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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.

Here, where the petty, narrow self of the person is already annihilated by the Polity, every one loves every other one as truly as himself, as a component part of that great Self which alone remains for him to love, and of which he is nothing but a component part, which only through the Whole can gain or lose.  Here the conflict of evil with good is done away, for no evil can any longer spring up.  The contest of the good among themselves, even concerning the good, vanishes, now that it has become easy to them to love the good for its own sake, and not for their sakes, as the authors of it—­now that the only interest they can have is that it come to pass, that truth be discovered, that the good deed be executed—­not by whom it is accomplished.  Here every one is always prepared to join his power to that of his neighbor, and to subordinate it to that of his neighbor.  Whoever, in the judgment of all, shall accomplish the best, in the best way, him all will support and partake with equal joy in his success.

This is the aim of earthly existence which Reason sets before us, and for the sure attainment of which Reason vouches.  It is not a goal for which we are to strive merely that our faculties may be exercised on something great, but which we must relinquish all hope of realizing.  It shall and must be realized.  At some time or other this goal must be attained, as surely as there is a world of the senses, and a race of reasonable beings in time, for whom no serious and rational object can be imagined but this, and whose existence is made intelligible by this alone.  Unless the whole life of man is to be considered as the sport of an evil Spirit, who implanted this ineradicable striving after the imperishable in the breasts of poor wretches merely that he might enjoy their ceaseless struggle after that which unceasingly flees from them, their still repeated grasping after that which still eludes their grasp, their restless driving about in an ever-returning circle—­and laugh at their earnestness in this senseless sport—­unless the wise man, who must soon see through this game and be tired of his own part in it, is to throw away his life, and the moment of awakening reason is to be the moment of earthly death—­that goal must be attained.  O it is attainable in life and by means of life; for Reason commands me to live.  It is attainable, for I am.

III

But now, when it is attained, when Humanity shall stand at the goal—­what then?  There is no higher condition on earth than that.  The generation which first attains it can do nothing further than to persist in it, maintain it with all their powers, and die and leave descendants who shall do the same that they have done, and who, in their turn, shall leave descendants that shall do the same.  Humanity would then stand still in its course.  Therefore its earthly goal cannot be its highest goal, for this earthly goal is intelligible, and attainable,

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