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Friedrich Schiller, Excerpts from On the Aesthetic Education of Man (1795)

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This natural State (as we may call every political body whose organization is ultimately based on force and not on laws) is now indeed opposed to the moral man, for whom mere conformity to law is now to serve as law; but it is still quite adequate for the physical man, who gives himself laws only in order to come to terms with force. But the physical man is actual, and the moral man only problematical. Therefore when Reason abolishes the natural State, as she inevitably must do if she wishes to put her own in its place, she weighs the physical and actual man against the problematical moral man, she ventures the very existence of society for a merely possible (even if morally necessary) ideal of society. She takes from Man something that he actually possesses, and without which he possesses nothing, and assigns to him in its place something which he could and should possess; and if she has relied too much upon him she will, for a humanity which is still beyond him and can so remain without detriment to his existence, have also wrested from him those very means of animality which are the condition of his humanity. Before he has had time to hold fast to the law with his will, she has taken the ladder of Nature from under his feet.

The great consideration is, therefore, that physical society in time may not cease for an instant while moral society is being formed in idea, that for the sake of human dignity its very existence may not be endangered. When the mechanic has the works of a clock to repair, he lets the wheels run down; but the living clockwork of the State must be repaired while it is in motion, and here it is a case of changing the wheels as they revolve. We must therefore search for some support for the continuation of society, to make it independent of the actual State which we want to abolish.

This support is not to be found in the natural character of Man, which, selfish and violent as it is, aims far more at the destruction than at the preservation of society; as little is it to be found in his moral character, which ex hypothesi has yet to be formed, and upon which, because it is free and because it is never apparent, the lawgiver can never operate and never with certainty depend. The important thing, therefore, is to dissociate caprice from the physical and freedom from the moral character; to make the first conformable with law, the second dependent on impressions; to remove the former somewhat further from matter in order to bring the latter somewhat nearer to it —so as to create a third character which, related to these other two, might pave the way for a transition from the realm of mere force to the rule of law, and, without impeding the development of the moral character, might serve rather as a sensible pledge of a morality as yet unseen.

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