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Herbert Kühn, "Expressionism and Socialism" (May 1919)

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Expressionism is in origin not a problem of form. What is of primary importance is the transformation of the spirit, the change in that primal relationship that is signified in the relation of the self to the world.

[ . . . ]

Machines, created by men to help men, cannons, automobiles, railroads, airships, telegraphs—for the use of man, for his advancement—they arose, raised themselves above the creator—slew him. His will shattered. His consciousness wasted away. Time rebelled.

[ . . . ]

Man perished through materialism. We died from the unspiritual: War.

And we awoke anew to a new existence.

The world war is the final result of an epoch that had forgotten the self, an epoch that had trespassed against the spirit, an epoch that therefore had to destroy itself.

[ . . . ]

We have conquered the soul anew, the spirit.

[ . . . ]

And thus we attain that which the epoch before us had forgotten—humanity.

We bring it forth out of ourselves. We recreate it anew. We build on it, we model and form, in order to raise it to greater heights, in order to conceive it more broadly in order to make the more powerful, luminous, blazing, the One that struggles within us, the One that occupies us, the One that fulfills us: Man.

[ . . . ]

In socialism man awakens to his rights. Man, who formerly looked on—now, enslaved, exploited, oppressed, saw in agony how the world destroyed him. …

Matter destroyed us. Matter crushed us. Joyless work, which man invented, the increase of capital, when man created—the machine—raised itself up against man—killed him.

God was killed.

But God does not let himself be killed.

[ . . . ]

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