Class #5, Feb 2: Friedrich Schiller, The Poet of Freedom

Speaker: Will Wertz

In his essay entitled “Can We Change the Universe?” Lyndon LaRouche wrote: “Schiller’s greatest achievement, beyond what Shakespeare accomplished at his best, lies in Schiller’s degree of emphasis upon the principle of the sublime.” The fundamental issue facing humanity today is whether a great moment finds a small-minded people, which would lead to a tragic result, such as occurred in the French Revolution, or whether present moment finds individuals, who like Joan of Arc, are capable of acting sublimely in behalf of all of humanity. This class will focus on the distinction between the sublime as expressed in Schiller’s play “The Virgin of Orleans” and in his essays on the Sublime and tragedy as expressed in his Wallenstein trilogy and his play Don Carlos. Other works by Schiller will be drawn on such as the Legislation of Lycurgus and Solon to contrast the imperial, oligarchical model of human society established in Sparta to the republican model of human society established in Athens, which serves as a metaphor for the contrast today between the Anglo-Dutch or British imperial model versus the American system. Overall, Schiller’s notion, as expressed in his Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man, that political freedom is only possible through the role of beautiful art in educating the emotions of the individual so that he or she acts freely based on Agape (love) rather in a Kantian manner, based merely on obeying external moral precepts, will be developed as the prerequisite for ensuring durable political change.

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