Goethe on Human Creativeness, and Other Goethe Essays

Goethe on Human Creativeness, and Other Goethe Essays

Goethe on Human Creativeness, and Other Goethe Essays

Goethe on Human Creativeness, and Other Goethe Essays

Excerpt

Your own epoch you cannot change. You can, however, oppose its trend and lay the groundwork for auspicious developments. Goethe to Schiller, July 21, 1798.

A STRIKING characteristic of Goethe's writing is an element of creativeness. This so charges his language with meaning and vitality that his words can and do influence people to live creatively and usefully. The professional and non-professional backgrounds of the authors of this book are a good indication of Goethe's power to change people. The basis for such a change or even rebirth is for each person to live according to the law of his own particular individuality, according to the gifts God may have bestowed upon him. Once these are discovered they require each man to learn to be truly himself and to endeavor constantly to make himself as fine a human being and as highly developed a personality as possible. To do this naturally, planfully, and continuously, but not slavishly, is necessary for creative living. Real life means work and that again means creation. Merely to exist and vegetate like plants and animals is not enough. To lead a slothful, indifferent life means decay and the betrayal of humanity. Nature gives creative powers only to those who expend energy.

If creativeness is indeed characteristic of Goethe, it should be evident in any writing about Goethe. Since all the essays of this book concern themselves essentially with Goethe, the man, from different points of view, some specific, some general, it is not surprising to find an element of creativeness in almost all of them. It stands out . . .

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