Novalis, pseudonym of Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg

Novalis, pseudonym of Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg

German Philosopher, Poet, Metallurgist, Aphorist and Mystic

Author Quotes

Is it body and soul in any particular way separate - and not a sign of weakness that afec?iunea one is also the condition of the other - without interference of the will?

Man is the Messiah of Nature.

Now to some it appears not at all worthwhile to follow out the endless divisions of Nature; and moreover a dangerous undertaking, without fruit and issue. As we can never reach, say they, the absolutely smallest grain of material bodies, never find their simplest compartments, since all magnitude loses itself, forwards and backwards, in infinitude; so likewise is it with the species of bodies and powers; here too one comes on new species, new combinations, new appearances, even to infinitude. These seem only to stop, continue they, when our diligence tires; and so it is spending precious time with idle contemplations and tedious enumerations; and this becomes at last a true delirium, a real vertigo over the horrid Deep

Philosophy ? bears witness to the deepest love of reflection, to absolute delight in wisdom.

The Academy would be a purely philosophical institute - Only a single faculty - the seat of the entire organized to stimulate and practicing appropriate labor of thinking.

The history of every individual man should be a Bible.

The true reader must be an extension of the author. He is the higher court that receives the case already prepared by the lower court. The feeling by means of which the author has separated out the materials of his work, during reading separates out again the unformed and the formed aspects of the book?and if the reader were to work through the book according to his own idea, a second reader would refine it still more, with the result that, since the mass that had been worked through would constantly be poured into fresh vessels, the mass would finally become an essential component?a part of the active spirit. Through impartial rereading of his book the author can refine his book himself. With strangers the particular character is usually lost, because the talent of fully entering into another person?s idea is so rare. Often even in the author himself. It is not a sign of superior education and greater powers to justifiably find fault with a book. When receiving new impressions, greater sharpness of mind is quite natural.

We are near waking when we dream we are dreaming.

Whoever sees life other than as a self-destroying illusion is himself still preoccupied with life. Life must not be a novel that is given to us, but one that is made by us.

Is not belief the true God-announcing miracle?

Many books are longer than they seem. They have indeed no end. The boredom that they cause is truly absolute and infinite.

Oh draw at my heart, love, draw till I'm gone, that, fallen asleep, I still may love on. I feel the flow of death's youth-giving flood to balsam and ether transform my blood --I live all the daytime in faith and in might and in holy fire I die every night.

Play is experimenting with chance.

The art of writing books is not yet invented. But it is at the point of being invented. Fragments of this nature are literary seeds. There may be many an infertile grain among them: nevertheless, if only some come up!

The imagination places the world of the future either far above us, or far below, or in a relation of metempsychosis to ourselves. We dream of traveling through the universe?but is not the universe within ourselves? The depths of our spirit are unknown to us?the mysterious way leads inwards. Eternity with its worlds?the past and future?is in ourselves or nowhere. The external world is the world of shadows?it throws its shadow into the realm of light. At present this realm certainly seems to us so dark inside, lonely, shapeless. But how entirely different it will seem to us?when this gloom is past, and the body of shadows has moved away. We will experience greater enjoyment than ever, for our spirit has been deprived.

The waking man looks without fear at this offspring of his lawless Imagination; for he knows that they are but vain Spectres of his weakness. He feels himself lord of the world: his me hovers victorious over the Abyss; and will through Eternities hover aloft above that endless Vicissitude. Harmony is what his spirit strives to promulgate, to extend. He will even to infinitude grow more and more harmonious with himself and with his Creation; and at every step behold the all-efficiency of a high moral Order in the Universe, and what is purest of his Me come forth into brighter and brighter clearness. This significance of the World is Reason; for her sake is the World here; and when it is grown to be the arena of a childlike, expanding Reason, it will one day become the divine Image of her Activity, the scene of a genuine Church. Till then let man honour Nature as the Emblem of his own Spirit; the Emblem ennobling itself, along with him, to unlimited degrees. Let him, therefore, who would arrive at knowledge of Nature, train his moral sense, let him act and conceive in accordance with the noble Essence of his Soul; and as if of herself Nature will become open to him. MoralAction is that great and only Experiment, in which all riddles of the most manifold appearances explain themselves. Whoso understands it, and in rigid sequence of Thought can lay it open, is forever master of Nature.

We are on a mission: we are called to the cultivation of the earth.

Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship may be called throughout prosaic and modern. The Romantic sinks to ruin, the Poesy of Nature, the Wonderful. The Book treats merely of common worldly things: Nature and Mysticism are altogether forgotten. It is a poetised civic and household History; the Marvellous is expressly treated therein as imagination and enthusiasm. Artistic Atheism is the spirit of the Book. ... It is properly a Candide, directed against Poetry: the Book is highly unpoetical in respect of spirit, poetical as the dress and body of it are.

I show that I have understood a writer only when I can act in his spirit, when, without constricting his individuality, I can translate him and change him in diverse ways.

Is not our body in itself nothing but a common central effect of our senses?if we have mastery over our senses?if we are able to transform them into activity at will?to center them at a common point, then it only depends on us?to give ourselves the body we want. Indeed, in our senses are nothing other than modifications of the mental organ?of the absolute element?then with mastery over this element we shall also be able to modify and direct our senses as we please.

Many counterrevolutionary books have been written in favor of the Revolution. But Burke has written a revolutionary book against the Revolution.

On those heights he builds for himself tabernacles -- tabernacles of peace, there longs and loves and gazes across, until the welcomest of all hours draws him down into the waters of the spring -- afloat above remains what is earthly, and is swept back in storms, but what became holy by the touch of love, runs free through hidden ways to the region beyond, where, like fragrances, it mingles with love asleep.

Practical reason is pure creative fantasy.

The artist stands on the human being as a statue does on a pedestal.

The letter is only an aid to philosophical communication, the actual essence of which consists in arousing a particular train of thought. Someone speaking thinks and produces?someone listening reflects?and reproduces. Words are a deceptive medium for what is already though?unreliable vehicles of a particular, specific stimulus. The true teacher is a guide. If the pupil genuinely desires truth it requires only a hint to show him how to find what he is seeking. Accordingly the representation of philosophy consists purely of themes?of initial propositions?principles. It exists only for autonomous lovers of truth. The analytical exposition of the theme is only for those who are sluggish or unpracticed. The latter must learn thereby how to fly and keep themselves moving in a particular direction. Attentiveness is a centripetal force. The effective relation between that which is directed and the object of direction begins with the given direction. If we hold fast to this direction we are apodictically certain of reaching the goal that has been set. True collaboration in philosophy then is a common movement toward a beloved world?whereby we relieve each other in the most advanced outpost, a movement that demands the greatest effort against the resisting element within which we are flying.

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Novalis, pseudonym of Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg
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German Philosopher, Poet, Metallurgist, Aphorist and Mystic