View Full Version : Aphorisms from Weininger's Notebooks

Monday, October 11th, 2004, 01:45 AM
A small sample of Aphorisms from Weininger's Notebooks

- Translated from the German by Martin Dudaniec and Kevin Solway -
Copyright Kevin Solway & Martin Dudaniec, 2000

The artist must create something of rather less worth than the philosopher, for he is more dependent on the moment than the latter.

The greater the work of art, the less chance is allowed to be there.

Art creates, science destroys the sensory world; that is why the artist is erotic and sexual, the scientist asexual. Optics destroys light.

Is the ocean due to the rivers, or the rivers due to the ocean? Who would decide that? So is it between God and man. The ocean wills the rivers, the river wills the ocean.

Among the notable things about fire is that it also requires oxygen to burn - exactly like its enemy, life. Thereby are life and flames so often compared.

I believe that my powers of mind are surely such that I would have become in a certain sense a resolver of all problems. I do not believe that I could have remained in error anywhere for long. I believe that I would have earned the name of Redeemer, because I had the nature of a Redeemer.

The Devil is the man who has all but the Good, knows the whole of heaven without Truth, while all exists only through the Good.

Innocence is ignorance. To know and remain innocent would be the highest.

Every true, eternal problem is an equally true, eternal fault; every answer an atonement, every realisation an improvement.

The present is the form of eternity; judgement concerning the actual has the same form as judgement concerning the eternal. Connection with morality, which wants to transform all present into eternity, to take into the narrowness of consciousness all the breadth of the world.

Morality expresses itself thus: Act in full consciousness, that is, act so that in every moment you are whole, your entire individuality is there. Man experiences this individuality over the course of his life only in successive moments: that is why time is immoral and no living person ever holy, perfect. If man once acts with the strongest will so that all universality of his self (and of the world, for he is indeed the microcosm) is set in the moment, then has he overcome time and become divine.

The most powerful musical motifs of the world's music are those which attempt to represent this breaking through time within time, this breaking forth out of time, where such an ictus falls on one note that it absorbs the remaining parts of the melody (which represent time as a whole, individual points integrated by the I) and thereby transcends the melody. The end of the Grail motif in Parsifal, and the Siegfried motif, are such melodies.
There is however one act which, so to speak, resorbs the future into itself, experiences in advance all future falling back into immorality already as guilt, no less than all past immorality, and thereby surpasses both: a timeless positing of character, rebirth. It is the act through which genius arises.

There is no such thing as chance. Chance would be a negation of the law of causality, which demands that even the temporal meeting of two separate causal chains still has a cause. Chance would destroy the possibility of life . . . It would nullify the connectedness of things, the oneness of the universe. If there is chance, then there is no God.

It is pleasing to the criminal when there are many criminal people around. Since he seeks those to share in the guilt, he has no need of a judge; he wants to remove the judge and the Good from the world, and give reality to Nothingness alone. That is why he feels himself released and unburdened of contradiction when the other person is also like he is.

Crime and punishment are not two, but one.

I am never able to comprehend why I committed the original sin, how the free could become unfree. And why?
Because I can only recognize a sin when I am no longer committing it. Therefore I cannot comprehend life so long as I am living it, and time is the mystery because I have not yet overcome it.

A person lives until he enters either into the Absolute or into Nothingness. In freedom he himself determines his future life; he chooses God or Nothingness. He annihilates himself or creates himself unto eternal life. For him a double progress is possible: one toward eternal life (to perfect wisdom and holiness, to a condition fully adequate to the idea of the True and the Good) and one toward eternal annihilation. However, he continually advances in one of these two directions; there is no third.

The fixed stars signify the angel in man. That is why man orients himself by them; and that is why women have no appreciation for the starry sky; because they have no sense of the angel in man.

Woman reaches as far as desire, but not to value. She reaches as far as sympathy, but not respect.

The hatred of woman is always only the not yet overcome hatred of one's own sexuality.

Core trait of all that is human: seeking for reality. Where reality is sought and found establishes all differences between people.

Every sickness has mental causes; and each must be cured by the person himself, by means of his will: he himself must seek to recognize it inwardly. All sickness is only the mental become unconscious, "gone into the body"; just as it is raised into consciousness, the sickness is cured.

Hypochondria is diverted self-hatred and paranoia.

If medications work, it is merely mental will, belief, hope, which work.

Many a person believes he has become free of the one God, because he has devoted himself to several others.

The need to be loved grows with the feeling of being pursued, and is proportional to it.

It also happens that someone impresses one because he stands far below one - when one does not understand him.

Worth: power = light: fire.

There are no degrees of truth, no degrees of morality.

The stars no longer laugh; they are no longer related to desire; only to bliss and joy. But they twinkle, they are vain. So they can fall. The sun's sin is pleasure-pain, instead of worth-worthlessness: it does laugh (but it pierces, glows, burns, blinds, smokes like a fire).
Individuality is the fall of man, and its symbol is the falling star.

The Jew's sin is smirking at the Good, as the simpleton's sin is smirking at wisdom.

Animals and plants are the unconscious in man.

Every victory of the Good in one person helps others of itself.

Compassion must become judicious inner sorrow (with appreciation of justice) and may not remain a desire for pleasure. For only then does one really love people.

Has parthenogenesis something to do with lesbian love? Amazons.

Vacillation among Schopenhauer and Fechner. Both fail to understand that the ethical and the basis of the world lie in that series upon which the "pleasure - pain" series is dependent: the series of "good - evil". The "pleasure - pain" series runs parallel with it, but is of a yet secondary nature in relation to it.

Boredom and impatience are the most immoral emotions there can be. For man sets time as real in them: he wants it to pass without him having to fill it, without it being mere phenomenal form of his inner liberation and extension, mere form in which he must strive to be realised, but rather independent from him, and he dependent on it. Boredom is at the same time the need to annul time from outside, and the longing for the devil's work.

Only man can stride.

That people can speak of Raphaelesque trash next to Michelangelo, I understand; they will probably always do this, because Raphael is to be understood completely without genius, and Michelangelo only through it. The one makes every consideration for the beholder, the other, none whatsoever. Raphael becomes totally impotent when he seeks to portray God, Christ or philosophy. He aids himself by dispensing with the essence from the outset; people then declare that work original and praise it as a counterclaim to Michelangelo. Raphael never dared to allow a subject to be shown entirely from the back, least of all God himself (which Michelangelo has done in the Second Fresco of the Sistine).
In order to know who Michelangelo, and what Raphael is, one can compare a painting of lesser significance by the former, the "Deluge", with one of the most outstanding of the latter, "Fire in the Borgo". These are very well suited in homologous content and because, in Michelangelo, no depictions of the masses are otherwise present.
Raphael paints a group here, another there, piece by piece, each occupied with something different; the unity is totally lost. Michelangelo immediately grasps the essence of the matter: he paints the deluge, the event itself in its most elemental force, and thence gives himself to all else, all retroaction upon the people, who precisely here must exclude any individuation.

Recovery means: to reunite with the All. Sickness means loneliness.

Violet: undecided between good and evil, between pleasure and pain.

The snake is actually not in the stricter sense ugly. It is smooth; and yet siezes us with a loathing for it: Lie!

Fish are characterised by a complete lack of all expressive faculty.
"Idiocy" and fish.

The ape is the man who makes a buffoon of himself: one sees in him the sadness over this.

Every animal has a face in which one discovers some kind of human emotion, an instinct, a passion, a human weakness or baseness.