Karl Wilhelm Von Humboldt Quotes (displaying: 1 - 27 of 27 quotes)
It is an absolutely vain endeavor to attempt to reconstruct or even comprehend the nature of a human being by simply knowing the forces which have acted upon him. However deeply we should like to penetrate, however close we seem to be drawing to truth, one unknown quantity eludes us: man's primordial energy, his original self, that personality which was given him with the gift of life itself. On it rests man's true freedom; it alone determines his real character.
The sum of the knowable, that soil which the human spirit must till, lies between all the languages and independent of them, at their center. But man cannot approach this purely objective realm other than through his own modes of cognition and feeling, in other words: subjectively. Just where study and research touch the highest and deepest point, just there does the mechanical, logical use of reason - whatever in us can most easily be separated from our uniqueness as individual human beings - find itself at the end of its rope. From here on we need a process of inner perception and creation. And all that we can plainly know about this is its result, namely, that objective truth always rises from the entire energy of subjective individuality.
The best and noblest parts of man depend precious little on culture, education, and whatever else it is called. One can never have enough respect for true humanity as it is visible in the persons of the totally uneducated classes, and never enough humility if one sometimes believes one is superior to them.