Johann Gottfried Herder

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Category: Note
It is unintelligible to me how our century can lose itself so deeply in the shadows, in the obscure workshops, of that which relates to art without even wanting to recognize the broad, bright light of unimprisoned nature. The greatest heroic deeds of the human spirit which it could only do and express in impact with the living world have turned into school exercises in the dust of our school-prisons, the masterpieces of human poetic art and oratory into childish tricks from which aged children and young children learn empty phrases and cull rules. We grasp their formalities and have ...
Category: Note
Try to imprint in him a philosophical spirit, so that he [the child] never desires to become a professional philosopher. May your main law be freedom and dependence on oneself, uncompelled self-observation, and independence from others’ judgment. Everything that the philosophers teach and cannot do, those do who are closest to nature, the simple country-dwellers. These are the greatest observers of nature, in their serfdom the freest people, who despise the tyrant honor, who never let others’ judgment take precedence over their own. In short, O philosopher, go to the country and learn the way of the farmers, refine this ...
Category: Note
O teachers of religion!, how many young souls you have laid waste through words which they did not understand and which developed in them into prejudices that can never be rooted out!
Category: Philosophy
Source : Herder. Philosophical Writings , ed., Michael N. Forster, publ. CUP; About half of the essay is excerpted below. I do not want to pursue the hypothesis of the divine origin of language any further on a metaphysical basis, for its groundlessness is clear psychologically from the fact that in order to understand the language of the gods on Olympus the human being must already have reason and consequently must already have language. Still less can I indulge in a pleasant detailing of the animal languages, for, as we have seen, it turns out that they all stand completely ...