Sunday, 15 November 2015

The Paths of Novalis


Men travel by many different paths. Whoever tracks and compares their ways will see wonderful figures arising ; figures that seem to belong to the great Manuscript of Design which we descry everywhere, on wings of birds, on the shells of eggs, in clouds, in snow, is crystals, in rock formations, in frozen water, within and upon mountains, in plants, in beasts, in men, in the light of day, in slabs of pitch and glass when they are jarred or struck, in filings around a magnet, and in the singular Coincidences of Chance. In these things we seem to catch an idea of the key, the grammar to this Manuscript, but this idea will not fix itself into any abiding conception, and seems as if it were unwilling to become in its turn the key to higher things. It seems as though an Alcahest had been poured over the mind of man. Only momentarily do his wishes, his thoughts, incorporate themselves. On such wise do his ideas arise, but, after a short while, all swims once more vaguely before his eyes.
(from The Disciples at Sais by Novalis)

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