Schleiermacher


The age isn’t ready for it, they always say. Is that a reason why it shouldn’t happen? If something can’t yet be, then it must at least always continue to become.

– Schleiermacher’s fragment no. 334 from the Athenaeum Fragments (1798), trans. by Peter Firchow.

Many people have spirit or feeling or imagination. But because singly these qualities can only manifest themselves as fleeting, airy shapes, nature has taken care to bond them chemically to some common earthly matter. To discover this bond is the unremitting task of those who have the greatest capacity for sympathy, but it requires a great deal of practice in intellectual chemistry as well. The man who could discover an infallible reagent for every beautiful quality in human nature would reveal to us a new world. As in the vision of the prophet, the endless field of broken and dismembered humanity would suddenly spring into life.

– Schleiermacher’s fragment no. 330 from the Athenaeum Fragments (1798), trans. by Peter Firchow.