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

The highest problem of literature is the writing of a Bible.

The spirit of Poesy is the morning light, which makes the Statue of Memnon sound.

Tools arm the man. One can well say that man is capable of bringing forth a world; he lacks only the necessary apparatus, the corresponding armature of his sensory tools. The beginning is there. Thus the principle of a warship lies in the idea of the shipbuilder, who is able to incorporate this thought by making himself into a gigantic machine, as it were, through a mass of men and appropriate tools and materials. Thus the idea of a moment often required monstrous organs, monstrous masses of materials, and man is therefore a potential, if not an actual creator.

Where are we really going? Always home.

In the earliest times of the discovery of the faculty of judgment, every new judgment was a find. The worth of this find rose, the more practical and fertile the judgment was. Verdicts which now seem to us very common then still demanded an unusual level of intellectual life. One had to bring genius and acuity together in order to find new relations using the new tool. Its application to the most characteristic, interesting, and general aspects of humanity necessarily aroused exceptional admiration and drew the attention of all good minds to itself. In this way those bodies of proverbial sayings came into being that have been valued so highly at all times and among all peoples. It would easily be possible for the discoveries of genius we make today to meet with a similar fate in the course of time. There could easily come a time when all that would be as common as moral precepts are now, and new, more sublime discoveries would occupy the restless spirit of men.

Man is a sun and his senses are the planets.

Not wise does it seem to attempt comprehending and understanding a Human World without full perfected Humanity. No talent must sleep; and if all are not alike active, all must be alert, and not oppressed and enervated. As we see a future Painter in the boy who fills every wall with sketches and variedly adds color to figure; so we see a future Philosopher in him who restlessly traces and questions all natural things, pays heed to all, brings together whatever is remarkable, and rejoices when he has become master and possessor of a new phenomenon, of a new power and piece of knowledge. Moral Action is that great and only Experiment, in which all riddles of the most manifold appearances explain themselves.

Our life is no dream; but it ought to become one, and perhaps will.

Symbolic incite, stimulate - touches and moves.

The highest purpose of intellectual cultivation is to give a man a perfect knowledge and mastery of his own inner self; to render our consciousness its own light and its own mirror.

The true philosophical Act is annihilation of self (Selbsttodtung); this is the real beginning of all Philosophy; all requisites for being a Disciple of Philosophy point hither. This Act alone corresponds to all the conditions and characteristics of transcendental conduct.

We are close to waking when we dream that we are dreaming.

Where no gods are, spectres rule.

Innocence and ignorance are sisters. But there are noble and vulgar sisters. Vulgar innocence and ignorance are mortal, they have pretty faces, but wholly without expression, and of a transient beauty; the noble sisters are immortal, their lofty forms are unchangeable, and their countenances are still radiant with the light of paradise. They dwell in heaven, and visit only the noblest and most severely tried of mankind.

Man is the higher sense of our planet, the star which connects it with the upper world, the eye which it turns towards heaven.

Now I know when will come the last morning -- when the Light no more scares away Night and Love -- when sleep shall be without waking, and but one continuous dream. I feel in me a celestial exhaustion. Long and weariful was my pilgrimage to the holy grave, and crushing was the cross. The crystal wave, which, imperceptible to the ordinary sense, springs in the dark bosom of the mound against whose foot breaks the flood of the world, he who has tasted it, he who has stood on the mountain frontier of the world, and looked across into the new land, into the abode of the Night -- truly he turns not again into the tumult of the world, into the land where dwells the Light in ceaseless unrest.

Over his own heart and his own thoughts he watched attentively. He knew not whither his longing was carrying him. As he grew up, he wandered far and wide; viewed other lands, other seas, new atmospheres, new rocks, unknown plants, animals, men; descended into caverns, saw how in courses and varying strata the edifice of the Earth was completed, and fashioned clay into strange figures of rocks. By and by, he came to find everywhere objects already known, but wonderfully mingled, united; and thus often extraordinary things came to shape in him. He soon became aware of combinations in all, of conjunctures, concurrences. Erelong, he no more saw anything alone. ? In great variegated images, the perceptions of his senses crowded round him; he heard, saw, touched and thought at once. He rejoiced to bring strangers together. Now the stars were men, now men were stars, the stones animals, the clouds plants; he sported with powers and appearances; he knew where and how this and that was to be found, to be brought into action; and so himself struck over the strings, for tones and touches of his own. No one, of a surety, wanders farther from the mark than he who fancies to himself that he already understands this marvelous Kingdom, and can, in few words, fathom its constitution, and everywhere find the right path.

That which the external world perceives as quite motionless has the appearance of being quite at rest. However much it may change, in relation to the external world it always stays at rest. This principle governs all self-modifications. That is why the beautiful appears so much at rest. Everything beautiful is a self-illuminated, perfect individual.

The highest task of education is?to take command of one?s transcendental self?to be at once the I of its I. It is all the less to be wondered at that we lack complete insight and understanding for others. Without perfect self-understanding one will never learn to truly understand others.

The true Poet is all-knowing; he is an actual world in miniature.

We are more closely connected to the invisible than to the visible.

While the poets were above all interested in the fluid and fugitive aspects of Nature, others desired, by slogging away with a hatchet and pickax, to discover the interior structure of Nature and the relationship between the separate morsels. The spirit of our friend Nature dissolved in their hands, leaving nothing but throbbing or dead parts.

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

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