A Plaint as Old as History

by hahvahd on 2016-03-26, no comments

“That “the world lieth in evil” is a plaint as old as history, old even as the older art, poetry; indeed, as old as that oldest of all fictions, the religion of priest-craft. All agree that the world began in a good estate, whether in a Golden Age, a life in Eden, or a yet more happy community with celestial beings. But they represent that this happiness vanished like a dream and that a Fall into evil (moral evil, with which physical evil ever went hand in hand) presently a hurried mankind from bad to worse with accelerated descent; so that now (this “now” is also as old as history) we live in the final age, with the Last Day and the destruction of the world at hand. In some parts of India the Judge and Destroyer of the world, Rudra (sometimes called Siwa or Siva), already is worshipped as the reigning God—Vishnu, the Sustainer of the world, having some centuries, ago grown weary and renounced the supreme authority which he inherited from Brahma, the Creator.” Kant – Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone.


by hahvahd on 2013-04-14, no comments

“The stage for the narrator’s reflection on his present situation is set in the formless and colorless polar expanse to which his efforts have led him:

It is true that I have thought more, and that my daydreams are more extended and magnificent [than those of schoolboys of fifteen], but they want (as the painters call it) keeping; And I greatly need a friend who would have sense enough not to despise me as romantic, and affection enough for me to endeavour to regulate my mind.7

The narrator seeks cultivation, but fears that his thoughts and magnificent representations, his rich and perhaps even excessive poetic capacity, or in short, his romantic disposition, may be mistaken for mere disorder and enthusiasm. His disposition wants “keeping,” as he puts it, using a term from eighteenth-century aesthetic theory. Initially part of the vocabulary of painting, keeping  designates “the maintenance of harmony of composition,” or more simply, “agreement, congruity,harmony.” Whether in reference to outline and form, or tone and color, ‘keeping’ concerns “the proper subserviency” or “proper relation” in “every part of a picture, so that the general effect is harmonious to the eye.””
From The Literary Absolute: The Theory of Literature in German Romanticism

By: Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe; Jean-Luc Nancy et al.