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Friedrich Schiller, Excerpts from On the Aesthetic Education of Man (1795)

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When the mechanical artist sets his hand to the formless block, to give it the form that he intends for it, he does not hesitate to do it violence, for Nature, which he is fashioning, merits no consideration for herself, and his concern is not with the whole for the sake of the parts, but with the parts for the sake of the whole. When the fine artist sets his hand to this same block, as little does he hesitate to do it violence, only he forbears to shew it. He respects the material at which he works not in the slightest degree more than the mechanical artist does; but he will try to deceive the eye which takes the freedom of this material under its protection, by an apparent deference towards the material. The situation is quite different with the pedagogic and political artist, who has Man at the same time as his material and as his theme. Here his aim reverts to the material, and only because the whole subserves the parts may the parts submit to the whole. The statesman-artist must approach his material with a quite different respect from that which the fine artist feigns towards his; not merely subjectively, and for a delusive effect upon the senses, but objectively, for its inner being, he must pay careful heed to its idiosyncrasy and its personality.

But just for that very reason, because the State is to be an organization which is formed by itself and for itself, it can really become such only insofar as the parts have been severally attuned to the idea of the whole. Because the State serves as a representation of pure and objective humanity in the breast of its citizens, it will have to maintain towards those citizens the same relationship in which they stand to each other, and it can respect their subjective humanity only in such degree as this is exalted to objectivity. If the inner man is at one with himself, he will preserve his idiosyncrasy even in the widest universality of his conduct, and the State will be simply the interpreter of his fine instinct, the clearer expression of his inner legislation. On the other hand, if in the character of a people the subjective man is opposed to the objective in so contradictory a fashion that only the suppression of the former can secure the triumph of the latter, the State too will assume the full severity of the law against the citizen, and must ruthlessly trample underfoot any such hostile individuality in order not to be its victim.

But Man can be at odds with himself in a double fashion: either as savage if his feelings rule his principles, or as barbarian if his principles destroy his feelings. The savage despises Art and recognizes Nature as his sovereign mistress; the barbarian derides and dishonours Nature, but—more contemptible than the savage—he continues frequently enough to become the slave of his slave. The cultured man makes a friend of Nature and respects her freedom while merely curbing her caprice.

When therefore Reason introduces her moral unity into physical society, she must not injure the multiplicity of Nature. When Nature strives to maintain her multiplicity in the moral structure of society, there must be no rupture in its moral unity; the triumphant form rests equidistant from uniformity and confusion. Totality of character must therefore be found in a people that is capable and worthy of exchanging the State of need for the State of freedom.

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