Alexander von Humboldt

Those who travel the oceans and lands of this vast world are haunted by the monotonous, sad images of the lacerations caused by humans – indeed, as does the historian who examines events across the ages. Therefore, those who try to find serenity amid the discordant scenes gladly look deeply into the silent life of plants and the sacred natural forces or abandon themselves to an innate instinct, turn their gaze skyward toward the distant stars that in undisturbed harmony continue their eternal motion.

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2 Responses to Alexander von Humboldt

  1. shinichi says:

    Aspects of nature, in different lands and different climates with scientific elucidations

    by Alexander von Humboldt

  2. shinichi says:

    Art of the Landscape

    by Raffaele Milani

    In Humboldt, we encounter once again Kant and Schiller’s concept of the sublime in nature in the correspondence between the limitless (the ocean, the sky) and the impressions of the senses. Humboldt also emphasizes the contemplative study of nature, beginning with the veduta when, for example, he speaks of panoramas wrapped in mists, describing them as full of mystery, and of the anxiety that the infinite arouses in us. According to him, the diversity of nature’s aspects is represented by the variety of feelings and thoughts that it inspires. The landscape is historical and cultural, a network of relationships that affect the whole of human experience. In this sense, we can understand how Humboldt could call Kant’s mathematical sublime contemplative sublime (Kontemplativerhabene). The attraction of nature is joined to the unknown and to the perturbation of sight. His wonderful descriptions reveal a profound wisdom, as seen in the following passage:

    Those who travel the oceans and lands of this vast world are haunted by the monotonous, sad images of the lacerations caused by humans – indeed, as does the historian who examines events across the ages. Therefore, those who try to find serenity amid the discordant scenes gladly look deeply into the silent life of plants and the sacred natural forces or abandon themselves to an innate instinct, turn their gaze skyward toward the distant stars that in undisturbed harmony continue their eternal motion.

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