Goethe Etc.: Goethe-Schiller Friendship Once More
ters one and three take up for Goethe and Schiller respectively their general the very intimate relation of comedy to the life from which .. To help his friend. When Schiller came to Weimar in , Goethe dismissively considered Schiller . in the late s, and even then only with the help of Karl Reinhold ( ). Plants were classified according to their relation to each other into species. The quotes are there because the relationships were not really personal ones, as in the case of Goethe and Schiller, but of literary influence.
But it is clear that there are philosophical reasons besides these practical ones. Only through the interplay of these oppositions, which Rousseau never came to recognize, could one attain classical perfection.
Although educated in a basically Leibnizian-Wolffian worldview, it was Spinoza from whom Goethe adopted the view that God is both immanent with the world and identical with it. While there is little to suggest direct influence on other aspects of his thought, there are certain curious similarities.
Both think that ethics should consist in advice for influencing our characters and eventually to making us more perfect individuals. And both hold that happiness means an inner, almost stoically tranquil superiority over the ephemeral troubles of the world. Yet Goethe only came to read him seriously in the late s, and even then only with the help of Karl Reinhold While he shared with Kant the rejection of externally imposed norms of ethical behavior, his reception was highly ambivalent.
The critique of reason was like a literary critique: Scientific Background and Influence Goethe considered his scientific contributions as important as his literary achievements. But court life in Weimar brought Goethe for the first time in contact with experts outside his literary comfort zone. His directorship of the silver-mine at nearby Ilmenau introduced him to a group of mineralogists from the Freiburg Mining Academy, led by Johann Carl Voigt His discovery of the intermaxillary bone was a result of his study with Jena anatomist Justus Christian Loder Increasingly fascinated by botany, he studied the pharmacological uses of plants under August Karl Batsch at the University of Jena, and began an extensive collection of his own.
He has alternately been received as a universal man of learning whose methods and intuitions have contributed positively to many aspects of scientific discourse, or else denounced as a dilettante incapable of understanding the figures— Linnaeus and Isaac Newton—against whom his work is a feeble attempt to revolt.
Positivists of the early twentieth century virtually ignored him. Plants were classified according to their relation to each other into species, genera, and kingdom. The problem for Goethe was two-fold. Although effective as an organizational schema, it failed to distinguish organic from inorganic natural objects. And by concentrating only on the external characteristics of the plant, it ignored the inner development and transformation characteristic of living things generally.
Goethe felt that the exposition of living objects required the same account of inner nature as it did for the account of the inner unity of a person. But whereas their versions dealt with the generation and corruption of living beings, Goethe sought the common limitations imposed on organic beings by external nature. But he only fully lays out the position as an account of the form and transformation of organisms in the Zur Morphologie.
In the plant, for example, this determination of each individual member by the whole arises insofar as every organ is built according to the same basic form.
As he wrote to Herder on May 17, Any way you look at it, the plant is always only leaf, so inseparably joined with the future germ that one cannot think the one without the other. Through the careful study of natural objects in terms of their development, and in fact only in virtue of it, we are able to intuit morphologically the underlying pattern of what the organic object is and must become. The morphological method is thus a combination of careful empirical observation and a deeper intuition into the idea that guides the pattern of changes over time as an organism interacts with its environment.
While the visible transformations are apparent naturalistically, the inner laws by which they are necessary are not. To do that, the scientist needs to describe the progressive modification of a single part of an object as its modification over time relates to the whole of which it is the part. Polarity between a freely creative impulse and an objectively structuring law is what allows the productive restraint of pure creativity and at the same time the playfulness and innovation of formal rules.
But rather than a fanciful application of an aesthetic doctrine to the nature, Goethe believed that the creativity great artists, insofar as they are great, was a reflection of the purposiveness of nature.
As with a plant, the creative forces of life must be guided, trained, and restricted, so that in place of something wild and ungainly can stand a balanced structure which achieves, in both organic nature and in the work of art, its full intensification in beauty.
The early drafts of Torquato Tasso begun in the sfor example, reveal its protagonist as a veritable force of nature, pouring out torrential feelings upon a conservative and repressed external world. By the time of the published version inthe Sturm und Drang character of Tasso is polarized against the aristocratically reposed and reasonable character of Antonio.
Only in conjunction with Antonio can Tasso come into classical fullness and perfection. As the interplay of polarities in nature is the principle of natural wholeness, so is it the principle of equipoise in the classical drama.LITERATURE - Goethe
Only from the polarized tension does his drive to self-formation achieve intensification and eventually classical perfection. I take no pride in it At the same time, it was the source of perhaps his greatest disappointment. Like his work on morphology, his theory of colors fell on mostly deaf ears. Thus, while Goethe esteems Newton as a redoubtable genius, his issue is with those half-witted apologists who effectively corrupted that very same edifice they fought to defend.
The refraction of pure white light projected at a prism produces the seven individual colors. Pragmatically, this allowed Newton to quantify the angular bending of light beams and to predict which colors would be produced at a given frequency.
That frequency could be calculated simply by accounting for the distance between the light source and the prism and again the distance from the prism to the surface upon which the color was projected.
But by reducing the thing itself to its perceptible qualities, the Newtonians had made a grave methodological mistake. The derivative colors produced by the prismatic experiments are identified with the spectrum that appears in the natural world. But since the light has been artificially manipulated to fit the constraints of the experiment, there is no prima facie reason to think that natural light would feature the same qualities. Effects we can perceive, and a complete history of those effects would, in fact, sufficiently define the nature of the thing itself.
The colors are acts of lights; its active and passive modifications: A light beam is no static thing with a substantial ontological status, but an oppositional tension that we perceive only relationally. Through careful observation of their interplay alone do we apprehend color. Color arises from the polarity of light and darkness.
Darkness is not the absence of light, as both Newton and most contemporary theorists believe, but its essential antipode, and thereby an integral part of color. Through a series of experiments on his thesis that color is really the interplay of light and dark, Goethe discovered a peculiarity that seemed to confute the Newtonian system. If Newton is right that color is the result of dividing pure light, then there should be only one possible order to the spectrum, according to the frequency of the divided light.
But there are clearly two ways to produce a color spectrum: Something bright, seen through something turbid, appears yellow. If the turbidity of the medium gradually increases, then what had appeared as yellow passes over into yellowish-red and eventually into bright-red as its frequency proportionally decreases.
Friedrich von Schiller: the Romantic lover
Something dark, seen through something turbid, appears blue; with a decreasing turbity, it appears violet. The color produced also depends upon the color of the material on which the light or shadow is cast. If a white light is projected above a dark boundary, the light extends a blue-violet edge into the dark area.
A shadow projected above a light boundary, on the other hand, yields a red-yellow edge. When the distances between the projection and the surface are increased, the boundaries will eventually overlap.
Done in a lighted room, the result of the overlap is green. The same procedure conducted in a dark room, however, produces magenta. If Newton was correct that only the bending of the light beam affects the given color, then neither the relative brightness of the room, the color of the background, nor the introduction of shadow should have altered the resultant color. Alongside the physical issues involved with optics, Goethe thus also realized the aesthetic conditions in the human experience of color.
The perceptual capacities of the brain and eye, and their situatedness in a real world of real experience must be considered essential conditions of how colors could be seen. His reification of darkness, moreover, remains difficult to conceptualize coherently, much less to accept.
His call to recognize the role of the subject in the perception of color does have positive echoes in the neo-Kantian theories of perception of Lange, Helmholtz, and Boscovich. Traces can also be found in twentieth century thinkers as divergent as Wittgenstein and Merleau-Ponty. Part is also due to decline of Newtonian physics generally. Philosophically, the lineage is comparatively more defined.
In his mature years, Goethe was to witness the philosophical focus in Germany shift from Kant to the Idealists. But by the early s, Goethe was too convinced of the worth of his own ideas to be much influenced by what he considered philosophical fashions.
Despite his proximity to and considerable influence at the University of Jena, Goethe had little positive contact with Fichtewho arrived there in In Schiller could still write an unfavourable criticism of Egmont, that fruit of a mature artistic thought.
He could not understand how Goethe could represent Egmont, not as a heroic enthusiast as Schiller himself would have done, but as a weakling who could be guided by given circumstances. The Iphigenie too was beyond Schiller's comprehension. At one point, Goethe and Schiller did almost touch. But there is still evidence how different the two courses ran, in Schiller's essay on Charm and Dignity.
Goethe–Schiller Monument - Wikipedia
This essay shows us Schiller's whole striving after freedom. In what is necessary he can find nothing of charm; a work of nature cannot give any impression of charm. It is only in the work of art which is a symbol, a concrete picture of freedom, that we can speak of charm. And dignity is a word which we can only apply to the higher spiritual realm. Everywhere we see the old tendency to grasp the ideal as something opposed to the natural. Even the professorship which Goethe got for Schiller at Jena is not to be taken as a service of friendship.
This step was of great importance for Schiller. The study of historical character gave him a deep insight into the evolution of the spirit. Moreover, it made it possible for him to marry Charlotte von Lengefeld and start a household.
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
But their friendship was not to mature by the ways in which average people come to feel sympathy with each other. This joint relation was destined never to come into being on the basis of personal interests.
Nor, considering the difference of their personalities would their friendship have ever been of such a world-wide importance, if it had been based on that. It was after a meeting of the Society for Scientific Research in — probably in July — that Goethe and Schiller began to discuss the lecture they had just heard, on the way home.
Schiller said that he had only a mass of isolated and unrelated impressions; whereupon Goethe remarked that for himself he could imagine another form of natural observation. He then developed his views about the relation of all living things — how the whole plant kingdom was to be regarded as in continual development. With a few characteristic strokes Goethe drew the archetypal plant, as it appeared to him, on a piece of paper. Goethe saw the spirit in nature.
For him that which the spirit grasps intuitively was as real as what is sensible; for him nature embraces the spirit. Schiller's true greatness as a man shows itself in the way in which he tried to discover the foundation on which Goethe's spirit was based. He wished to find the right standpoint. In unenvious recognition of all that thus came towards him, Schiller began the friendship which was to unite the two.
The letter which Schiller wrote to Goethe after he had sunk himself in Goethe's method of creation, the letter of 24th Augustis one of the finest of human documents. You seek for the necessary in nature, but you seek it along the harder path from which all weaker forces would shrink. You take all nature as a whole in order to illuminate a part; and in the totality of their appearances you seek the basis of explanation for the individual. There is no deeper psychological characterisation of Goethe.
And so it remained till Schiller's death. Their friendship was impregnable, though envy and ill-will used the lowest means to separate them.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749—1832)
They worked together in such a way that the advice of the one always had a fruitful influence on the other.
That is how the Greeks created. An artist who longs for a return to nature, after being torn from her, creates sentimentally.