Man’s Duty to Society

From Meingast’s notebook circa 1880: “For many a man, the totality of social connexions is at bottom nothing but a grumpily dignified scheme—a dull procession that one joins in, reluctantly and without zest, once in a while. Such a relation between ‘I’ and ‘Thou’ assumes instead of creating and forces into the foreground something entirely […]

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Love and Repetition

If you repeat anything for long enough, you will be brought to love the activity or the object (if the activity is one best characterized by a transitive verb). Say a word aloud many times and its delicate contours will float on the palate rather than sit dully in the mouth, merely tolerated as a […]

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On America

  You play with ace and diamond, bat and ball, horse and track, gun and fowl, but, frolicsome Americans, is there not a finer game to be played? You exalt brief shows of strength or cunning but sigh impatiently at any talk of wisdom or grace. And from the wild new-world grandstands with their sunlit […]

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Meingast on Vacation

All this (I sweep my hands out in front of me) that I ostend, these Prussian meadows with their red poppies, with their pale caducous calyxes, the black firs rumbling from the sea winds, my feet on the gravel of the path (I am always careful not to sunder the lengthened warming worm-bodies scattered here […]

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The Elixir of Sunbeams

An entry on Meingast was written for the 1923 edition of the Grundriß der Geschichte der Philosophie (Schwabe & Co Verlag), but Meingast’s attorney wrote a short letter demanding that it not be included because Meingast did not want “to erect his tombstone quite yet.” The publisher wasn’t able to supply a draft of the […]

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The Eternal Recurrence of the Slightly Different

Although highly influenced by Nietzsche, Meingast departed from Nietzsche on several key points. One crucial point of contention concerns Nietzsche’s idea of the eternal recurrence. Meingast’s fervent disagreement with Nietzsche on this topic is summarized nicely in the following representative passage: “Nietzsche’s idea of the eternal recurrence remained long in my mind, from Silvester to […]

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On Transcendental Arguments

“The fate of all transcendental arguments is abject failure. This is because the world is made possible by the individual himself. When one reflects, one separates oneself from oneself, and can no longer find oneself in the world, through reflection, as the condition for its possibility. Man chases after himself but will never catch up […]

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Meingast’s Guide to the “Good” Life

From Guide to the “Good” Life (1926): It’s common Austrian wisdom that the more one reads and thinks, the sicker and uglier the body becomes. Mountaineering, river bathing, shooting, skiing, and horseback riding can reverse the process if these activities are done regularly before the subject reaches 35. After that, the subject cannot reverse the corporeally […]

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Hallowed Hollowness II

“Gentlemen! We find ourselves in a crucial epoch. We, so called ‘civilized’ men of intellect, are only now emerging from a primitive phase in which one mode of thought has been elevated to the highest degree due to its usefulness in practical matters. Surrendering to purposive intellectuality has helped the primitive man over many hurdles. Building […]

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On Practical Reasoning

From Insouciance in Deliberation (1899):  To really deliberate, that is, to vividly imagine oneself persisting into one future, adjusting that mysterious stew of antecedent beliefs and evaluative biases (which may, of course, just be two Gestalten of the very same essence) in such a way that the resultant future “self” is one wants to assume is […]

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Hallowed Hollowness

From “Hallowed Hollowness: On Machines and Modernity”: “The modern man of science wonders to himself, “If I were to arrange things thus-and-so, how would y then be?” But what the scientist fails to see is that this is just the manipulation of what is arbitrary [eigenmächtig], rearrangement of labels chosen for their aesthetic charm and not for […]

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On the Aim of Reason

“Knowledge, for Reason, is but a passing stage. Once, through its effortful striving, it has reached knowledge of the world entire, Reason coagulates into a knowing that knows itself. Knowledge is the being of Reason, and having reached being, Reason can act no more. When nothing escapes its gaze, and every corner of the world […]

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Meingast’s poem for children

Exciting news, all! I’ve located a manuscript of Meingast’s 1903 poem for children, “Entartete Entenarten.” It’s in a library in Lecce— hopefully I’ll be able to look at it this summer. I remember reading that Kolo Moser wanted to do illustrations to accompany the text. Does anyone know whether Moser actually painted anything?

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On Intuition

“There are hordes of people today who would like us to believe that in their wisest moments they were doing their thinking with the help of some special faculty. Whether one calls it divine illumination or, in the modern fashion, merely intuition, it is a hindrance to real understanding. Nothing is to be gained by […]

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