Ideas  pp. 123-140


By Friedrich Schlegel

Image View Previous Chapter Next Chapter

1 The demands for, and anticipations of, a new morals, which would be more than merely the practical part of philosophy, have grown steadily louder and clearer. Already there is talk even of religion. It is time to tear away the veil of Isis and to reveal the mystery. He who cannot bear the sight of the goddess should flee or perish.

2 A priest is whoever lives only in the invisible world, and for whom everything visible has only the truth of an allegory.

3 Only in relation to the infinite is there meaning and purpose; what does not relate to it is completely meaningless and useless.

4 Religion is the animating world-soul of culture, the fourth invisible element with philosophy, morals and poetry. It is like fire: bound to one place, it quietly warms everything around it; only through force or an external stimulus does it break out in terrible destruction.

5 The mind understands something only by absorbing it, nourishing it and letting it grow to blossom and fruit. So scatter holy seeds on to the soil of the spirit, without affectation and idle distractions.

6 Eternal life and the invisible world is to be sought only in God. All spirits dwell in him; he is the abyss of individuality, the only infinite fullness.

7 Liberate religion, and a new humanity will begin.

8 The intellect, the author of the Speeches on Religion says, knows only the universe; but if fantasy rules, then you will have a God. Quite right, for fantasy is the organ of man for divinity.