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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 489 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 05.

The individual cannot become conscious of, and prize, his own individuality without at the same time valuing uniqueness in others; the higher a value he sets upon his own self, the more the personalities of others must impress him.  “Whoever desires to cultivate his individuality must have an appreciation of everything that he is not.”  “The sense of universality (der allgemeine Sinn) is the supreme condition of one’s own perfection.”  Hence the ethical life is a life in society—­a society of unique individuals who respect humanity in its uniqueness, in themselves and in others.  “They are among themselves a chorus of friends.  Every one knows that he too is a part and product of the universe, that in him too are revealed its divine life and action.”  “The more every one approximates the universe, the more he communicates himself to others, the more perfect unity will they all form; no one has a consciousness for himself alone, every one has, at the same time, that of the other; they are no longer only men, but mankind; rising above themselves and triumphing over themselves, they are on the road to true immortality and eternity.”  In the feeling of piety man recognizes that his desire to be a unique personality is in harmony with the action of the universe; hence that he can, ought, and must make the development of his uniqueness the goal, the strongest motive, and the highest good, and that he can surely realize what he is striving for, because the universe which created and determined him created him for that.

FRIEDRICH SCHLEIERMACHER

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ON THE SOCIAL ELEMENT IN RELIGION (1799) [1]

TRANSLATED BY GEORGE RIPLEY

Those among you who are accustomed to regard religion as a disease of the human mind, cherish also the habitual conviction that it is an evil more easily borne, even though not to be cured, so long as it is only insulated individuals here and there who are infected with it; but that the common danger is raised to the highest degree, and everything put at stake, as soon as a too close connection is permitted between many patients of this character.  In the former case it is possible by a judicious treatment, as it were by an antiphlegistic regimen, and by a healthy spiritual atmosphere, to ward off the violence of the paroxysms; and if not entirely to conquer the exciting cause of the disease, to attenuate it to such a degree that it shall be almost innocuous.  But in the latter case we must despair of every other means of cure, except that which may proceed from some internal beneficent operation of Nature.  For the evil is attended with more alarming symptoms, and is more fatal in its effects, when the too great proximity of other infected persons feeds and aggravates it in every individual; the whole mass of vital air is then quickly poisoned by a few; the most vigorous frames are smitten with the contagion;

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