the same and is eternally active:--at this moment an
infinity has already elapsed, that is to say, every possible evolution
must already have taken place. Consequently the present process of
evolution must be a repetition, as was also the one before it, as will
also be the one which will follow. And so on forwards and backwards!
Inasmuch as the entire state of all forces continually returns,
everything has existed an infinite number of times. Whether, apart from
this, anything exactly like something that formerly existed has ever
appeared, is completely beyond proof. It would seem that each complete
state of energy forms all qualities afresh even to the smallest
degree, so that two different complete states could have nothing in
common. Is it to be supposed that in one and the same complete states
two precisely similar things could appear--for instance two leaves?
I doubt it: it would take for granted that they had both had an
absolutely similar origin, and in that case we should have to assume
that right back in infinity two similar things had also existed despite
all the changes in the complete states and their creation of new
qualities--an impossible assumption.
Formerly it was thought that unlimited energy was a necessary corollary
to unlimited activity in time, and that this energy could be exhausted
by no form of consumption. Now it is thought that energy remains
constant and docs not require to be infinite. It is eternally active
but it is no longer able eternally to create new forms, it must repeat
itself: that is my conclusion.
An incalculable number of complete states of energy have existed,
but these have not been infinitely different: for if they had been,
unlimited energy would have been necessary. The energy of the universe
can only have a given number of possible qualities.
The endless evolution of new forms is a contradiction, for it would
imply eternally increasing energy. But whence would it grow? Whence
would it derive its nourishment and its surplus of nourishment? The
assumption that the universe is an organism contradicts the very
essence of the organic.
In what principle and belief is that decisive turning point in
philosophical thought best expressed which has come into being thanks
to the preponderance of the scientific spirit over the religious and
God-creating one? We insist upon the fact that the world as a sum of
energy must not be regarded as unlimited--we forbid ourselves the
concept infinite energy, because it seems incompatible with the concept
An unlimited number of new changes and states on the part of limited
energy is a contradiction, however extensive one may imagine
" It must be freely admitted that philology is to some extent borrowed from several other sciences, and is mixed together like a magic potion from the most outlandish liquors, ores, and bones.Page 1
Science has this in common with art, that the most ordinary, everyday thing appears to it as something entirely new and attractive, as if metamorphosed by witchcraft and now seen for the first time.Page 2
of classical philology derived from this theory.Page 3
The important problem referred to is _the question of the personality of Homer_.Page 4
The eyes of those critics were tirelessly on the lookout for discrepancies in the language and thoughts of the two poems; but at this time also a history of the Homeric.Page 5
poem and its tradition was prepared, according to which these discrepancies were not due to Homer, but to those who committed his words to writing and those who sang them.Page 6
The difficulty of answering this question, however, is increased when we seek a reply in another direction, from the standpoint of the poems themselves which have come down to us.Page 7
to have become active; the happiest people, in the happiest period of its existence, in the highest activity of fantasy and formative power, was said to have created those immeasurable poems.Page 8
There is no more dangerous assumption in modern aesthetics than that of _popular poetry_ and _individual poetry_, or, as it is usually called, _artistic poetry_.Page 9
This much-abused contrast, therefore, is necessary only when the term _individual poem_ is understood to mean a poem which has not grown out of the soil of popular feeling, but which has been composed by a non-popular poet in a non-popular atmosphere--something which has come to maturity in the study of a learned man, for example.Page 10
When, however, we have merely the works and the name of the writer, it is almost impossible to detect the individuality, at all events, for those who put their faith in the mechanism in question; and particularly when the works are perfect, when they are pieces of popular poetry.Page 11
This transformation was contemporary with the rationalistic criticism which made Homer the magician out to be a possible poet, which vindicated the material and formal traditions of those numerous epics as against the unity of the poet, and gradually removed that heavy load of cyclical epics from Homer's shoulders.Page 12
But that stringing together of some pieces as the manifestations of a grasp of art which was not yet highly developed, still less thoroughly comprehended and generally esteemed, cannot have been the real Homeric deed, the real Homeric epoch-making event.Page 13
" This period regards Homer as belonging to the ranks of artists like Orpheus, Eumolpus, Daedalus, and Olympus, the mythical discoverers of a new branch of art, to whom, therefore, all the later fruits which grew from the new branch were thankfully dedicated.Page 14
You honour the immortal masterpieces of the Hellenic mind in poetry and sculpture, and think yourselves so much more fortunate than preceding generations, which had to do without them; but you must not forget that this whole fairyland once lay buried under mountains of prejudice, and that the blood and sweat and arduous labour of innumerable followers of our science were all necessary to lift up that world from the chasm into which it had sunk.Page 15
great homogeneous views alone remain.