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  1. Linda Mignani
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Why [what is the reason for] Atheism today? What then does the whole modern philosophy basically do? Since Descartes — and indeed more in defiance of him than on the basis of his example — an attempt has been made on the part of all philosophers to assassinate the old concept of the soul, under the guise of a criticism of the subject-and-predicate concept — that is to say: Modern philosophy, as epistemological skepticism, is, secretly or openly, anti-christian , although, speaking for finer ears, by no means anti-religious.

In earlier times, in fact, people believed in "the soul" as one believed in grammar and the grammatical subject: The attempt was then made, with admirable tenacity and artfulness, to see if one could not get out of this trap, — to see whether perhaps the opposite was true: There is a great ladder of religious cruelty, with many rungs; but three of these are the most important. In earlier times people sacrificed human beings to their God, and perhaps even those whom they loved most, — to this category belong the sacrifices of the first-born in all prehistoric religions, and also the sacrifice of the Emperor Tiberius in the Mithras-Grotto on the Island of Capri, that most terrible of all Roman anachronisms.

Then, during the moral epoch of mankind, people sacrificed to their God the strongest instincts they possessed, their "nature;" this celebratory joy shines in the cruel glances of ascetics and "anti-nature" fanatics. Was it not necessary in the end for men to sacrifice everything comforting, holy, healing, all hope, all faith in hidden harmonies, in future blessedness and justice? Was it not necessary to sacrifice God himself, and out of cruelty against themselves to worship stone, stupidity, gravity, fate, nothingness?

Linda Mignani

To sacrifice God for nothingness — this paradoxical mystery of the ultimate cruelty has been reserved for the generation now arising: Anyone who, like me, with any enigmatic desire has sought for a long time to get to the bottom of the question of pessimism and to redeem it from the half-Christian, half-German narrowness and simplicity with which he has most recently presented itself this century, namely, in the form of Schopenhauer's philosophy; anyone who, at one point has truly looked with an Asiatic and super-Asiatic eye inside and underneath the most world-renouncing of all possible ways of thinking — beyond good and evil, and no longer under the spell and delusion of morality, like Buddha and Schopenhauer —, whoever has done this, has perhaps just by that, without really intending it, opened his eyes to the opposite ideal: And wouldn't this be — God as a vicious circle?

The distance, and, so to speak, the space around man grows with the strength of his intellectual gaze and insight: Perhaps the most solemn concepts that have caused the most fighting and suffering, the concepts "God" and "sin," will one day seem to us of no more importance than a child's plaything or a pain of childhood seems to an old man, — and perhaps "the old man," still child enough, an eternal child!

Has anyone noticed to what extent outward leisure, or half-leisure, is necessary to a true religious life which includes its favorite labor of microscopic of self-examination, along with that state of gentle calm called "prayer," the state of perpetual readiness for the "coming of God" , I mean the idleness with a good conscience, the idleness of ancestral times and of blood [inherited] , which is not altogether unfamiliar with the aristocratic concept that work degrades — namely, that it vulgarizes body and soul?

And that consequently the modern, noisy, time-consuming, conceited, foolishly proud industriousness trains and prepares for "unbelief" more than anything else? Among these, for instance, who are at present living apart from religion in Germany, I find "free-thinkers" of various kinds and backgrounds, but above all a majority of those in whom industriousness, from generation to generation, has extinguished the religious instincts: They are by no means hostile to religious customs; should certain circumstances, State affairs perhaps, require their participation in such customs, they do what is required, as so many things are done —, with a patient and unassuming seriousness, and without much curiosity or discomfort: This sort of indifferent people makes up the majority of middle-class German Protestants nowadays, especially in the great industrious centers of trade and commerce; including most of the hard-working scholars, and the whole University personnel with the exception of the theologians, whose existence and feasibility there always gives psychologists new and more subtle puzzles to solve.

O.T.O. Phenomenon Books

It is only with the help of history not through his own personal experience, therefore that the scholar succeeds in bringing himself to a respectful seriousness, and to a certain timid deference in presence of religions; but even if he has elevated his sentiments towards them to point of gratitude, he has not personally advanced one step nearer to what still exists as church or piety: The practical indifference to religious matters in which he was born and brought up, usually sublimates itself in him into circumspection and cleanliness, which shuns contact with religious men and things; and it may be precisely the depth of his tolerance and humanity which prompts him to avoid the subtle distress which tolerance itself brings with it.

Whoever has looked deeply into the world has doubtless discovered what wisdom there is in the fact that men are superficial. It is their instinct of preservation which teaches them to be cursory, light, and false. Here and there one finds a passionate and exaggerated worship of "pure forms," among philosophers as well as among artists: Perhaps there is even an order of rank with respect to these burnt children, the born artists, who find the enjoyment of life only in trying to falsify its image as if taking protracted revenge against it — , one could tell to what degree life has disgusted them, by the extent to which they wish to see its image falsified, diluted, made transcendental, and deified, — one could include among the artists the religious men , as their highest class.

It is the profound, suspicious fear of an incurable pessimism that has compelled people for whole millennia to sink their teeth into [to cling to] a religious interpretation of existence: To love mankind for the sake of God — that has been the noblest and most far-fetched feeling achieved by human beings so far. That the love of mankind without any sanctifying ulterior motive is one additional stupidity and animality, that the propensity for this love of humanity has first to find its proportion, its refinement, its grain of salt and sprinkling of ambergris from some even higher inclination: The philosopher, as we free spirits understand him —, as the man of the most all-encompassing responsibility, who has the conscience for the collective development of mankind: For those who are strong and independent, predestined and trained to command, who embody the intellect and the skill of a ruling race, religion is an additional means for overcoming resistance, in order to be able to rule: That is how the Brahmins , for example, understood this fact: At the same time religion also gives inducement and opportunity to a portion of the governed to prepare themselves for future ruling and commanding, those slowly ascending ranks and classes, that is to say, those in which, through fortunate marriage traditions, volitional power and delight in self-mastery is always growing: And finally, to ordinary men, the vast majority, who exist for service and general utility, and are entitled to exist only to that end, religion gives invaluable contentment with their lot and condition, manifold peace of heart, ennoblement of obedience, one more source of joy and sorrow to share with their own kind, with something of transfiguration and embellishment, something that justify all their commonplaceness, all the baseness, all the semi-bestial poverty of their souls.

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Religion, together with the religious significance of life, sheds sunshine over such perpetually stricken men and even makes the sight of themselves tolerable to them, it works upon them just as an Epicurean philosophy usually works on suffering people of a higher class, refreshing, refining, as it were making the most use of suffering, and ultimately even sanctifying and justifying it. There is perhaps nothing so admirable in Christianity and Buddhism as their art of teaching even the lowliest people how to elevate themselves by piety to an illusory higher state of life, and thus enable them to remain satisfied with the real world within which they certainly find a harsh enough life — and necessarily have to!

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Among men, as among all other animals species, there is a surplus of defective, diseased, degenerating, frail, and necessarily suffering individuals; even among humans and even considering the fact that man is the animal not yet properly adapted to his environment , the successful cases are always the exception, the rare exception. What, then, is the attitude of the two greatest above-mentioned religions in relation to the excess of failed cases?

They seek to preserve and keep alive whatever can in any way be preserved, indeed they take the side of these upon principle, as the religions for the sufferers , they maintain that all those who suffer from life as from an illness are in the right, and they would like to ensure that every other experience of life be considered wrong and rendered impossible.

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However highly one might like to value this kind of preservative solicitude, inasmuch as, together with all the other types of man, it has been and is applied to the highest type of man, who up to this point has almost always been the type that has suffered most: One has to thank them for invaluable services; and who is sufficiently rich in gratitude not to feel poor at the contemplation of all that the "spiritual men" of Christianity have done for Europe up to this point!

And yet, when they had given comfort to the sufferers, courage to the oppressed and desperate, a staff and support to the helpless, and when they had lured away from society into cloisters and spiritual penitentiaries the inwardly-shattered and those gone mad: Turn all evaluation upside down — that is what they had to do! And to shatter the strong, to debilitate the great hopes, to cast suspicion on joy in beauty, twist into doubt, distress of conscience, and self-destruction all self-mastery, manly, conquering, and domineering, all instincts which are natural to the highest and most successful type of "man," indeed reverse the whole love for earthly things and for mastery of the earth into hatred of the earth and the earthly — that is the task the Church set for itself, and had to set for itself, until finally, according to its standard of value, "detachment from the world," "desensualization" and "the higher man" fused together into one feeling.

But if someone with opposite needs, no longer Epicurean, but with some divine hammer in his hand, were to approach this almost deliberate degeneration and stunting of man like the Christian European Pascal, for example , would he not have to cry out in anger, in pity, and horror: Was that a work for your hands? How you have hacked and botched my finest stone! What have you presumed to do! Christianity has so far been the most disastrous sort of self-presumption.

Men neither high-minded nor tough enough for the artistic refashioning of mankind ; men not strong or far-sighted enough to exercise the sublime self-constraint needed, and allowed the obvious law of thousands of failures and defeats to prevail; men not noble enough to see the abysmal disparity in order of rank and gulf of rank that separate man from man: Der christliche Glaube ist von Anbeginn Opferung: The details on display will be of a record at a particular level of the hierarchy.

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