatness, sent a second ambassador, the ‘life-spirit’. He manages to rouse the first man from his benumbed state and lead his spiritual being back into the world of light - but not his helpers. To free them, the light spirit now performs his second rescue-act: he kills the helpers of darkness, from their corpses heaven and earth are formed. The light spirit therefore operates as a demiurge, but in such a way that heaven and earth are created by him in their form but not in their matter, which consists of smoke, fire, darkness, burning wind and poison. Except for the sun, moon and stars: these consist of parts of the light engulfed by darkness. But to begin to set free the other, still imprisoned light-elements, the primal light sends its third ambassador, the ‘spirit of the leading wise man’, and at his side the ‘maiden of light’. The third act of creation begins as that of movement: only the stars remain in the firmament and tied to its revolution, sun and moon however become bodies circling between earth and heaven. The spirit of the leading wise man takes up residence in the sun, the maiden of light (Helen, Sophia) takes up her residence in the moon; from here they keep the work of light-deliverance going. There now occurs one of the loveliest wishful interpretations of the sun and the moon known in myth, one that can scarcely have appeared before Mani. Sun and moon, in Mani’s now soteriological astral myth, become two heavenly ships which load up with the performed good deeds and the departing souls of good people and bring the light thus removed from the world back to the kingdom of the first man and of Ormuzd. The moon in its phases is interpreted as a barque which fills with light (a perspective which indicates the deep south, for it is only in countries near the equator that the new moon appears horizon¬ tally, a boat floating in the air); but the sun passes upwards the light brought out by the moon in the ‘pillar of praise’. The twelve signs of the zodiac through which the sun runs and to which it offers its flood of brightness are here visualized as the spokes of a huge water-wheel or as the buckets of a lifting mechanism. But if the microcosm is a prison of light, the macrocosm is one great mechanism for the deliverance of light; the myth of the soul’s heavenly journey (cf. Vol. Ill, p. in8ff.) is thereby dedemonized. But equally the planets are deprived of their idle rotations, this harmony of the spheres of mere circling. On the contrary, Mani praises this music as a divinely-ascending, death-conquering power, hence as one which is in contact only with the sun-ship and with light-deliverance by the entire cosmos. In contrast to Babylon and Chaldea, Mani teaches that the moon



and the sun are not gods but ways of reaching god; astral myth thus begins to move against itself, astrology becomes cosmic alchemy. As such Mani’s entire universe stands, insofar as it is moved, insofar as it leads out the gold light; Manichaeism remained the religious background to alchemy. Yet it is still necessary to send a fourth ambassador, for the night, too, is now preparing to strike. One of its forces has formed on earth the first men from the remaining light, on the model of the first man, the lifespirit, the leading wise man. The main part of the remaining light is now imprisoned in Adam and Eve, their bodies are a work of darkness, but their forms and their souls are modelled on and follow the light. It is to break open this last prison of light that the fourth and last ambassador now appears, at the same time a definitive incarnation of the divine first man. He appeared, as Mani explained, with a magnificent change of form, in Mani’s own genealogy, he appeared to the Persians as Zoroaster, to the Indians as Buddha, to the people of the West as Jesus (distinguished from the historical Jesus, the Jesus of Peter rather than Paul). He appears finally in Mani and as Mani, who is the paraclete, the Vohu mano of Zoroaster, the spirit of truth. A gnostic here for the first and last time in history becomes a prophet, more than that, a crown prince of god; his vocation is: knowledge which redeems. Thus the work of the deliverance of Adam, cosmogony, turns into ethics of salvation, into an asceticism and hatred of the flesh which finally differs from Zarathustra’s world-powerful teaching and displays Buddhist characteristics. For the Zendavesta taught that Ormuzd had created both body and soul; Mani, on the other hand, sees in the body only the work of the devil, which must be cast aside. But there is a difference from Buddha, too, because Mani’s asceticism is not merely individual but at the same time cosmic; it is a partial process of the cosmic final process. Consequently four acts of initiation correspond to the four above-mentioned cosmogonic acts, even though Manichaeism, as far as is known, did not contain an elaborated, sensuous-symbolical mystery cult. Yet the connection between the higher ranks of the Manichaean order, the electi, and the universal, as it were itself ascetic nature process cannot be thought of as close enough. The electi of Mani are truly put into the world like retorts in order to distil the stolen light-matter from it; they are the living art of chemical separation, with a cosmic goal. The goal is the last anti-Ahriman act, the razing of the world fortress; the sun and moon also cease their work of excavation then. When the last messenger of god ‘shows his image’ the dark matter collapses, the world burns, the unmixed original state of night below but light on high fills the universe. The rigidity of death



below, in the shattered prison, freedom and brightness above: this constitutes the triumph of the divine plan over the ‘king of darkness’. Thus end the glad tidings of one of the most comprehensive systems of religion, striving in all its fables towards the residence of light. A natural light which nonetheless is aimed at throughout history and which does not shine completely until the end of time. The continuing influence of this powerful heliotropy was great, although or because it did not establish a lasting church, and it is not yet extinguished. Mani became the teacher of Augustine until about his thirtieth year; even as a Christian, Augustine did not overcome the influence of the doctrine of the war of light. In his work the devil and God fight out in history what in Mani takes place on the scene of nature. Augustine even heightens the distinction between night and light, between civitas terrena and civitas Dei in the course of history; as in Mani the process ends undialectically, as the rigid separation of hell and heaven. The more gentle as well as complete solution of Origen, apocatastasis or the bringing in of all things, even of hell, into paradise, is rejected by Augustine, undoubtedly influenced by Persian dualism. It was from Persia that the belief in the devil captured the entire underground of the world, with all the reactionary ideology to which it was so suited; but it was from here too that the mysticism of light advanced, militant as far as the Cathars, symbolic as far as the halo, indeed the colour hierarchy of church windows. Ormuzd is the god with whom the sun comes, who opens the world wide for light, who beats the gold brightness from the crust: thus Mani himself mythologically founded the wishful dream of alchemy. Good people even on the miniatures of a Persia which had become Islamic do not cast a shadow, because this is Ahriman; but holy men inevit¬ ably stand in fire and brightness. Thus in Christianity as well as in Islam, in the continuing influence of Mani on both, light becomes the material of the divine in and for itself. Light becomes the gate and the content of purity, a content which constantly expresses itself through its antithesis to flesh, greed for possession, attachment to the world, power, externals. Hence the continuing influence of Mani, i.e. of his sharply antithetical password, right up to the great heretical movement of the Albigensians; not without reason were they called the neo-Manichaeans. Whether because Manichaean circles had continued to exist, especially in Provence, since the end of the classical age; or because, at the beginning of the eleventh century, trade with the orient brought over from the east hybrid ChristianManichaean doctrines such as those of the Armenian Paulicians or the Bulgarian Bogumils. At any rate, the sharp dualism between world and



light, power and spirit, gave Albigensianism a revolutionary ideology on top of its Christian-spiritual ideology. The devil’s offer of all the kingdoms of the world and the rejection of this temptation by Jesus (Luke 4, 5-8): this genuinely Mandaean legend was now especially sharpened again by the neo-Manichaeans: the Pope was Satan, power as a whole was Ahriman, the Christian withdrew from their service. Lux pura was the sign on the neo-Manichaean flag, as it had been on Mani’s; as such it was to be hoisted on the ruins of the destroyed world-fortress. In Mani’s case, of course, this was an already-present light, one that is merely not complete, not one coming up within itself, as with Moses, then Jesus. And the ZoroasterMani kingdom is not made from the material of the son of man but finally from that of natural light, of an externality, though of a radically good one. Thus right to the end the self-commitment of Mani and Zoroaster, so highly energetic and substantial, is mingled with nature, indeed lands in it. Such cosmic landing at the end has the negative quality of not allowing the self of religious commitment to finish speaking; yet this landing also of course has the merit that it leads out of a mere aspatial Being-Within. The corrective which objective astral myth as a whole, in Egypt and Babylon, forms against pure inwardness is present on a new level in Mani. And is all the more instructively present because the subject here is not absent, in the powerful entwinement of ethical-religious with natural categories. Lux pura in the Manichaean sense is no puritanism, dwelling in inner light and nowhere else. It is just that nature, as it rightly stands above history, remains static here, already fixed in its external value-elements of night and light; on the place which it occupies no human kingdom whose content has not come into being is intended. Light as physically present is blasted out of the compound product world and returned to the treasury of Ormuzd. This is the doctrine of salvation of dualism it draws the spirit from the night, as if it were merely concealed and buried beneath it.

Redemptive self-commitment, limited to acosmos, related to nirvana: Buddha The visible founder finally wants to become the way which he teaches. No glance is directed upwards any longer, faith becomes the following of one who is striding ahead. Buddha wanted to be nothing but this way and its path, freed from suffering, worldless, traced out for all men in



one. With none of the founders who have appeared so far does one see the doctrine so precisely transformed into way, into a way which of course leads straight to nirvana. Buddha appeared at the end of the sixth century B.C., at a time when the ancient Indian religion of the Vedas was stifled with formulae, superficialized into ritual. The Indian religion itself was not originally intent on being lost to the world let alone to the gods as well. The Vedas, which date back to the pre-Aryan period, are to a large extent nature-mythic, are not without the juicy wishes of a peasant and warrior race. Sacrifices, cults, magic rites, even vows and acts of mortification were intended to achieve nourishment in this world, cattle, horses, long life and revenge on enemies. Only the dead person is apart from the world, but in such a way that, united with the fathers, he sees Yama, the king of the dead, with reward for good works in heaven. The most solemn part of the Vedas, the collection of hymns, is still for the most part devoted to nature gods, storm and cloud gods, the fire god Agni, the storm and heaven god Indra, the frenzied god of libation Soma. The Puranas, which themselves purport to be part of the Vedas and contain the authentic legends of Indian mythology, are boundlessly polytheistic; the deeds of the gods are even more boundlessly entwined in the monstrous, in the inextricably gigantic. This serves as an astonishing foil to atonement, coolness, withdrawal into self, glimpses of repose, which do of course already break through the wilderness of gods in the Rigveda, the oldest part of the Vedas. And certainly the Upanishads of around 800 B.c., which form the last part of the Vedas, contain distant light, Himalayan light, whose kind of nirvana permits no peasant- and war-myth, let alone any approach to the jungle of gods. Unrest has now made itself into the strongest seeker for rest, Buddha’s ‘path of redemption’ has its first starting point here. In the Upanishads an apprentice is shown the world figures so that he may recognize them, in their terrors and their allurement, as illusion, and at every figure, whether tiger, cloud, king or nightmare, the exorcistic formula intones: Tat tvam asi, You are thus. The Upanishads are no longer polytheistic, but pantheistic: the self (Atman) is not only one with all other beings but also one with Brahma, the world soul. Brahma sees, hears and knows in every individual soul, is the all-seeing, all-hearing, all-understanding throughout all beings; he is the Only One, in whom all striving is extinguished and the veil of Maya, i.e. the multiplicity of the illusory world, is tom. Yet Buddha’s ‘path of redemption’ has its second starting point in the rationalistic-atheistic Sankhya philosophy which began around 600 B.c., not in the Himalayas but in the towns of the lower Ganges, to the east of the old Brahman



country. The individual self here fell completely, it became a transitory aggregate> a skandha or heap, just like external things. But above all in Sankhya philosophy Brahma, the divine substance, fell; it likewise belongs to Samsara, to the illusion of the fixed figure-world. Sankhya and the heritage of the Upanishads, especially as contained in mystical Vedanta philosophy (Vedanta = end, goal, true intention of the Vedas), thus formed the preconditions for Buddha’s decision: as self without selfness and completely without Brahma to be the founder-figure whose way leads out of the suffering of the world, which is the incurable impulse of illusion towards the world. This narrow goal-pointing in his doctrine is unparalleled, the elimination not only of Brahman ritual and the jungle of the gods but of all knowledge that does not prove itself to be redemptive. This was a concision which of course did not and could not survive in the dissemination of such an esoterically remote message; only an indication of this is visible in the symbol of the Buddha figure, in the overwhelming mystery of its gain and of its absorption. The Buddha teaching itself also mixed with nature-mythic ideas about it which continued to exist un¬ disturbed; an increasing host of Brahman gods fought their way back again. Four hundred years after Buddha the form of Buddhism was developed by Nagarjuna which has survived in Tibet and which, with added ingredients, went on to Japan and China. It is called Mahayana, i.e. large vehicle, for broad deliverance from the ocean of Samsara; the older, stricter teaching, which is called Hinayana, i.e. small vehicle, has survived only partly in Ceylon. Whereas among the people the Buddha figures have become fetishes, the holy writings have become magic charms and nirvana has again become the opulence of the old heaven of gods, augmented even by a hell, the form of Mahayana has to some extent retained Buddha’s atheism, but in return has disseminated the god Buddha almost polytheistically through times and spaces. A many-layered universe appears instead of the original uninterested¬ ness in world, time, space, a universe that is filled with Buddhas-to-be (Boddhistas) and with entire systems of Buddha worlds. But whether the Mahayana of the crowd, with its often wildly rigid mythology, or the Hinayana of the scholars: the teaching of Buddha was abandoned precisely in its major article of faith: that of acosmism. Between 1200 and 1400 a.d. Buddhism disappears in India proper, perhaps because of its opposition to the caste system, which developed in post-Buddhist times, although only one case of persecution has been recorded; Hinduism, the developed Brahmanic form of religion, took its place. With yogis in its train, whose contemplation had not so much nirvana as magical power over the world as its goal. With the



trinity of Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva over all the much-entangled gods and godkings, over the genii, elephants and demons of ancient Indian legend; not forgetting the dreadful Kali, wife of Shiva, who demands human sacrifice. Apart from the Hindu church only the scarcely original sect of Jainism remained, founded by Mahavira, a contemporary of Buddha, a sect which initially also rejected gods, myth and cult but then vied with the Brahmans in the building of barbaric and even more extensive temples. Buddha remains by contrast that which has become free, religion without god and gods, with myth below and behind it. The founder goes on ahead of his believers as Tathagata, i.e. he who redeems himself; as such, of course, he is finally again the one who is scattered. The peculiar atheism prevented this kind of subjec¬ tiveness - an entire contraction of religion to the darkening Buddha-way least of all. Atheism here became religion because a man, with a content abstracted from world and from gods, moved into the new layer in which the gods were no longer to be found, not even as illusions. Outside this layer they are not completely united in Buddha, for otherwise they could not be overhauled, on the contrary they have the reality of illusion, to which they belong like all the hazy realities of this world. Atheism thus becomes a part of immense acosmism, which constitutes the consequence of this thorough¬ going doctrine of illusion, in world as in supra-world. Of course, it was only at the price of acosmism, this incredibly high price, that atheism was purchased here, and thus it itself became transcendental-religious. Then precisely the person of the founder, the utterly human hope-way person Buddha, the person of the world, remains finally extremely visible, as the first to dissolve into nirvana. Instead of immersion in Brahma as divine nirvana, as the Upanishads teach, comes immersion in a nirvana completely without forms. In a centre of repose where instead of exodus, and as this per se, exitus enters into itself. ‘Just as the great ocean’, Buddha explained in the rules of his order, ‘has only one taste, that of salt, so, too, my teachings and rules have only one characteristic: redemption’; but redemption from world as well as from god. It conquers as total abstraction, its location is the completely abolished cosmos, is the acosmos and atheos of nirvana. A man exemplified this who wanted to make suffering in itself dwindle away. Not specific suffering from one thing or another but suffering from a wretched existence as a whole and above all, so to speak thoroughly, from its cause. But this cause itself is not supposed to be specific, least of all social, consisting of lords and serfs. It is supposed to be quite universal, is called Tanha, desiring, thirst, and as such it is the same everywhere; particular crass misery merely opens the eyes to the entire incurable condition. The nobleman



Buddha became clear-sighted in this way on seeing a beggar, he experienced Tat tvam asi as compassion. The sermon at Benares on the four holy truths of suffering by which Buddha won his first disciples adds to compassion discernment, which sought to bring the individual out of the world. The lord of mercy proclaims the teaching of the origin of suffering, of the annihilation of suffering, of the path leading to the annihilation of suffering. Buddhism knows neither wishes nor wishful prayers, yet the only prayer which it nonetheless contains says: ‘May all beings be happy today’; this is already to be found at the end of ancient Indian plays. Buddha made it central. If the cause of existence as suffering is thirst, the cause of existence as illusion is ignorance: ‘Not knowing (the source of suffering) is the sole reason for the appearance of the world.’ Thirst tortures just as endlessly as illusion, which drives thirst from one phantasm to the next, leaving it eternally unsatisfied: Tanha, desiring, Samsara, the world of illusion, must therefore both disappear in the same act of reduction. Or as the Dhammapada strophe says, referring to the chimaera as monster, positing chimaeras as illusions: ‘Once the house-builder is seen, from then on he can no longer build the house.’ The serene, the drive-deadened, the drying up of delusion come over the world as truth, one great coming-to-rest, coming-to-an end. The merciless driver disappears, the wheel of rebirths stands still, the chain of karma breaks, i.e. the existence effect of crime and punish¬ ment, with merit and its reward in every new life, disappears as a whole, in the core as well as in the appearance. As noted, only suffering per se is dealt with here, such a universal and at the same time such a deep-seated core of its causation that social reasons or even intensifications of this suffering do not lie in the field of vision at all. Thus every attempt at social upheaval was trivialized; beggars and kings, starvation and the puking wish-fulfilment of excess come together in undifferentiated world-weariness and equally in the last, in the escape-wish of total wish-extinction. Thus distraction came through ostensible concentration, and all this in the compli¬ cated connection between enervating acosmism and bold atheism - as if both Nos were the same. It was from this side, from the equation of all change with futility, of all promotion of happiness with illusion, that a form of neo-Buddhism, through Schopenhauer, also became influential in Europe. When attempts were made to make the bleakness of capitalist existence the condition of the world per se and hence one which could not be cancelled out in the world. And every similar form of interested pessimism, every nihilism, lives on such relaxation, even when this relaxation in the original, in Buddha himself, was nowhere intended and taught as



cowardly weariness but everywhere as the fruit of the highest concentration. But the other side of Buddha’s teaching of salvation was not considered, the side on which no trivialization through ostensible radicalization, no world-toleration through all-abstracting world-negation takes place. For if Buddha says that not knowing is the only reason for the continuing exis¬ tence of the appearances of this world, this proposition contains a re-evaluation of the function of knowledge which - in its consequence - differs truly radically from every merely apologetic affirmation of the world. Here there is not only an overtaxing of the tension between appearance and essence according to which when the essence of an appearance has been recognized a recon¬ ciliation (to a greater or lesser extent Hegelian) with the appearance takes place. But even the essence, indeed precisely this, is regarded by Buddha not as that which is to be confirmed by knowledge, but as that which is to be changed by knowledge. Here too the bad appearing is undoubtedly assigned to appearing per se, an inadequate world to Being-World per se, and a thirst essence which sates itself only in misery, which is not to be sated with anything that has yet happened, is assigned to the essence of inten¬ tion, essence of tendency per se. And knowledge becomes the same as the practice of world annihilation pure and simple, as if the truth of the world were its destruction, precisely through knowledge of its essence itself, in which according to Buddha salvation is least to be found. But equally undoubtedly something world-changing is posited - and this for the first time in religion - in Buddha, is posited in men themselves as tathagata, i.e. as the central point of a changing of ways. And by virtue of atheism this happens not through prayer but through the will which has become knowing - though of course only, unfortunately for this kind of salvation, through the acosmic, overflowing, all-escaping will to non-will. And in this flinging back of the bad into nothingness there is least place of all for a reckoning; this total contempt is meant even in its effect to be a happening as if nothing was happening. The entrance to nirvana must accordingly itself be the most peaceful - but again as a prodigious heightening, over-heightening of the knowledge-faith which believes that purely from itself it can change the world into non-world and, if it worships no gods, also believes that it has no adversary to fear or to combat. Which is why the destruction of the world in and through illumination passes off quite noise¬ lessly, without cosmic catastrophe: illusions have no apocalypse. This too, with its high temperature and crashing dreadfulness, would according to Buddha’s philosophy also belong to illusions, the feverish dream of existence; at the entrance to nirvana no fire-elements operate, because equally there are no



longer any gods to receive the souls. About this, nirvana as obliteration, Buddha’s practice of knowledge teaches nothing, there is no answer to this question, the question itself was treated almost as heresy by Buddha. Only this much becomes negatively clear in this obliteration, that it must still in all in its category-less non-plenitude be determined by that in it which - as acosmos, atheos - extinguishes and obliterates. Hence a specific Indian kind of cosmos does after all, against the intention, impart itself with a negative imprint to nirvana, namely as abstractly abandoned, as the emptiness or abstract negation of that which was previously filled by the cosmos. The cosmos which is abstracted from here is certainly not that of an astral myth, as in Egypt and Babylon: on the contrary, Buddha’s abandoned cosmos can be none other than the wild-gigantic cosmos of Indian mythology. But both by contrast to this world and by the hollow space geometry of the emptied cosmos something strangely inorganic is nonetheless present in nirvana, a gravity in all its infinite lightness, something sealed by sleep despite all landing beyond sleep and waking. Along with this inorganic aspect there even comes an element of that magnificently closed quality which the statue of the god Buddha manifests in such contrast to the wild sculptures of gods in Hindu temples; a closedness not only out of concentration but also out of geometry, out of a smile in the sleep-crystal. The figures of Buddha from the classical Gupta epoch in particular show a quite clear mathematical structure based on the triangle and circle: as reflection of the unreflectible but symmetrically described nirvana. This is repose not of this world, yet a repose which touches highly paradoxically on the Egyptian aspiration to become like stone. For the abstract devotion to nirvana does not contain that emphatically New towards the cosmos such as the Christian utopia of kingdom presents, the world¬ overcoming, not world-abstracting leap by virtue of apocalypse and heavenly Jerusalem. But why the smile in the sleep-crystal? - the bliss of nirvana which after all is ultimately something utterly different from the hollow space geometry of acosmos? - the symbolism of the Buddha statue, the lines of initiation in it, which yet seem to impart a quite different cipher than the nega¬ tive counterpart to external geometry? This kind of thing proves again and again that a particular kind of self-commitment, extinguishing itself, has entered into the hoped-for salvation here; but that it is present precisely in extinction, as extinction. This presence, which is therefore ultimately marked in Buddha’s smile, is inconceivable in astral myth a limine, even in Chinese Tao it is weak, contemplative, directed to the edge of a landscape. Despite all this the bliss of nirvana remains freely suspended, hypostatized to itself, without



supports or anything supported. The rest is silence or sleep-crystal out of Nothing of all, out of All as Nothing, out of Nothing as All. Unconscious-objectless extinguishedness, which of consciousness and object leaves only the smile of bliss, in which both have disappeared - these are the glad tidings of acosmic salvation - as if non-world were already like heaven. Founder from the spirit of Moses and the exodus, completely identical with his glad tidings: Jesus, apocalypse, kingdom Yea countless people think it a powerful great fantasy. They cannot judge otherwise than that it is impossible that such a game could be set up and carried out, to throw the godless from the throne of judgement and to raise up the lowly rough people... As it must happen and be held to us all with the coming of faith, that we men of flesh and earth are to become gods through Christ’s becoming man and with him are God’s pupils, indeed by him are taught and made gods, indeed far more, we are completely changed into him, in order that earthly life may swing into heaven, Philipp. 3. Thomas Miinzer, Expressed Exposure of False Faith

Prayers are said to a child born in a stable. No glance into the heights can be broken downwards in a closer, more humble, more homely way. At the same time the stable is true, such a low origin for the founder is no invention. Legend does not paint misery, certainly not that which lasts a whole lifetime. The stable, the carpenter’s son, the visionary among simple people, the gallows at the end, this is taken from historical stuff, not the golden stuff beloved of legend. Yet, as with Moses, attempts have been made to dissolve Jesus into pure legend, with no one behind it. According to this view, Jesus no more really lived than William Tell, Herod did not need to massacre the innocents, and Pilate washes his hands not in innocence but in thin air. Undoubtedly Jesus is surrounded with myth, yet this is only the framework into which a man entered, which was filled by a man. The framework was one of expectations: precisely as such it is also important for the existence of Christ, for his appearance in unrest, prophecy, year-god myth. The unrest was the political one in the Jewish land which longed for a leader. A strong king of the House of David, capable of driving out, of banishing the Roman occupiers. From here came Jesus’ first followers, his ride into Jerusalem and the readiness to start singing the hosanna, the acclamation for ancient Israelite kings. Prophecy provides the



second, far broader expectation motif, one that was widespread throughout the entire Roman empire. Hellenic kings had long since taken upon them¬ selves the title of Soter (saviour), which came from ancient oriental court ceremonial. Precisely at the time of Christ’s birth this title fell to Augustus, the hoped-for emperor of peace; at the same time the Egyptian Horus myth of the divine child converged with the image of the saviour. Genuinely Roman, yet already interwoven with messianic strands from the Roman Jewish com¬ munity, perhaps dating back to Horace, was the further association of the imperator with memories of the Golden Age, with the Age of Saturn. Thus the famous prophecy in Virgil’s Fourth Eclogue refers to Augustus: ‘Now the virgin returns, and with her the reign of Saturn, now a new generation descends from heaven. The child whose rule will end the iron age and bring back the golden age of the world, protect him, chaste Lucina, thy Apollo already rules. . .Behold the world is swaying on its shaken axis, the earth, the seas in their infinite expanse, heaven and its deep vault, how all nature trembles with hope of the coming ages (Aspice venturo laetantur ut omnia saecula).’* Even the word evangelium, in the new meaning of glad tidings which change everything, also exists outside Judea, but refers to the emperor, not to the king of the Jews. As in an altar inscription from Priene in Asia Minor, celebrating the birth of Augustus, not of Christ Jesus: ‘This day has given the world a new aspect, it would have been engulfed if a common joy for all men had not revealed itself in the new-born child. He judges right who sees in this birthday feast the beginning of life and of all life-forces for himself; at last the time when one had to regret being bom is over. Providence has endowed this man with such gifts that it has sent him to us and to coming generations as the soter; he will end feuding, will shape everything magnificently. The birthday of the god has ushered into the world the evangelia associated with him, from his birth a new era begins. ’ The strange ecstasy of such celebrations of the emperor’s birthday indicates what faith in miracles and redemption, what need for it was going around even in Christ’s time in the Roman empire. The peace and legal security which Caesarism, born out of anarchy, had brought are not enough to explain these exuberant tributes, especially as they by no means overlap with the later cult of the emperor. On the contrary, a strange sense of a new era, an imminent transi¬ tion, of the end of the Iron Age, was prevalent throughout the Roman empire. It is from here, too, and not only from the Mandaean prophecy (John the Baptist) that the liturgical form in Luke 2,14 rings out: ‘Glory to God in the * ‘Look to the future so that all generations may rejoice.’



highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’ And thirdly the year-god myth, an astral-mythically tinged expectation motif, completes this still external, merely general framework around Jesus. By no means the life but the death of Jesus now enters the framework of the year- or vegetation-god who descends and rises up again. The cult of this god was widespread in Asia Minor in Christ’s time, strongly mixed with Orphic-Dionysian images of Die and become. * There was lamentation and rejoicing over the Phrygian Attis, about the Babylonian-Phoenician Tammuz (the same who was to serve to make Joseph in the pit completely mythical); both are nature gods who flourish and disap¬ pear. At the beginning of spring a felled spruce-tree was set up in honour of Attis, wreathed with violets, decked out with the image of the god and swathed in bandages like a corpse; the fir-tree was carried at the head of a procession in the Roman Attis cult on 22 March (cf. Ed. Meyer, Geschichte des Altertums, I2, 1913, p. 724b). The start of spring and the summer solstice were here, in the Attis cult and that of Tammuz (hellenized to Adonis), combined or telescoped; the death rites were held on the first day of spring and two days later the resurrection feast was observed. Indeed the god who had fallen into distress was not only lamented but also mocked here: at least it is recorded that at the Persian Sacaean festival, which is connected with the calendar cult in Asia Minor, the dying year-god was played by a slave in royal robes who was given the title of Zoganes or by a criminal con¬ demned to death who was mockingly honoured as king. Hence, for example, the mocking of Christ by Roman soldiers (Matt. 27, 28f.): he is hailed as king of fools, with purple cloak, wooden sceptre, crown of thorns. Thus from the year-god mysterium came a mythical schema into which Christ’s death, his Good Friday, largely fitted. In this case in forms in which even the death on the cross, a real occurrence, even less impressive than the birth in a stable, enveloped itself with or combined with the ceremonies of a calendar-god. Yet as noted, with all these images of expectation, with Jewish unrest, Roman prophecy, near-Eastern year-god myth, the attempt to dissolve the historical Jesus into legend still does not succeed. On the contrary, the life and gospel of Christ contrast especially sharply and concretely with the generality of the framework of expectation, and even with the later cult-image gospel about Christ. Christianity was thus prevented from becoming such a pneumatic and theosophical religion as the neo-Docetism of the so-called Christ myth makes it into a mythologists’ religion. And finally, even more than the birth in a stable and the death on the cross, Christ’s influence as a person on his See Vol. I, pp. 309-10 and n.



disciples proves his reality. If Jesus were invented, if his person had only been interpolated later into the myth, then the earlier gospels would be imaginativespeculative and only the later ones historicist; yet the precise opposite is the case. Jesus undoubtedly appeared in a whole storm-light of myth, and this light was in himself, indeed even Mandaean apocalyptics, to which no Christmyth alludes, was more powerful than the three above-mentioned expecta¬ tions put together. But the founder of the religion, who animates and fills that which came together eschatologically around him from myths, towards the ‘fullness of time’, cannot himself be confused with nature gods. Least of all when his gospel is as alien as Moses to nature myth. Whether because vegetation merely provides parables for an utterly different seed or because the vault of heaven has space only for the clouds on which the Son of Man returns. But above all the account of the founder’s life, derived from the recollec¬ tion of so many witnesses, has no parallels in the legends and holy adventures of Attis, Mithras or even Osiris. The real figure of Jesus shows an aspect which is least inventible of all, because least expectable: shyness. This is seen in his early belief that he was only a preacher (Mark 1, 38), in the warded-off event of Caesarea Philippi of which he charges his apostles not to speak (Mark 8, 27ff.) and which makes the preacher into the Messiah. The stable at the beginning and the gallows at the end scarcely fitted into the legendary image of the saviour, but shyness is completely alien to it. Likewise the temptations and despondencies of Jesus are uninventible, they say Ecce homo, not AttisAdonis. His last, fearful supper, his despair in Gethsemane, his abandonment on the cross and his exclamations: they do not accord with any legend of the Messiahking, nor even with that of the suffering Messiah. The latter would not have gone through the agony of doubt, he would, like so many later martyrs, have derived a sense of fulfilment from the suffering. Indeed precisely the gnosticDocetic dissolution of Christ into pure logos, light, life and other hypostasis which is only beginning in the Gospel of St John would undoubtedly have succeeded completely if it had not been for the historical-real resistance which the person of Christ put up; a vegetation god would not have put up this resistance. Thus Christian faith more than any other lives from the historical reality of its founder, it is essentially the imitation of a life on earth, not of a cult-image and its gnosis. This real memory acted over the centuries: the imitation of Christ, however great the internalization and spiritualization, was primarily a historical and only as such a metaphysical experience. This concrete nature of Christ was important for his believers, it gave them, in stunning simplicity, what no cult-image or heavenly image could have given them. It made even heaven, in the sense of a merely baptized astral



myth, empty and flat. No Attis mystes, however many exercises in the visualization of his god he had performed, could have spoken as Thomas a Kempis did: ‘I would rather wander as a beggar on earth with you than possess heaven without you. Where you are is heaven and where you are not is hell and death’ (The Imitation of Christ, III). And finally, an absolutely decisive point, leading completely out of the general-mythic framework into the religious-philosophical Novum: if Christianity is not a baptized natural or astral heaven, it is equally not heaven as the throne-room ofYahweh. Jesus put himself as the Son of Man into this Above, is more precisely present in this superhumanization of his God than Zoroaster or Buddha. He did not put in existing man but the utopia of something humanly possible whose core and eschatological fraternity he exemplified in his life. God, who was a mythical periphery, became the humanly commensurate, humanly ideal central point, the central point at every place in the congregation which gathers in his name. This required a founder who was convincing, a founder in whom the word became flesh, tangible flesh, crucifixus sub Pontio Pilato. This required the uncounterfeitable delicacy of a hubris which presents itself with such calm assurance that it was not and is not even perceived as such. A man appeared here as simply good, this had never happened before. With a characteristic downward attraction, towards the poor and the despised, yet not at all condescending. With upward rebellion against above, unmistakable are the lashes of the whip against the money-changers and all ‘who afflict my people’. It is not long before the tables are turned and the last become first. Poverty is closest to salvation, wealth prevents it, inwardly and out¬ wardly. But poverty for Jesus certainly is not already a component of salvation, so that it does not need to be eliminated. Nowhere is poverty, ordinary, inflicted, wretched poverty, defended; only voluntary poverty is recom¬ mended, and this advice is given only to the wealthy, to the rich young man (Matt. 19, 21). The Son of Man certainly did not praise the fact that he had nowhere to lay his head. And even voluntary poverty is not seen as an end in itself, at least insofar as the recommendation to poverty is given and love does not choose the poor; more about this later. Remaining poor is seen as a means of preventing the stony heart, of promoting the brotherly community. This community, built on principles of love-communism, wants to have no rich members, but also no poor members in the forced, deprived sense. ‘Neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common’ (Acts, 4, 32), and the goods are collected from donations, sufficient for the brief period of time which Jesus had assigned the old earth. The words about the lilies of the



field* and the birds of the airj is certainly not economically naive, on the contrary is prudent in a visionary way. For if the feet of those who are to bury the world and its care are standing at the door, economic provision for the day after tomorrow becomes foolish. Equally the advice to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s (Mark 12, 17) teaches not acquiescence in the world, as St Paul later argues, but contempt; soon there will be nothing left of Caesar’s. The talent which must be turned to good account is only goodness or the inner treasure. This treasure is recovered by the imitation of a love which no longer wanted anything for itself, which is prepared to give its life for its brothers. Classical love was eros towards the beautiful, the brilliant, Christian love turns instead not merely to the oppressed and the lost but to the inconspicuous among them. Only this reverse movement of classical love makes the partiality for the poor an end in itself after all, precisely that which follows from their election, from the sojourn in the small. Jesus is himself present among the helpless, as an element of this humbleness, standing in the dark, not in brightness: ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me’ (Matt. 25,40). Christian love contains this inclination towards that which is inconspicuous in the eyes of the world, as an encounter with it, as the consternation of this encounter, it contains the pathos and the mystery of smallness. This is why the child in the manger becomes so important, along with the humbleness of all the circumstances in the out-of-the-way, cramped stable. The unexpected¬ ness of finding the redeemer as a helpless child constantly imparted itself to Christian love, most surely in the Franciscan order, which regards the helpless as important, that which is discarded by the world as called. This always bears in mind the adoration of the child and the search for the cornerstone which the builders have thrown away; devotion to the inconspicuous ultimately guides the reverse movement of this love and of its hearkening, its striking, its expectation of change in the side points, still points, anti-greatnesses of the world. Hence it is unparalleled in any previous moral religion, including the Jewish, despite ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself’ (Lev. 19,18) and the reception of Matt. 22, 39. Even the love of Buddha, who, as a rabbit, jumps into the fire to provide a beggar with a meal, does not lead towards the beggar, does not seek the divine in the helpless. If instead of the Three Kings Confucius, Lao Tzu and Buddha had set off from the East to the crib, only one of them, * Matthew 6, 28. ‘Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin.’ Cf. also Luke 12, 27. f Matthew 8, 20. ‘The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have their nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.’ Cf. also Luke 9, 58.



Lao Tzu, would have noticed this inconspicuousness of the Almighty, though he would not have worshipped it. But even he would not have noticed the stumbling block which Christian love represents in the world, in its old connec¬ tions and its hierarchies graded according to the power of rulers. Against the power of rulers Jesus is precisely the sign that contradicts, and precisely this sign was contradicted by the world with the gallows: the cross is the world’s answer to Christian love. To the love of the last who shall be first, of the rejected in whom the true light is gathered, of the joy which in Chesterton’s penetrating words was once the great publicity of a few pagans and became or will be the little secret of all Christians. To justify itself, this same world, using its pagan myths, later turned the death on the cross into a voluntary sacrifice, as if this had been Christ’s intention and not its own. As if this death had itself arisen from love and was, as Paul put it, the price which Jesus paid God to redeem men from sin. Jesus is not the Messiah although he died on the cross but because he died on the cross: thus Paul, who had not known Jesus, dialecticized the white terror. According to this view Yahweh also wanted Golgotha, he is not like Satan but like a creditor, only more dread¬ fully loving than any before him: he gives his own son to wipe out a debt which otherwise - given the commercial code of heaven - could not have been remitted. But the real Jesus died as a rebel and martyr, not as a paymaster; his loyalty to his followers unto death was never the will to this death. He hoped that the chalice would pass him by, and before the horrified eve of his death in Gethsemane only interpolated passages in his speeches indicate the cross and death, let alone baptism in the death of Christ. He prophesied to the apostles: ‘There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom’ (Matt. 16, 28); how much more surely the Son of Man ascends to heaven alive, like Enoch and Elijah. Subjectively and objectively the death on the cross came from without, not from within, from Christian love; it is the reward for the rebel of love and his catastrophe. It is the catastrophe for a Jesus who preached not an other world for the dead but a new heaven, a new earth for the living. A rebel against custom and the power of rulers died on the cross, a trouble-maker and loosener of all family bonds (Matt. 10, 34-37; 12, 48), a tribune of the last, apocalyptically protected exodus from Egypt. This is Christian love, a love which is almost micrological, one which gathers up its own in their out-of-the-wayness, their incognito to the world, their discordance with the world: into the kingdom where they accord. The particles and seeds of the new aeon contradict the old aeon of Herod and Rome, the power of all existing creation. Thus the rebellion was finally even more monstrous than the



day had thought, the Jewish as well as the Roman day. Jesus ultimately did not have in mind the restoration of the glory of David, nor even a national revolution on the narrow given scene. The destruction of the entire world was at hand according to the Mandaean preaching of John the Baptist (Matt. 3, 2-12) who had called Jesus. He took up this call, the hest-attested words of Jesus are eschatological, he really spoke, as in Mark 13, about the destruction of Jerusalem, of the temple, of the world of the old aeon. If Jesus had declared himself to be only the Messiah or son of God in the traditional, i.e. restorative sense, he would have been protected by the priestly caste and not denounced to the Romans; least of all would the High Priest Caiphas, against the will of the Procurator, have insisted on his death. For the claim to be the Messiah was not regarded before or after Jesus as a capital offence; only in his case was the passage in Lev. 24, 16 interpreted to mean that the Son of God was the blasphemer of God and therefore had to die (John 19, 7). Before this even Cyrus had been praised as a messiah king, then Serubabel, a leader of the Jews returning from Persia (Haggai 2, sff.); the messianic pretention as such was not unprecedented. After Jesus - of course in an utterly desperate period the great national hero Bar Kochba was proclaimed messiah by Rabbi Akiba, the highest priestly authority; so the messianic title itself was not always blasphemy. Only when the messiah did not remain entirely national, or, as a universal messiah, came into discord with the official church was he handed over to the Romans. Only when the messiah appeared as the Son of Man, in the pre-cosmic as well as the apocalyptic meaning of this title, when a natural catastrophe which also destroys Jerusalem and the temple was proclaimed as the instrument and evidence of his triumph, was he regarded as a blasphemer and worthy of death. In fact Caiphas understood Jesus correctly when he understood him eschatologically, more correctly than the unversed Pilate and all soft livers since, who saw in the love of Christ only peace, not the sword. Jesus is in fact eschatology through and through: and like his love his morality can only be grasped in relation to his kingdom. His advice not to worry about the next day, to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, is merely the beginning of what emerges quite positively in Christ’s moral precepts: demolition, release, morality of an advent world. It is morality as kingdom-preparing, as a function of prepara¬ tion for the kingdom which is close at hand; with the ethics of Christ, in the strict sense of the Sermon on the Mount, there is no arrangement in time, in continuing history, in secular society. The Sermon on the Mount is itself one of a period which has become purely adventist, and all these



ostensible quietisms make sense only on the morning threshold, a threshold believed to be reached, of something which has come close. Precisely for this reason the dawning kingdom of heaven in every case stands at the end of all the non-violent, violent beatitudes (Matt. 5,3-12) as their immediate justifica¬ tion. However, it is not the case, as extreme dualistic Lutheranism has argued, that Christ’s morality does not exist in time at all, is therefore not even a morality of advent, but exists wholly outside history. As if, with an absolute leap, the kingdom of Christ were never bom into time, but occurred abmptly, without any connection with history, after the expiry of time, after the expiry of the entire ocean of reality. On the contrary, Jesus preached of Kairos, of time which is fulfilled and which is consequently mediated by and through history; otherwise there would be no place for any kind of morality with a worldly connection whatever, not even a morality of immediate eschatology. However, the morality of the Sermon on the Mount, in its utter paradoxi¬ cality, bears no relation to any other morality, however steeped in religion; for it is the morality of the end of the world. As an advent morality it has not only disappeared in the compromise-moralities of churches designed for permanence but is even diluted in the social doctrines of heretical and sectarian Christianity; unless the latter, although exhausted, moved within waiting or else again believed in immediately imminent apocalypse. For all other forms of imitation of Christ, for a time, advent morality, as that of the world-limit, itself became a limit-ideal; this was the case even with Paul: ‘And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away’ (1 Cor. 7, 31). Jesus, however, as absolute release, teaches morality exclusively as that of final wakefulness: ‘Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning’ (Mark 13, 35). Every sowing here relates to the dreadful harvest-feast of the Book of Revelation; it is for this that the grain of faith, the fruit of works is brought in. The downward pull, the imitation of a love which is centrally assigned to those who labour and are heavy laden, the suppressed as a whole: all Jesus’ teachings and parables thus serve towards the formation of a community shortly before this day. And precisely that which is inconspicuous in the eyes of the world comes home here: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field. Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof’ (Matt. 13, 3if.). Jesus with his humanity enters, as everything that remains saved, into the kingdom, nobody and nothing else besides: only this vine and these branches form, in a total equation



of the founding with the content founded, the kingdom of God. The cosmos, not as worshipped, not as negatively-omitted, but as collapsing, becomes the instrument, indeed the location of the kingdom; only as the space of the servants is nature still existent. Or as the Apocalyptist, not far from Jesus’ meaning, says: ‘And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof’ (Rev. 21, 23). Christ’s glad tidings thus operated socially as Noah’s Ark, soteriologically as the arrival of the Son of Man, who was with God before creation and finally establishes a new creation. The glad tidings operated theologically as the abolition of absolute God-transcendence through Christ’s homousia, i.e. equality to God. It operated democratically and mystically as the perfection of the exodus god into the god of kingdom, the dissolution of Yahweh in this glory. The creator, indeed the Pharaoh in Yahweh fall away completely; he remains only as a goal, and the last Christ called only the community to be its building material and city. Jesus and the father; the serpent of paradise as saviour; the three wishful mysteries: resurrection, ascension, return / When a child overhauls in this way, the father finds it hard to hold his own beside him. His bodily father is treated as irrelevant, soon Joseph was denied, light impregnates from above. But even the heavenly father appears strange beside this son, he no longer thrones in solitary majesty. Jesus, because he is believed in as Yahweh’s mediator, becomes closer than he, indeed supplants him. The ambassador sent by God becomes the sender himself: ‘I and my Father are one’; ‘he that hath seen me hath seen the Father’;* ‘All things are delivered to me of my Father’ tions such as: ‘Why do you call me alone’, are rare, it is only when death and on the cross, that the father comes resignation and abandonment again

(Luke 10, 22). Dissocia¬

good’, - ‘No one is good but God is near, in the Garden of Gethsemane to the fore again as someone different; establish duality. Yet the death on

the cross, precisely because it was died so bitterly, added something to Jesus which makes Yahweh, the only good one, unauthoritative. Unauthoritative in the consciousness of the apostles, not by virtue of the doctrine of Christ’s sacrifice but by virtue of his proven loyalty and devotion unto death. For the Yahweh of Moses and the prophets could never suffer death; among the infinite qualities of his infinite goodness one, after all, was missing: devotion to the end. Logically only a mortal man could possess John 10, 30/John 14, 9.



and prove this, not a god immeasurably remote from and unassailable by fear of death and torment. The doctrine of Christ’s sacrifice itself turned against Yahweh at this point, utterly against the intention in it of explaining the cross away as a catastrophe. As a catastrophe not only of Christ but of the father himself, who, as the lord of this world which brought this death, could scarcely be distinguished from Satan. Essentially the doctrine of sacrifice belongs to theodicy, not Christianity, indeed since, as noted, it interprets Christ’s death as a real payment in terms of the Roman commercial code, it belongs to demonic jurisprudence, not religion. But if God the father sacrificed his son and caused the debt to be paid by him, it was the son alone who offered up himself, as high priest and sacrificial animal in one. He did, with the extremest value of love, that of which Yahweh, despite all his almightiness, not only all his goodness, is not capable; although the later doctrine taught the complete trinity, only the second person of the godhead offered himself up on the cross. A new god comes into being, one hitherto unheard-of, who gives his blood for his children, who, as word become flesh, is capable of suffering the fate of death in a completely earthly way, not merely in the ritual of the Attis legend. Here a man, through the hubris of complete devotion, overhauled every idea of God to date; Jesus becomes a love of God such as has never been conceived in any god. Hence the wonderful chorale in the ‘St Matthew Passion’: ‘When I one day must part, then do not part from me,/When death strikes in my heart, step forward then for me.’ From here too comes one of the finest passages in Paul, a transition with flying colours: ‘For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 8, 38f.). Who is not a lord like God: ‘Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people’ (Heb. 2,17), and more a son of man than ever any before God: ‘For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin’ (Heb. 4,15). So from the high priest’s position there was something in the accusation that Jesus was a blasphemer; and not only because Jesus predicted the destruc¬ tion of the entire old world aeon, predicted it with approval. This approval, and the sedition behind it, were enough for his condemnation, but the self¬ commitment of Christ in Yahweh came on top of this as an ultimate infamy. The Church has contrasted Jesus with the Old Testament only in terms



of the Law, according to the sentence: ‘For the Son of Man is Lord even of the sabbath day’ (Matt. 12, 8). Accordingly Christ’s believers are no longer subject to strict Mosaic law, the god of revenge no longer applies, the curtain of this temple was torn right through the middle; yet the contrast is far deeper, and it is softened only by the fact that it is not a contrast at all with the Old Testament as such, indeed in the most crucial place it turns back to it. But it turns back to a scene which in the Old Testament itself is full of meanings and concordances against Yahweh. Which always means: against Yahweh as Optimus Maximus, like other Jupiters, not against Yahweh as exodus god, as Eh’je asher eh’je. The decisive rebellious passage is to be found in the gospel of St John, which is almost wholly unhistorical, but the words of Jesus quoted in it, spoken to Nicodemus, stand in an age-old Jewish tradi¬ tion which was not attributed to Jesus only after the event. The passage, with its wealth of concordances, reads: ‘And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life’ (John 3, I4f.). Moses, however, had made a serpent of brass against the fiery serpents in the desert who killed the people, ‘and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived (Numbers 21, 9). Although this passage could also be inter¬ preted according to the rule of a mythical homeopathy, its contrast with the words of damnation spoken by the creator Yahweh of Genesis over the serpent and what it may stand for is plain. Likewise: Jesus is referring to the serpent, this snbtenanean-suhversive-healing creature. To the dialectical animal of the depths of the earth, from which simultaneously destructive gases and healing springs rise up, volcanoes and treasures. Jesus and an almost apocryphal passage in Moses refer to the serpent-cult of all peoples, with the double meaning which is inherent in it: the serpent is both an animal which creeps on the ground, monstrously devastating, hydra, python, typhon, the Babylonian dragon of the abyss, and it is the serpent of lightning, the high fire in the heavens. The serpent is both the arch-enemy, fought and defeated by Apollo, Siegfried, Michael, and the saviour-serpent around the staff of Aesculapius, the Egyptian serpent of Uraeus on diadems and on the sun, a magic sign to ward off hostile powers. The serpent-cult survived for a long time in Israel in particular, as its abolition by Hezekiah under¬ lines, who: ‘brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did bum incense to it’ (2 Kings 18, 4). Christ’s astonishing simile, which is an equation, referred only to the saviourserpent in the desert; yet at the same time and on top of this, beyond



the mere nature-mythic determinations of the pagan serpent-cult, it touched on a well-understood, utterly different, soon completely transvalued being contra the Yahweh of creation, the serpent of paradise itself. It was the Naassenes or Ophites (naas, ophis = serpent), undoubtedly a Jewish heretical sect long before they appeared as a Christian-gnostic sect around ioo a.d. who definitively carried through the transvaluation of the serpent ofparadise in rela¬ tion to Jesus, as the usurper of Yahweh. They interpreted the serpent of Genesis as the life-creating principle in the lower world, but not only in the world¬ preserving, therefore evil sense. The serpent of paradise is at the same time the symbol of world-exploding reason; for it teaches man to eat of the tree of knowledge, it announces to the first men a kingdom which is higher than that of their creator and the creator of the world. It teaches them to break the law of the demiurge in order by knowledge of salvation to become like that highest god who is not Yahweh and who was not proclaimed again until Jesus came - Eritis sicut Deus, scientes bonum et malum.* Because of this knowledge they believed that the wrath of the demiurge had fallen upon man, yet the Ophites and related sects such as the Cainites set down a line of fire throughout the Bible from the family of the slandered serpent of paradise, the rebel against Yahweh. It began, they said, with Cain, whose sacrifice the demiurge did not accept, but he accepted the bloody sacrifice of Abel, for the lord of this world delights in blood. It was in Esau, who did not receive the blind blessing of the blind Isaac, but when Jacob saw Esau again, it seemed to him ‘as though I had seen the face of God’ (Gen. 33, 10), the face of the true God. They thought that the serpent was in Moses, as the power in the rod which struck water from the rock, wholly in harmony with the murmur¬ ing of the children of Israel, and was the rod which changed into a serpent and destroyed the hostile serpents of the sorcerers, i.e. the gods of destruction. The same ones who later destroyed the children of Israel in the desert and against whom Moses erected the then white serpent, on the advice of the true God. The serpent of paradise was above all in Jesus, indeed he is its last, highest reincarnation; and again its head is crushed by Yahweh. The bishop Hippolytos gives a completely unequivocal account of this didactic play of the Ophites: ‘No one can be saved and rise up again without the son, who is the serpent. For as he brought the fatherly primal images from above, so he also carries up with him from here those aroused from sleep and those who have again taken on the character of the father (the true god). .. Just as the magnet attracts iron and nothing else, so the perfect generation, of the same ‘You will become like God, knowing good and evil.’ Cf. Genesis 3, 5.



nature, now become the image of god, and nothing else, is led back out of the cosmos by the serpent’ (cf. Leisegang, Die Gnosis, 1924, p. 146). What taught man to eat of the tree of knowledge thus remains the first manifestation of redeeming knowledge, which leads out of the garden of animals, indeed out of the dreadful paternal home of this world: the serpent of paradise is the caterpillar of the goddess of reason. Jesus therefore frees men from the dominion of the demiurge, the same demiurge of whom he says: ‘He was a murderer from the beginning’ (John 8, 44), and brings the revelation of the true god, of whom he says: ‘Your father which is in heaven’ (Matt. 7, 11). A titanism, a Promethean rebellion, was thus emphasized in the Bible again, but precisely in the Old Testament itself, of which the priestly version shows only traces. Yet these traces are present, they must have been unforgotten in Jewish folklore in Jesus’ time, and they were read as path-marks towards the messianism which was moving away from Yahweh anyway. Even the priestly version of the Bible has retained these titanisms, apart from the serpent of paradise Jacob’s struggle with the river-god, whom he defeats, belongs here (Gen. 32, 24E). Nephilim (giants) clearly appear before the Flood (Gen. 6, 4); the tower of Babel motif is rebellious against Yahweh, and so too not least are the sea-motifs (cf. Gunkel, Schopfung und Chaos, 1895, p. 9iff.), the legends of the rebellious ocean (Psalms 33, 7; 65, 7E; 104, 5-9; Job 38, 8-n; Prov. 8, 22-31; Jer. 5, 22; 31, 35; Jesus Sirach 43, 23). And later Jewish secret doctrine, fed from Gnosis but also from unextinguished folklore, certainly did not forget the strange connection between serpent and messiah, however much rebellion against the demiurge is diluted into rebellion against the common Satan. Nathan of Gaza, a pupil of the false messiah Sabbatai Zewi, published a treatise in around 1650: Derush hatamimim, A Treatise on Dragons (cf. Scholem, The Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, 1942, p. 292); it purports to be a commentary on a passage in the Sohar about the mystery of the ‘great dragon that lieth in the midst of his (Pharaoh’s) rivers’ (Ez. 29, 3). Nahash, the Hebrew word for snake, has the same numerical value as mashiach, messiah. The treatise explains this as follows: the soul of the messiah shone into the abyss, where the demonic forces dwell, since the beginning of creation it has been the ‘holy serpent’ among serpents. The soul of the messiah is tied to this prison, hence to Egypt, which is the world prison per se, with Pharaoh-Satan at its head; only with the advent of the kingdom of righteousness will the ‘holy serpent’ be freed and appear in a supraterranean form. This is how far a tradition went which associated the messiah with the saviour-serpent in the desert, among the Ophites with the tree of knowledge itself. And



the antithesis between Christ and Yahweh did not even reach its greatest sharpness among the Ophites; for the true God, according to them, also appeared in the Old Testament. The gnostic Marcion, in around 150 A.D., was the only one who attempted to wrench Ophis-Jesus from the Old Testament, in a radical-antithetical fashion. Jesus statement: ‘Behold, I make all things new’* was now interpreted against Yahweh in every form, even that of the exodus; Yahweh became Zoroaster’s Ahriman. But the new element was the new God, who was absolutely strange, about whom before Christ no tidings had ever come to man; thus the great Logion was interpreted, as a governmental decree by Christ: ‘No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither the Father knoweth any man, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him’ (Matt. 11, 27). Marcion, who saw himself as the completer of the antithetical Paul, connected this pronouncement of Christ’s most closely with Paul’s sermon in Athens on the theos agnostos, the unknown God;t but in such a way that the ambassador of this God tore people away precisely from the creator of the world, whom Paul and even more the later Church identified with the father of Christ. Marcion thus represents the most powerful idea of anti-Yahweh, in favour of Christ as the total Novum or paradox in Yahweh’s world. But while Marcion burns all his bridges with the Old Testament, he himself is standing on this bridge, together with the Ophites. In other words, Marcion comes not only from Paul, he also comes from Moses, the true or strange God dawns in the exodus God, between Egypt and Canaan. However he certainly does not dawn in the creator of the world, in this opulent mythology of the past. From the Egyptian Ptah, from the Babylonian Marduk, this mythology had made the eh’je asher eh’je the beginning, even the well-pleased beginning; against this not only Jesus but the utopia of messianism as a whole was in opposition. It will be recalled that even the prophets seldom mentioned Yahweh as the creator of the world, but all the more emphatically they referred to a new heaven, a new earth. Job’s complaints were directed entirely against Yahweh as the ruler of the world, together with the hope that a ‘blood-avenger’ would live, that an exodus would come. The apocalyptist Jesus is steeped from top to bottom in this exodus-idea; thus he was seen as being together with the serpent of paradise, not with the God of those who, like their God himself, found that everything in the world was good. The appearance of the founder therefore certainly did not seem anything * Revelation 21, 5. t Cf. Acts 17, 23.



like as meek as it was later presented. The humble were to be raised up, the cross was to be smashed, not to be carried or to become the thing itself. Jesus’ shyness, indisputable and self-obstructing, disappeared after the experience of the transfiguration, which was also hallucinated by his apostles, and only they were sore afraid (Matt. 17, 2-6). From this point on, external obscurity, his instructions to the apostles in Caesarea Philippi that they were to tell no one he was Christ, no longer applied (Matt. 16, 20). The deepest Humanum-commitment into heaven was proclaimed, the subjective factor of Christ-likeness inherited the transcendental factor, the glory of God became the apocalyptical glory of Christ and his followers. And thus utterly new religious matter was created - not for the sacrifice on the cross, which is and remains a theodicy of the world-creator, worldruler, but for the triumphant image of the tribune behind the death on the cross. ‘Abide with us, for it is toward evening’ (Luke 24, 29): thus for the apostles the presence of Christ had not ended even on the way to Emmaus, thus the wishful mysteries of resurrection, ascension and return came into being. Consequently this second eschatology, the Christianity of this after-gleam as fore-gleam, started out only from the empty tomb, only with the ascension did the Son of Man fulfil eternity, only with the return was the advent-consciousness of the first followers stretched to that of all later followers. The real memory of Jesus after his death necessarily established dimensions of hope unlike those of any previous founder. If anyone, then he for his believers had to be the first of those who sleep and are awoken. If anyone, then he had to go up towards heaven, not ennobled like Hercules, like Elijah, who are distant and removed, but as an anchor of hope which takes men with it. If anyone, then Jesus had to return, to fulfil the kingdom of man: ‘Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised’ (Heb. 10, 23). Until that return itself the evangelist appointed yet another representative: the mysterious paraclete. He is the only sign that although Jesus guaranteed to the apostles his return, the Last Judgement and the kingdom, he did not guarantee the entire future till that return. This, however, is a continuing influence of Christ which contrasts with him, but in such a way that here too the religion of Jesus gave it colour and direction. The word paraclete, as we have already seen in the case of its counterpart the Saoshyant in Zoroaster, means helper, comforter, adviser; true, he appears as such only in the frequently inter¬ polating Gospel of St John, but here as the promise of Christ himself: ‘And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever’ (John 14, 16). With these astonishing



words, Jesus posits himself only as a first comforter and not as eternal; the evangelist has backdated the catastrophe of the cross into Jesus’ knowledge. And an interpretation different from that of the sacrificial death on the cross now arises, one which as it were raises messianism above the dying Messiah and embodies him anew for the period of advent: ‘Never¬ theless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.. .Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come’ (John 16, 7 and 13). These dark, brief intimations of the evangelist imply that the Novum of the paraclete is primarily that he does not talk of himself, is simply a proclaimer of what he hears. Such passivity could indicate an angel, insofar as the angels of the Christian era are exclusively messengers, with no actual will or content of their own; but the paraclete is also called a ‘spirit of truth’, who leads into all truth. And ‘spirit of truth’ is not the category of an angel but rather the category and translation of the Persian Vohu mano, who appears with the last Zoroaster, with the Saoshyant of the end of the world. Thus the idea of the paraclete does after all contain something different from the mere presence of a comforter until the return of Christ; the return itself is designated as the ‘spirit of truth’. Indeed in the paraclete Jewish messianisms which are still power¬ fully alive are more effective than Persian ones: the belief in the Messiah who had appeared in turn contained that in the one who had not yet appeared. Yet always determined and clothed by the appearance of Christ and by the governing category of his return: the ‘spirit of truth’ thus became the Holy Ghost, together with the Son. Thus this advent of the Holy Ghost only now becomes the true advent of the Son; the essence of Christ from here on consequently appeared to the believers in the paraclete in a different, definitive form, and it is only this form, not the Jesus of the New Testament, who speaks the authentic - password, and with it the irresistible turning of the world towards kingdom. Or in the language of the Ophites: the serpent of paradise reveals its sophia for the third time in the paraclete, and its head is no longer crushed. Thus even the Church Father Tertullian regarded Jesus and the New Testament just as much as an early stage and perfectible as the Old Testament was perfectible. In Tertullian’s writings the fulfiller is the paraclete, towards him Adam, Moses and Jesus are related, it is only in him that the ‘ultima legislatio’ into ‘libertatem perfectam’ occurs. It is easy to find the connection between this conception of the paraclete



and medieval chiliasms, and especially its connection with Joachim of Fiore and his teaching of the Third Kingdom (see Vol. II, p. 509ff.). Here, too, the return of Christ is not the return of the same Christ who appears in the New Testament; for the age of the Holy Ghost is no longer that of conviction and promise. The paraclete no longer speaks of himself, he posits the reality in which inwardness has become spiritual outwardness. The paraclete thus becomes the utopia of the Son of Man, who is no longer utopia, because the kingdom is present. Now all this does not break out of homesickness for Christ, on the contrary, precisely the essence of Christ is repeated in heightened form in the comforter who has become the Holy Ghost. The pneuma that came over the apostles at Pentecost was, the apostles believed, poured forth by Christ, by the Christ of the Ascension: ‘Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear’ (Acts 2, 33). According to the ecstasy interpretation, the ascended Christ, even here, did not receive the Holy Ghost himself, but only the promise of him; just as the speaking in tongues of the pneumatic apostles merely projects like a halffinished hieroglyph into the truth of the kingdom. Yet this promise of the spirit certainly was fulfilled for the upper Christ, which is why the fulfilment or parusia of the spirit, however explosively it may have been conceived, always appeared to Christianity according to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4, 13). Even among the Chiliasts, the wishful mystery of the return always held to the figure who for them had ascended into heaven. Christ, the founder, even in view of the paraclete, thus became the triumphant content of salvation; as such he therefore incorporated the paraclete of the future within himself, as he incorporated the God of the past within himself. And as, not only in the teachings of the historical Jesus but even more emphatically in the three wishful mysteries of the believed Christ, the eschaton of the kingdom forms the unity of the goal, so in relation to this Jesus, for his apostles, himself became this future element, like everything that is affected by the kingdom. Jesus as return, according to the images of the Daniel apocalypse (Dan. 7,13f.) represented by himself, the Son of Man riding on the clouds of heaven, accordingly takes part in the leap into the Novum. The power function and magnification function of homesickness, with the leap of the Novum, totally transformed itself into the Utterly Different: the Christ of the wishful mysteries thus lives completely behind an exploding, on the eschatological plan. And the kingdom, finis ad quern omnia, precisely for this very reason does not leave one stone of the old on top of the other, not a stone of the temple, but not one of Zion either. Hence everywhere the



changing of names (which in the Orient signify the essence): ‘The Lord God shall slay thee, and call his servants by another name’ (Isaiah 65, 15); ‘To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth’ (Rev. 2, 17). And again in the Old Testament, that of the exodus-Yahweh, not of the creator-Yahweh, it even says of Zion: ‘And thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name’ (Isaiah 62, 2). Christ’s resurrection from the dead has no analogy in the history of religion, but the apocalyptic transformation of the world into something as yet completely inexistent is not even hinted at outside the Bible. And by virtue of the exclusive relation of this absolute Novum or omega to human content, the mysticism of heaven becomes the mysticism of the Son, the glory of God becomes that of the redeemed community and of its place. In Christian mysticism, above all in Eckhart, precisely this was therefore thought of as nothing other than the fulfilled moment of us all, as its - Nunc stans to the kingdom. This is religious protesta¬ tion, no longer relating to the self as to something unrevealed and no longer relating to sursum corda as to a hypostatized Above in which man is not found: Eritis sicut Deus is the glad tidings of Christian salvation.

Fanaticism and submission to Allah’s will: Mohammed Where only one flag is the right one, choosing ceases. The fanatical founder establishes his religion sternly, without wavering, he can do no other. Knows only believers and infidels, the lukewarm is spat out of his mouth. The excluding, the intolerant in the best sense: all this comes from Moses, there is only El, the goal. The other gods are nothings in terms of their power and their Who, even if the fact that they exist is not yet denied. But they ought not to exist, and certainly ought not to be worshipped beside the God who leads out of Egypt. They are golden calves or devils, with them there can be no peace. The possibility did not yet exist that a believer, when he gave up his idols, then became an out and out unbeliever. As may happen with today’s missions, when with the belief in the old gods all belief is destroyed. On the contrary, the magic of the henotheistic God, the only one who is God, was downright enhanced by the shattering of the magic of the idols. This was how Moses operated when he outdid the Egyptian magicians, this was the case with Elijah, with Boniface when he knocked down the Irminsul and Odin did not have the



strength to unleash a thunderbolt.* Elijah speaking of Baal sounds almost like an enlightenment philosopher, he mocks the priests of Baal much as Voltaire mocked the sanctimonious priests of the church: ‘Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked’ (1 Kings 18, 27). But mockery of Baal is a profession of faith in Yahweh, hatred of nature gods is a profession of faith in a god who refutes them as demons or - at a later stage - includes them as confused prefigurations within himself. Tolerance in the style of the eighteenth century arose only from religious indifference as a whole; living faith knows tempations, seductions, even - inheritances, but no choice. ‘You who worship the infinite creator of the universe, you call him Jehovah or God, you call him Fu or Brahma’; thus the liberal opening of Mozart’s sublimely mild cantata on the infinite creator of the universe. But the kyrie in the Mass in B minor includes the whole world in the call for the redeemer, for a Christ without a replaceable name: seriousness of faith is orthodoxy. Is healthy monomania, even when the form of existence of the One who is believed has passed from being an untenable possession to an unrelenting direction. Ever since Moses gave the signal for the One, it has been easy to understand why henotheistic and then monotheistic religions have become the missionary religions per se. More than all others they have allied themselves with the ideology of winning markets and of conquest, but they have also brought into the world the fanaticism of dying for one’s faith, as a soldier or as a martyr. Fanaticism as an element of faith is found only in the two religions which started out from Moses, in Christianity and Islam. Warlike intolerance (certainly not rejected by Jesus, who had come to start a fire in the world and wished that it was already burning) has as its paragon Moses, who smashed the golden calf. The subject here does not yet overtake his god, but he feels so strongly that he is his champion that the wrath of God burns from his eyes; Moses was acting in Mohammedan fashion when he destroyed the golden calf. The subject here accomplishes the will of God in such a way that in inactivity, in passive times and beneath the blows of fate submission to God’s will remains, but even this peculiar, passionate, typically Islamic submission primarily presupposed the union of God’s will with the monomania of God’s champion. The religion of Mohammed was called Islam, submission, yet the profession of this submission here more than anywhere else meant fierce jihad, holy war. Thus fanaticism begins * St Boniface, 680-755, the ‘Apostle of the Germans’ who converted the pagans in Hessen, according to legend, by felling the great oak tree of Geismar near Fitzlar, sacred to the pagan god of thunder. Boniface was born in Devon.



with Moses, it thrives in the conquest of Canaan, together with its own kind of submission it becomes the one and all of early Islam. Religious war well and truly entered the world with Islam; Adonai echod, Allah il Allah, God is One, with this cry the subject attains the greatest one-sidedness, the fiercest for the intended purpose. The Mohammedan glad tidings themselves are not original, they trail far behind Christ’s powerful storming of heaven, but they took the passion out of the Bible, passion absolutely in the sense of fervour, not of suffering. The path upwards is rugged here, only the man can endure it. Mohammed started out as a warner about the coming judgement, he certainly did not immediately appear as a saviour. Visions and voices came upon this man, who was both powerful and epileptic, the dreams of the night changed into appearances in the flesh by day. Ancient Arabian religion had worshipped stone fetishes, sand-storm spirits and rain-gods from the desert and the period in the desert. For the trading towns in which Mohammed appeared this time was a long way back in the past, but on the other hand Jewish influence was strong. And Mohammed’s first concern, as he said, was to restore the pure religion of Abraham. But in an Arabia of pleasure-seeking merchants and expansion by land-owners, the prophet of victory did not preach among desert tribes. A founder of almost unbroken creatureliness. According to a legend recorded by Gibbon and possible only in Islam, Mohammed’s disciple Ali cried out before his master’s corpse: ‘O propheta, o propheta, et in morte penis tuus coelum versus erectus est.’* And the virility of this founder is confirmed by the fact that his most important relic is the weapon, his sword, al Fehar, known as the flashing one, which is preserved to this day. Allah, however, is the war-god Zebaoth, he brings out his knights-templar for the imminent world-judgment, religion is submission to Allah’s will, but precisely war-like fanaticism of submission. And as if called precisely for this purpose, these menacing glad tidings served an order of knighthood that had to create the routes for the expansion of rising mercantile capital. The green flag was soon flying quite homogeneously over a storm of trade, war and religion. Islam ruled the mercantile empire which spans the period between the decline of the West Roman Empire and the rise of Venice, almost of England, it even became the original for all types of expansionist ‘God wills it’, from the crusades to Cromwell. It was primarily its closeness to creature which made Islam suitable for this unity of expansion and mission; unlike Christianity, it did not need ecclesiastical sophistry in order to serve God and O prophet, o prophet, in death your penis is erect and pointing at the sky.



Mammon at the same time. But above all God and his military service at the same time: ‘The war of religion is the monastic order of Islam’, says a decree of the prophet. Even Mohammed’s farewell speech gave the command for a crusade against the Byzantines, and during the war of succession Caliph Ali had the Koran tied to his spears. The same Koran, i.e. reading, which Mohammed claimed to have deciphered from the one kept in heaven (Sura 96): on the spears this reading became anything but contemplation. Islam defined its heyday as the ‘holding on to the stirrup of the prophet’, thus it was only in the period of decline that this submission to Allah’s will became soft, mere letting things happen. And the conversion of the infidels by fire and sword was allied, if necessary for political reasons, with a tolerance which was not exactly written on Islam’s birth certificate: payment of tribute made the conversion of the subjugated unnecessary. And in an Islam which had stabilized to become a church and then become petrified, intolerance could only react dogmatically, i.e. itself become a stabilizing force, against innova¬ tors and philosophers. However, both within and beyond the church, i.e. in the rebellious sectarian movements and in the eschatological mysticism of Islam, the teaching never allowed ‘renewal’, ‘deliverance’ (fukan), in accordance with the earliest Meccan suras, to be forgotten. The prophet thus became, again and more intensively - more intensively until the last one ‘guided rightly’ (mahdi) - messianic, thus the memory of his first appearance lives on: as the warner, the ambassador of the judgement. Above all the religious landscape which Islam broke into also exerted its influence, only a few centuries after Mani: that of Zoroaster, of the Mandaeans, of the south Johannite church. This landscape showed the Islamic mission an ambassador who fought not only against infidels on earth but against Ahriman throughout the entire world, and as a power of light, not only as a prophet. With him Mohammed moved close to the first Adam, the son of man, whose pre-existence before the world, whose revelation after the world was believed by Persians, Mandaeans, Jews, Christians. The Koran had made the angels fall down before the first or heavenly Adam (Sura 2, 28 and 32) and Mohammed now merged with him. He now appears to the mystics as ‘the first heavenly light, created from white pearl, surrounded by veils’. And like the Mahdi, beside him or in him, the paraclete lives in Islam, now as a holy wanderer, now as the mystery of an association of which Mohammed is not yet the end. The other person beside Mohammed, or rather his own authentic figure now appears, the legendary Arab figure of the Chidr or al Chadir: he was regarded by later Islam as the most mysterious saint. Unrecognized, he cease¬ lessly prepares men for the Day of Judgement, is the guardian of the chiliastic



impulse, ‘Chidr, the eternally greening, never-tiring wanderer, who through the centuries and the millennia roams over lands and seas, the teacher and counsellor of devout people, the one who is wise in the things of God, the immortal one’ (Hymn of the Loyal Brothers of Basra). The legend of Chidr is documented only from the ninth century onwards, in commentaries on the 18th sura, which is about the Cave of the Seven Sleepers, but its origin is far older, its content far more sleepless. Chidr is the eschatological spirit who after the disappearance of Mohammed both remains and comes. In the West he was falsified into Ahasuerus, into a mere miracle of punishment, but his place in the Bible is not with the shoemaker of Jerusalem (whose inconspicuousness he does, however, share) but definitely with the paraclete. A gleam of John also shines over this profoundest figure in Mohammedan mysticism, a gleam of the apostle whom Jesus wanted to tarry till he came (John 21, 23). But what, finally, with so much war-religion, of this messianic end? - ought it not to be an eternal Valhalla rather than a Sabbath? Precisely because of the difference between fanaticism and berserkery, that which in Islam may correspond to the kingdom is simply joy, peace, rest. Yet in such a way that passion is not cancelled out, but perfected; as the green of the plant of life in the garden of Allah after the end of the world. For this Day of Judgement, that it may become a day for the just, for this the Koran, received at night, is to be the glad tidings, the military-moral glad tidings: ‘We revealed the Koran on the night of glory. Do you know what the night of glory is? The night of glory is better than what can be achieved in a thousand months. On that night the angels and the Spirit come down at the Lord’s bidding, with his decrees. That night is peace, till dawn breaks’ (Sura 97). Allah is the password of this victory; Sufi mysticism even compared Allah with ‘the joy of love after victory in battle’ (Tholuck, Suufismus, 1821, p. 304). Victory at this end transfigures all creation and nature; the union of all those that are good with Allah seals his unity.

III. The Core of the Earth as Real Extra-territoriality The road of the non-existent What For The drive upwards at last becomes a drive forwards. The situation of most people ought to be enough to make this easy and self-evident. But



even today most people find it less easy to discover what and where the light is. It seems most difficult of all really to go into what is right, on the true road. And even this road leads astray if the What For, the good whole, is not constantly considered along with the Where To. This whole is in the people who walk this path and in the route which the path itself takes. But it does not exist as something which has appeared and been reached but only as humanly willed and historically laid out; thus to be well-founded this good whole must also be trusted in. It takes schooled hope, i.e. trust in the day during the night, to believe in this unappeared something more easily than in what is visible. This attitude is not refuted, only corrected, by setbacks (they are a thousand times more numerous than victories). The will in this attitude is just as much theoretically directed to the whole which circulates in all partial movements as it is practically directed to the whole; in this definitiveness it is necessarily presumptuous. If the person fighting for higher wages does not also have the will that the society forcing him to fight only for wages should disappear then he will achieve nothing substantial even in the wage dispute. And if a human being already considers himself a human being, unalienated and the crown of his creation, just as soon as the miserable society has at last been changed, then he does not take what for him has not yet become substantially enough. Especially as the Babbitt which capitalist society has produced on such a wide scale is not yet simply overcome by electric refrigerators for all; for even in communist societies there are bourgeois conformists. Men can want to be brothers even without believing in the father, but they cannot become brothers without believing in the utterly unbanal contents and dimensions which in religious terms were conceived through the kingdom. With a faith which, in its knowledge, as this knowledge, has now destroyed all the illusions of mythical religion. But even the most clearly visible goal in the unresting, moving context of a society which is beginning to become classless cannot be attained unless the subject overshoots the goal. The great religious teachers, in their ground of intention - one not exhausted by all its illusory elements - felt that men were called to the utterly unheard-of, everything was related to this. Only mumbling priests have made this Too-much of the non-existent into the Too-little of the existent and defended it, but they were mumbling priests, not stumbling-blocks, senders to sleep, not wakers. They were the first to make the Christian religion into opium for the people, they were the first to project the infinite worth of man which the Bible taught into the other world, utterly into the other world, where it no longer bites and does not harm earthly worthlessness. They quoted the just distribution



of supernatural goods as the compensation for the unjust distribution of earthly goods; by this the shorn lamb was comforted. They confined the hugely preached claims of what is commensurate with us in an other-world in order to keep them away from this world. They made religion into fixed images of the other-world instead of fermentingly this-worldly images, inciting to full existence, keeping the will to it awake. The path goes beyond the mumbling priests but not beyond the religion through which belief is sustained, for this belongs to the path, as courage and supremest wakefulness. It is the attitude by which knowledge of future things is not only grasped but also willed and carried out in the face of faint-hearted or short-sighted doubtings. And the religion which is itself believed, i.e. religion as content, is also valid here, though in highly corrected form, namely as the religion of knowledge of what is germinating, of what is still unfinished in the world. The latter religion certainly does not conflict in any conceivable way with knowledge, but nor is it redundant beside it, because it expresses in accordance with content that the essential itself certainly is not yet spilled out before our eyes. As the best is still under way, it must also be trusted in order that it may succeed.

Inavertible and avertible fate, or Cassandra and Isaiah It is certainly impossible to act when the outside is open on all sides. For then everything is possible, which is the same as saying that all life becomes un¬ predictable, therefore sinister, like ghosts. Yet at least in these circumstances something could still be dared; this is what the knight did, when adventures drew him precisely to where something strange seemed to be going on. However, even the daring act, precisely this, becomes impossible where nothing is possible any more but the inavertible, which is fate in the true sense of the word. Even the Greeks, so open and fearless in many ways, attested to this spell, as can now again be discussed here. The feeling of fate is anyway based first of all on the unfathomed and the uncontrolled in the forces of nature and then of society. The actual belief in fate may be attached to subterranean forces (Tyche, the Fates), but in its developed form it presupposes above all astral myth, one in which man is not found. Accordingly man cannot summon up any movement of his own against that of the stars and against their spell. In the ancient orient, fate is entirely astrally determined, by the position of the planets, sun, zodiac; Chaldean astrology merely elaborated what started in Babylon but was typical of



the entire culture area at the time. The uninfluenceable stars not only show but form and figure uninfluenceable fate, which can merely be deciphered or interpreted; the God Enlil, custodian of the ‘tablets of history’, follows his course north of the celestial equator. And the Greeks, whose gods wore human and not astral form, in return allowed Moira, fate, to rule even over the gods. Admittedly there is the passage in Homer in which Zeus justifies himself in the face of mankind’s complaints, declaring: ‘They cry that all evil comes from us, and yet/The fools create their own misery for themselves, contrary to fate’ (Od. I, 33f.), but doom, as the legend of Oedipus shows, rolls on even without guilt, it rolls on mechanically, as it is released, and thus inexorably. And in the face of fate the gods themselves have only one advantage over man - that they know fate; they have foreknowledge of what Moira has decreed, but it is powerless. With this knowledge, Hermes can warn Aegisthus and prophesy his end, no more; Zeus himself becomes a powerless spectator when Sarpedon, his own son, by a decree of fate is run through by the sword of Patroclus. The fall of Troy was already known as an accomplished fact by Cassandra, who shared with the gods the gift of knowing fate. It was already deter¬ mined before Paris was born, before Helen had been stolen by him, before the war had even begun; no atonement by the Trojans, who were com¬ pletely innocent anyway, could avert their fall. This is Moira, a being that sits blindly on every action, driving it on so closely and with such immense weight that it shatters. The Greeks believed that it came from a different order than that of their gods; even with the older, matrilineal order of earth- and night-gods fate was only loosely connected as the daughter of the night. For this connection fate lacked all goodness and all mercy, it lacked the womb in the grave, the homecoming in the pre-ordered. Moira is the absolutely inavertible in disparateness; before it not only the reason stands still but the blood freezes. It is futile to act in these circumstances, even if one is free to take the first step. Only the Greeks could endure this Moira of theirs, for only they had enough surface power to push the abyss away from them. The people before this abyss are not instruments of a divine will, neither Oedipus nor Cassandra can do anything, let alone change anything. Fate itself is not a will, not even to this extent is it mediated, and to assert itself or even simply to bring itself on to the scene Moira needs no instruments. Or at least none which have to carry out anything independently or even under instructions: precisely the irony of Greek fate shows how little the nature or direction of human action matters here. This utterly demonic element - or rather



not even demonic, because it is too uninterestedly mechanical for this distinguishes Moira from apparently similar ideas which are to be found on biblical ground or near it: from Mohammed’s kismet and Calvin’s predestina¬ tion. The latter both have as their subject a god who is defined as good and both make the spell operate for an ultimately good, an absolutely unquestion¬ ably good end. It is a decree, even if an inscrutable one,* and a direction, even if a highly superior one. And here the complete opposite of the extra-biblical belief in fate and of the quietism which it ultimately endorses is not to be found in doctrines of powerlessness. It emerges definitively only in the Bible itself, in the relation of the Israelite prophets to Cassandra and to what is connected with her. The antithesis at the same time shows how much the open space which messianism represents changes the believed god even with regard to what he decrees. For now that which is decreed, or fate, is no longer in any way tyrannical to man, as in the case of Moira and also of astral myth. On the contrary, fate now definitely can be averted: above all others, Isaiah teaches that it is dependent on human morality and its resolve. This is the active anti¬ thesis to the Greek seer, to the merely passive-despondent vision of Cassandra above all: fate in the Bible hangs in the balance, and the finally decisive weight is man himself. Of course, not in all the prophets and not even everywhere in Isaiah is fate regarded as morally avertible. Sometimes even here coming disaster is regarded as definitive, already hanging from heaven on iron chains: atonement then means remorseful willingness to accept punishment. But inexorable fate, which for the Greeks was the rule, is the exception in the Bible; p