Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Bildung , Gestalten, and Metamorphosis

“If we look at all these Gestalten, especially the organic ones, we will discover that nothing in them is permanent, nothing at rest or defined—everything is in a flux of continual motion. This is why German frequently and fittingly makes use of the word Bildung [formation] to describe the end product and what is in process of production as well…. When something has acquired a form it metamorphoses immediately into a new one.

...We will see the entire plant world, for example, as a vast sea which is as necessary to the existence of individual insects as the oceans and river are to the existence of individual fish, and we will observe that an enormous number of living creatures are born and nourished in this ocean of plants. Ultimately we will see the whole world of animals as a great element in which one species is created or at least sustained, by and through another. We will no longer think of connections and relationships in terms of purpose and intention; we will progress in knowledge alone through seeing how formative nature expresses itself from all sides and in all directions.

...Among the objects we will find many different forms of existence and modes of change, a variety of relationships livingly interwoven; in ourselves, on the other hand, a potential for infinite growth through constant adaptation of our sensibilities and judgment to new ways of acquiring knowledge and responding with action."

(1749 - 1832)

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