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Seventh chapter

The Bartholomew Night

The truth is: we are supposed to be, and are, miserable. The main source of the most serious evils that strike man is man himself: homo homini lupus. Whoever takes this latter into consideration sees the world as a hell which surpasses that of Dante in that one must be the devil of the other.

The earth hell

We are now approaching the blackest period of modern European times. It is the period from the middle of the sixteenth century to the Thirty Years' War: the time of the so-called religious battles, an almost centenary of St. Bartholomew's Night. If Christianity and war are already in an inextricable contradiction, then this gruesome paradox, which taints the entire history of the Christian peoples, reached its most grimaceous height at that time, as those Christians fighting with one another in cunning, cruelty and shameless mockery of all divine and human Moral laws exceeded anything that was ever committed by Tatars and Turks, Huns and Hottentots. For in these there was only a blind animal drive to destroy, while the Christians of the age of the Counter-Reformation were a system developed with the highest intellectual refinement and the perfect art of infamy. For three generations there was a race of inhumanity in the most developed and civilized countries of Europe, indulging in merciless vindictiveness, insidious malice and all those diabolical instincts for whose annihilation the Savior had taken upon himself the cross.

It must be said, however, that of these two black parties, the Catholics were undoubtedly the blacker. In the previous chapter we had the opportunity to get to know Protestantism in its weaknesses and limitations, and have come to the conclusion that it is by no means to be regarded as the absolutely higher and more advanced form of Christian faith, as is so often assumed with the utmost for granted. yes, that in many ways it means a step backwards, a flattening, materialization and removal from the original meaning of Christ's teaching. In the period of the dawning Counter-Reformation, however, it was the other way round: Reason, morality, conscience, freedom, and enlightenment were on the side of the heretics. But this is only to be understood in relative terms: there can be no talk of real morality, intellectual sovereignty, a sense of responsibility or even freedom of thought on either side.

Politics can never be separated from lies, filth, brutality and selfishness; but in that period political wickedness had reached one of its most terrifying degrees of culmination. Everywhere: in Spain, in Italy, in France, in England, in Scotland we see true specimens of die-hard villains at the head of public affairs, unfeeling mass murderers from the savagery of prehistoric man and at the same time from an ice-cold calculation that puts them well below the standard of prehistoric man. Alba is only the summarizing type for hundreds of similar moral freaks who at that time contaminated European soil like a suddenly shot up poisonous flora. Even in the much-vaunted England of Elizabeth, the heights of society were teeming with hypocritical greedy bandits who would shrink from no crime if it promised satisfaction to their hunger for power or greed. The schism in the Church had essentially only produced negative results: it had merely destroyed the belief in the authority of divine norms, and a new ethic based on profane considerations of natural insight and equity, which could have replaced the medieval one, only dawned in some few enlightened minds.

The counter-attack

It was only after the Peace of Augsburg in 1555, which was very wrongly named, that religious fanaticism began to unfold its full devastating force in both camps. Indeed, the terms of this treaty contained the seeds of the greatest strife and confusion. The formula " cuius regio, eius religio«, Which granted the authorities the free choice of national denomination, but only to them, meant an outrageous violation of the freedom of conscience of all subjects; the famous reservatum ecclesiasticum, which decreed that ecclesiastical imperial estates should lose office, territory and income if they convert to Protestantism, immediately after its proclamation led to bitter discussions and counter-declarations; and the Calvinists were not included in the settlement at all: there were now three official religious parties that fought one another fiercely.

Reformism was already as good as the state religion in the north: in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, in England, Scotland and Holland, in northern Germany and the German order area, but it was also already in the west of Germany and in the Austrian hereditary countries, in Poland and Hungary , in Bavaria and Bohemia the prevailing form of faith, publicly or secretly, and all indications indicated that it would also achieve victory in France and Italy. Everywhere, even in the dioceses, in the Papal States and in arch-clerical Spain, there were small groups of ardent Protestants; but nowhere, not even in the countries most loyal to the Pope, was there anything other than lame Catholics. The reformation of all of Europe seemed only a matter of time.

But it is precisely at this moment that the Counter-Reformation begins. Until then, the Roman Church had either been completely indifferent to religious matters or was itself reformed or purely politically oriented: for the Curia it was much more important that the House of Habsburg not become overpowering than that some small heresy spread, which was believed to be that, like all previous ones, it would be easily suffocated or assimilated, and so one could even observe the strange spectacle several times that the Pope supported the Protestant movement, which was centrifugal not only in religious but also in political terms, supported against the emperor. But now the immense danger was beginning to be recognized. And it turned out that Rome was still the strongest power center in Europe.

The system that the Catholic Church adopted to curb the Reformation movement was very clever and insightful, but very delicate and complicated to handle and therefore required people with unusual tact, worldview and human judgment, who should, however, soon make themselves available. It consisted, on the one hand, of formulating the norms of faith with a hitherto unused sharpness in order to cut off any possibility of a gradual transition to heresy, and, on the other hand, of proving the greatest suppleness, laxity and modernity within these norms, so that freer impulses were also proven and contemporary demands could find their satisfaction.

The Tridentinum

The resolutions of the Council of Trent initially served to establish a clear dogmatic demarcation. Above all, these stated that the Church had the sole right to interpret Scripture: this removed the taproot of all heresy, Lutheran lay Christianity. In the very difficult question of justification, they took a middle position between Augustinism and semi-Pelagianism: good works are necessary, but are only made meritorious through the grace of God. In the doctrine of the sacraments they stuck rigidly to the seven sacraments, all of which were instituted by Christ himself: to make concessions here would have been dangerous; they also maintained the strictly orthodox point of view on the question of mass and transubstantiation. Abuses are admitted and reprimanded at the indulgence, but the redeeming effects are reaffirmed. On the whole, the Tridentinum signifies less an exhaustive codification of the Catholic teachings than an exact adjustment of the boundaries against the new heresies, especially against Lutheranism: it is clearly only in the rejection, on the other hand in the positive statements, and evidently on purpose, vacillating, ambiguous, patchy, stretchy. This brought about an impact of arbitrariness and sophistication, pseudo-morality and secularism in Catholicism on the one hand, but also an element of liberality and flexibility, expansiveness and cosmopolitanism that was previously unheard of to it on the other.

Pan-European intolerance

In any case, the severity with which the line of intolerance between orthodoxy and heterodoxy had now been drawn gave the signal for the development of a militant, aggressive, re-conquering papism; and in fact from that point in time the awakening of a pan-European intolerance of a venom and exclusivity that was only sporadically observed in the first half of the century. However, the Tridentinum was not the cause, but only one of the numerous symptoms of this general psychosis, which also extended to members of all other denominations.

As far as the Calvinists are concerned, their extreme doctrine of predestination, which divided the whole of humanity into the chosen and the damned, forced them to deny the right to life for every non-believer. But the Lutherans, too, were eager to develop a system of the most rigid intolerance. Their dogmatic disputes were all the more absurd as they did not have a fixed dogma at all and, according to the whole nature of their denomination, could not have it. Melanchthon's last words are said to have been that he was happy to hear from the rabies theologorum be redeemed. Indeed, during his lifetime the Protestants had split into orthodox Lutherans and Melanchthonians. In Electoral Saxony, these Philippists, as they called themselves after Melanchdthon's first name, were considered secret Calvinists, "Cryptocalvinists," persecuted, expelled from their offices, often banished or imprisoned. The "concord formula" was raised as the sole guideline for faith, a compilation of anti-Filipino sentences which, however, did not satisfy anyone and only gave rise to new, silly quarrels, which is why it was nicknamed "discord formula". In the Electoral Palatinate, on the other hand, Calvinism was established in the "Heidelberg Catechism" and any preacher who refused to accept it was expelled from the country. But Lutheranism did not last in Electoral Saxony either: a change of throne brought down the concord formula, and Philippism came to power through Chancellor Nikolaus Crell. The next regent, however, again preferred the Lutheran form of confession, Crell was imprisoned and beheaded after years of intrigue by his enemies, who even took refuge with the Catholics. Such an official change of religion even took place four times in the Electoral Palatinate, of course under constant harassment and violence against all those of different minds. In short: it was not surprising that insightful contemporaries claimed that the Reformation had brought a more severe tyranny of faith into the world than it ever existed under the papacy.

From Poland the one founded by Lälius and Faustus Sozzini and codified in the Rakow Catechism won Socinianism some spread. He is decidedly anti-Trinitarian, which is why his followers also called themselves Unitarians. They taught that Christ did not sacrifice himself for the sins of the world, but only gave a new doctrine and established a moral example. Only the Father of Jesus Christ was considered God to them; but after his death he raised his son to divine dignity because of his purity and obedience, and that is why one is entitled, indeed obliged, to worship both. They declared baptism and the sacrament to be useful but not absolutely necessary institutions. The older Sozzini refuted the traditional doctrine of justification with a shrewd but somewhat superficial argument that has been repeated many times since: Christ could not have suffered as the representative of all humanity, since one can only represent others if one has authority from them. but the coming generations could not possibly issue such an authority to the Savior; moreover, only monetary debts are transferable, but not moral debts and penalties. This purely legal deduction was adopted by the famous legal scholar Hugo Grotius, among others, although it is completely inconclusive, since it moves on a completely different level than the theological one. But the mere possibility of such an argument shows the evil consequences of that rationalization of the concept of satisfaction, which Paul undertook at the time, partly according to Roman penal analogies, partly according to Talmudic-dialectical analogies, and whose weaknesses we have already pointed out.

They touched the Socinians and Grotius Arminians or remonstrants in Holland against whom the Gomarians or counter-demonstrators raised. The dispute was primarily about predestination, which Jacob Arminius and his followers declared to refer to faith, since God in his omniscience had foreseen in each individual whether he would have the faith or not, while the Gomarians following Franz Gomarus asserted that election is the primary thing, faith is only its effect. What unbridgeable gap should exist between these two conceptions is inconceivable to a fully sensible person; but because of this ridiculous controversy, thousands were cruelly persecuted, the excellent statesman Oldenbarneveldt was executed, and Grotius was sentenced to life imprisonment, from which he, however, happily escaped. Theological disputes took on such forms even in the Netherlands, which at the time was rightly praised as the freest country in Europe.


In England, too, the Reformation turned one church into three. When Henry the Eighth broke away from the Pope (partly to steal church property, partly to be able to indulge in his sadistic bluebeard passions without being disturbed), he left the hierarchical structure and almost all dogmas and institutions of the Catholic Church and only changed the top by adding took the place of the Pope and demanded the oath of supremacy from all clergy, by which they had to recognize him as the highest head. From this developed the strange form of the so-called Anglican Church or High church: a Lutheranism with prelates and bishops, ear confession and celibacy, a Catholicism without Pope and St. Peter's penny, orders and monasteries. And it was in the nature of a reform so absurd and frivolous that anyone who had any real religious conviction would expose himself to persecution. If he was a devout Catholic who was devoted to the Pope and viewed the king's subsequent marriages as adultery, he was beheaded as a high treason; if he was an honest Protestant who rejected ceremonies and considered marriage of priests to be permitted, he was hanged as a church molester; if he was a strict Calvinist who denied the change of bread, he was burned as a heretic. The arbitrary hybrid creation of the high church has had the effect that in the areas of the English crown not only Catholicism asserted itself with particular tenacity, especially in Ireland, but also the evangelical doctrine preserved a great purity, like this Puritans Already indicated by their name: their main area of ​​distribution was Scotland, where their ruthless and morally strict leader John Knox founded a church that was built solely on the principle of leadership by the church elders, the presbyters, which is why it was founded at the same time Presbyterian called; later they were also called because of their contrast to the official church Dissenters or Nonconformistsbecause of the alliance they had formed to protect their denomination, Covenanters and because of the complete state and ecclesiastical independence that they claimed for each of their individual parishes, Independents: however, this latter term is generally only applied to a particularly radical group within Puritanism.

The natural law

In short: all of Europe will be a huge battlefield of warring church parties.During this period, religious or, more correctly, theological interest engulfs every other kind of community: a state that Macaulay aptly sums up in the words: "The physical boundaries have been superseded by moral ones." his nationality, not determined by race, language or family ties, but merely by his creed. The Guisen and their followers acted as traitors to the French country by conspiring with Spain; the Huguenots also acted as traitors by secretly negotiating with Germany. The Scottish Catholics sought help from France; the reformed provinces of the Spanish Netherlands called the English into the country. Queen Elizabeth's papist subjects wanted the Spanish Armada to win; the Puritan subjects of Mary Queen of Scots hoped for an English invasion. The German Protestants left the Lorraine bishoprics to the French hereditary enemy; the French Protestants ceded Havre to the English hereditary enemy. In connection with this are the completely new theories of the state that emerged at the time. Your main representatives are Jean Bodin, Johannes Althusius and the aforementioned Hugo Grotius. He is the founder of the conception of the so-called "natural law" which prevailed in Europe throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. According to her, law and state are not based on the direct institution of God, but are the work of man, arising from our reasonable natural disposition, our instinct for self-preservation and our inclination to social union. Althusius imagines the emergence of the state in the same way: first there was the family, this became the tribe, later communities were formed from these provinces, and finally it came to the state; This therefore does not consist of a sum of individuals, but of a sum of corporations, and consequently the highest power in the state can only belong to the corporations, the organized people, the classes: this is the famous doctrine of "popular sovereignty" and its effects were monstrous. But Bodin, who was still a supporter of the absolute monarchy, declared that the sovereignty of the prince was limited by religion and morality. But precisely this is the crucial point, the contemporary punch line of all these theories, and this is where the school of the "monarchomaks," the fighters against princes, who advocated the principle that any state interference in the religion of the subjects is prohibited: the principle "Cuius regio, eius religio" be both illegal and immoral. The ruler has his power only from the people, who have transferred it to him by contract: this is the so-called "commission theory". If he exceeds his powers, in particular by violating the freedom of conscience of his subjects, the contract can be revoked at any time: in this case the people have that ius resistendi, the right to resist, to depose the tyrant and, if he does not voluntarily give way, even to kill. The practitioners of this theory were Jakob Clément, who knocked down Henry the Third, Franz Ravaillac, who stabbed Henry the Fourth, Balthasar Gérard, who shot William of Orange, Johann Savage and Anton Babington, who started a widespread plot against the life of Queen Elisabeth, and the London powder conspirators who nearly blew up Jacob First, his family, and Parliament. It should be emphasized that all of the above were fanatical Catholics.

The army of Jesus

The Jesuits have not infrequently been accused of having suggested these and numerous other crimes, and in fact their teachings were capable of at least giving rise to misunderstandings about the permissibility of political murder. Before the powder conspirators made their arrangements, they asked for the opinion of a higher Jesuit; the answer was: with such an undoubtedly good cause, it would be forgivable if some "innocent people" were also killed. But such views were in the spirit of the times. Jakob Clément was a Dominican; and when he asked whether it was a mortal sin when a priest kills a tyrant, his superior told him that in this case the priest was merely acting "irregularly." But even the Huguenot preachers, to whom Poltrot de Meré, the murderer of Duke Francis von Guise, had previously revealed his intention, limited themselves to asking him whether he was not putting the salvation of his soul at risk.

The Jesuit order is one of the most remarkable creations in world history: it united in itself all the contradictions of that violent and witty, bigoted and criminal transition period that gave birth to it and to which it gave its face. Its founder Ignatius von Loyola is actually, very similar to his great opponent Luther, an appearance that still comes from the Middle Ages, a mixture of a bold knight and an enraptured saint. His basic being was extravagant, unworldly daydreaming; but precisely because of this he conquered half of Europe: his ecstatic fantasies were stronger than reality, they violated reality. The central idea that dominated his whole life consisted of nothing other than the conviction that the mind was sovereign and that our physique was a mere instrument on which, if it had the necessary willpower and self-discipline, it could play after remedying it. yes, that he is able to shape the whole world in his own image, if only he is seriously determined to do so, in short: that the soul is stronger than matter. Loyola began his career as a handsome, amorous courtier and glorious, death-defying officer. During the siege of Pampelona, ​​a large stone smashed his left foot and broke both legs during a daring fight. A clumsy surgeon put one of his legs so badly that it had to be broken again. But it was still shortened, and he was forced to carry heavy stretching weights on it for months. Under these pains the longing and the decision to become a martyr of the Catholic Church grew in him. When he was reasonably healed, he made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He distributed the travel money his brother gave him among the poor. On the ship he gave penitential sermons, mocked by the rough sailors. He whipped himself three times a day, spent seven hours in prayer, his food was water and bread, his bed was the bare ground. On his return he gave itinerant sermons in Spain, which were the most popular. Soon, however, he realized that knowledge was also necessary to guide people: so he learned Latin with great difficulty in his thirty-third year and then went to the university in Alcala. The first beginnings of the Compañia de Jesuswhich the Pope solemnly confirmed in 1540.

The very name suggests that it was an organization that was formed on the basis of military analogies. At the top stood the general of the order, who was not responsible to anyone but the Pope, the provincial generals were subordinate to him and from these numerous steps led down to the common soldier. It was of particular importance that a strict prohibition excluded the Jesuits from all spiritual offices and dignities: this concentrated their energies entirely on the service of the Order. The main vow they had to take was that of obedience: "As with the bodies of the world," it said in their instruction, "according to an eternal law the lower circle follows the higher in its movement, so the serving organ must at the gesture of the upper one The principle of subordination was practiced by them with the same rigor and without exception as in an army: they were instructed to train and exercise blind subservience among their superiors to the point where man was "like a piece of wood or become meat ": this is the famous Jesuit" cadaver obedience ". Those devised by Loyola were used to reinforce this and similar tests of willpower exercitia spiritualia militaria, those artistic instructions for mastering and directing desires and affects and even ideas and memory images, which Karl Ludwig Schleich was not entirely wrong in comparing with the Prussian drill, although this is something much more spiritual.

The ubiquity of Jesuitism

On the other hand, however, this order, which made all its members impersonal uniform tools, showed an admirable ability to individualize the tasks of each individual according to his natural dispositions and to always place him in the place where he would be most useful and his Could develop the most abundant powers and inclinations. This virtuoso technique of human use is the reason why so varied judgments have been made about the Jesuits at all times. The truth is that all are correct, because the Jesuit was not a definite phenomenon, but as diverse, changeable and a thousand forms as human nature. The Jesuits have done much that is perishable and much that is benevolent, much that is noble and much that is evil; but everything they did they did as well as they could. They were the most brilliant cavaliers and the strictest ascetics, the most self-sacrificing missionaries and the most cunning merchants, the most devoted servants and the most cradled state leaders, the wisest pastors and the most tasteful theater directors, the most capable doctors and the most skilful murderers. They built churches and factories, led pilgrimages and conspiracies, increased the doctrines of mathematics and dogmatics, suppressed free research and made a number of important discoveries themselves; in some of their writings they spread Christian doctrine in its highest purity and allowed the Indians to use theirs To continue to worship gods under the name of Christ saved the Indians in Paraguay from the brutality and annihilation fury of the Spaniards and incited the Parisians to commit the mass murder on Bartholomew Night. They were capable of anything in the fullest sense of the word. But their mysterious ubiquity made them even more sinister and irresistible than this Protean gift. They were literally everywhere. Nobody could be known with absolute certainty whether he was not a Jesuit or whether he was under Jesuit influence. No place on earth was too high for them, none too low. Their traces could be found in the dirtiest huts as well as in the secret chambers of the princes, and even in China and Japan there were Jesuit missions. Above all, however, they knew how to take control of the three most powerful spiritual means of power of the time: the pulpit, the confessional and the school. Their sermons knew how to combine dignity with courtesy, seriousness with topicality; their class books surpassed all others in terms of clarity, vividness and liveliness. Their schools were famous all over the world: nowhere could they find such discreet, patient, knowledgeable and stimulating teachers; At the universities, too, they were represented in a wide variety of subjects by important teachers. “When I see,” said Bacon, “what this order is doing in education, in the training of both learning and character, I remember what Agesilaus said of Barnabazus: since you are the way you are, you wish I, you would be ours. ”And as confessors, they showed even more their perfect ability to meet all wishes and needs. They could be pious and morally strict, if the confessor wanted it that way, and they could pass over the most serious offenses with all-understanding forgiveness, if only they were able to assert themselves in the influential position of the council of conscience.

From their practice of confession arose that system of hushing up, smoothing out, fading out and bending into shape, which has achieved a not very honorable fame under the name of Jesuitism. The principle of the end that justifies the means is not found in the writings of the Jesuits, but they taught much that comes very close to this principle. Already in their first statute there is the instruction that no member can be behaved to acts that involve a mortal sin; but with the addition: "Unless the superior commands it in the name of Jesus Christ", whereby the antecedent for practice appears as good as canceled. And by the doctrine that with every act only the intentio that unlawful acts are authoritative and therefore also justifiable if they are done with good intentions, as well as the notorious "secret reservation" that was declared admissible in oaths, testimonies and promises, laid the groundwork for that common Christianity of unscrupulousness and sophistry that culminates in probabilism, the doctrine according to which one can do anything if it is recommended for "probable" reasons. And in addition, the Jesuits have unfortunately found in Pascal, the deepest thinker and most brilliant writer of the Baroque, an opponent who in his Lettres provinciales, a masterpiece of creative irony, summarizing with devastating sharpness and completeness everything that can be argued against their system. Taken all in all, no objective judge can deny that Jesuitism was created and sustained by the noblest and most self-forgetting devotion to a great idea; but from the very beginning a poisonous germ lived in him, deadly for his enemies, but also deadly for him: he had forgotten that one must never and nowhere lie, not even "for the glory of God", least of all there.

Philip the Second

While the Jesuits were waging an underground mine war against the Reformation across Europe, Philip the Second confronted them with open brutal violence. The question arises as to whether this ruler was not to some degree deranged. It was undoubtedly his son Don Carlos; likewise his grandmother Johanna, the first queen of united Spain, called the "madwoman". In any case, the specifically Habsburg psychosis, of which we have already spoken, appears condensed into a particularly blatant form. His life was dominated by a single obsession: the complete restoration of the Roman universal Church and the spread of Spanish absolutism all over the world. Every hour of his more than forty-year-old government was devoted to this purpose, to which purpose he safely sacrificed everything that was in his power to sacrifice: ships and gold, fields and people, the blood of the soldiers of the Spaniards and the blood of the heretics of the Dutch, the calm of his neighbors and the welfare of his subjects, and at the end of his career he saw not a single one of his goals approached, all the powers he had fought all his life in victorious ascent, self-loathing and impoverished, powerless and paralyzed, and the sun that did not perish in his kingdom had nothing to show in it but decline and misery.

In Philip, not only the Habsburg but also the Spanish essence experienced one of its strongest and most absurd summaries. The Spanish Hidalgo is bigoted: Philip was fanatical; he is ruthless and brutal: Philip walked over corpses; he regards himself as a higher being: Philip thought he was a god; it is exclusive: Philipp was aloof; he is gloomy: Philipp was not to be seen at all. Only the highest grandees had access to him, and even these were only allowed to approach him on their knees; he gave his orders in half sentences, the content of which one had to guess. Nobody was allowed to mount a horse on which he had ridden, nobody was allowed to marry a wife whom he had owned: in truth he was considered by the people as a sacred person, as a kind of priest-king. His life flowed in the most desolate monotony: he always ate the same dishes, which were served punctually at the same hour; he always wore the same black robe, even the medals were black; Every day he made the same trip through the unattractive, deserted surroundings of his castle; in his later years he only left his room to hear mass. In his whole attitude he embodied the Spanish ideal of sosiego, the rigid, impenetrable calm and external serenity that none of their inner impulses reveals; He never got too close to anyone, nor to anyone, he was never unfriendly, but never human either: he possessed that cold, distant tact that humiliates and hurts more than the most brutal arrogance.He is said to have laughed only once in his life: that was when he received the news of Bartholomew's Night; Incidentally, the Pope at that time expressed his joy even more clearly: he celebrated the greatest massacre in modern history with a commemorative coin and a large Te Deum and thus stained the chair of Peter more than all his predecessors with their sodomy, simony and incest.

The world scorial

There was only one thing in which Philip was not Spanish: he was extremely hardworking. From morning to evening he sat over his government papers, he did everything personally, everything in writing and everything only after careful consideration. But even over this restless industriousness and loyalty to duty lay the curse of sterility. There was nothing creative about his activity: it was the subordinate treadmill diligence of the chancellery that is an end in itself. This is one of the many contradictions that have caused his life's work to fail. He had the global plans of Napoleon and wanted to carry them out with the means of a mindless, clumsy bureaucratism that stuck to the individual. This viscous snail-like character characterizes his entire regime; his motto was: »Me and the time« and his stereotypical answer to all, even the most urgent, inquiries was: mañana, tomorrow! In addition, there was the addiction, inherent in almost all bureaucratic administrative systems, to suspect everything. He didn't quite trust any of his servants; he always tried to play one off against the other; great military or diplomatic successes, great popularity, outstanding gifts made him uneasy. The art of hypocrisy, which as a Spaniard he had mastered to the highest degree, and the ingratitude that had become second nature to him as a Habsburg: the two most brilliant victims of this method were Egmont, the victor, helped him against such mostly imagined threats to royal omnipotence of Saint Quentin and Gravelingen, who was most exquisitely flattered and celebrated when his death had already been decided, and Don Juan d'Austria, who, after forever annihilating the Turkish naval power in the Battle of Lepanto, was at the height of the royal favor suddenly died an enigmatic death. Through this system of paranoia and petty paternalism, Philip turned the proud Spaniards into a nation of lackeys, spies and vagabonds. The most expressive symbol of his being is the Eskorial, which, in the form of the grate on which St. Lawrence suffered, rises in the stony wasteland: gray, cold, monotonous, joyless, aloof, more monastery and grave than residence and palace. And what he left behind was nothing but a huge one, in fact escorial, in German: a dump of slag. It is said that when Philip felt the end of his life approaching, he had a skull brought to him on which a golden crown rested; and he is said to have died staring steadfastly: this moving act is a splendid symbol of this powerful and senseless ruler's life and, at the same time, of the high spirituality that lived in this monster.

The destructive effect of Philip extended to everything that was under his government: nowhere did he show the slightest understanding of the special living conditions, which every human and national peculiarity needs for its prosperous development. The Spanish home countries were under the double pressure of state despotism and the ecclesiastical inquisition; the people were decimated and the rest brought up to intolerance and cruelty through the numerous auto-da-fes, carried out with lavish splendor and awe-inspiring solemnity. Nowhere was the censorship so narrow-minded and implacable as in Spain; Attending foreign schools was subject to heavy penalties so that the poison of freer views could not penetrate the country. The Aragonians, Catalonians and Andalusians in the peripheral provinces, who differed greatly from the population of the central country, the Meseta, in language, character and way of life, were brutally suppressed: all of Spain was to be castilized, the essence of the gloomy and indolent, haughty and narrow-minded Mittelländers are subject to. In 1580 Portugal was annexed to Spain by inheritance and armed forces and thus ruined forever: its colonies were lost or decayed, its role in world trade became less and less important from year to year. The remnants of the Arabs, the Moriscos, which were still numerous in the south, were driven to despair by the most senseless and unbearable regulations: they were not allowed to use their mother tongue, either publicly or secretly, their negro slaves were taken from them, and they were treated with great tenderness hung, even their baths, their clothes and their musical instruments were forbidden. After a bloodily suppressed uprising, many of them fled across the sea, but this was exactly what Philip had aimed at with his measures, without considering that he was thereby depriving himself of his most intelligent, skilful and hardworking subjects: the country owed its wonderful irrigation systems, the Huertas, who had turned the Spanish sandy desert into a fertile garden, in their hands were the rice culture, the sugar-making and cotton industry, the manufacture of silk and paper: all kinds of livelihoods on which the wealth of Spain rested.

The sapnian colonial policy

Philip's colonial policy was even more insane. The overseas conquests already had a number of pernicious effects on the motherland: they promoted emigration to an extent that sparsely populated Spain could not tolerate, and they increased the innate tendency of those who stayed behind to be lazy and indulgent to the adventurous. As a result, long stretches of the fields were left untilled, mining was neglected, although the country still had unexploited mineral resources in abundance, trade and industry perished from malnutrition. In the colonies themselves, the Spaniards behaved not only like very common robbers, but also like very stupid robbers: they acted roughly like bandits who break out of a priceless mosaic and carry away the gems or a milk cow, from which they have for years could nourish, slain to gobble down their flesh. And in their unreasonable greed they overdone on the cow and perished with it. If only they had owned the Portuguese colonies, that would have been far too much for them, for these included, among many other things, the eastern and western coasts of Africa, the Moluccas, and the immense Brazil.

At first they did not even know the simplest principle of all colonial policy, that one can only derive permanent advantages from a conquered country if it thrives itself. Their only economic principle was the primitive pillaging of the natives. This was used by the notorious ripartimentos, the compulsory distribution of worthless European imported goods at fancy prices. When this source of income soon dried up, they began to exploit the land through also forced labor. But the red race, softened by centuries of life in a mild nature and under an equally mild government, was not up to these demands, many succumbed to the effort, others fled into the wilderness and the rest resorted to systematic suicide: either they destroyed themselves through plant poisons or their progeny through abstaining from sexual intercourse. Only a few persevered: they were those who had learned from the Spanish priests that they would also find whites in the afterlife. In Jamaica, for example, the Indian population had died out fifty years after the Spanish conquest; also in Cuba. The clergy, which, as has to be emphasized again and again, almost always on the side of the natives, now resorted to a means of protection which unfortunately became the cause of new bestialities: they prophesied the importation of black slaves from Africa, and indeed it did In the first half of the sixteenth century this wicked branch of trade, in which almost all European nations eagerly participated, flourished. It goes without saying that the Spaniards also behaved very foolishly and ruthlessly with the mute natives of America: their traces are marked everywhere by willful extermination of the autochthonous animal world, vandal deforestation, and the haphazard exhaustion of the forces of the soil.

The waste of the Netherlands

Even in the flourishing Netherlands, the richest, most active and most civilized area in what was then the north, the Spaniards did not manage anything differently than if it had been a subjugated Negro colony. It took a very long time until they succeeded in inciting this peace-loving and hard-to-move people of book-keeping merchants and book-writing schoolmasters to a death-defying rebellion through the senseless stubbornness, blind greed and inhuman brutality of their administration; but once inflamed it could no longer be suffocated. The way in which Alba acted on the precise instructions of his king in the Netherlands was more than vile: it was incomprehensible. The "Council of Unrest" or "Blood Council", as the people rightly called it, set up by him had the task of punishing high traitors. Among other things, this was considered to be: anyone who had participated in a petition for the mitigation of the Inquisition; who had not prevented such a petition; who, even if forced, had tolerated an evangelical sermon; who had said that the king did not have the right to deprive the provinces of their freedom; who had doubted that the "Council of Unrest" was not bound by any laws; who had claimed that one ought to obey God more than men; and who had tacitly listened to any such utterance. It is clear that it was almost impossible not to commit at least one of these crimes. It was nothing but the strictly logical conclusion from these insane premises that on February 16, 1568 all inhabitants of the Netherlands were sentenced to death as heretics: an act of state that should be unique in history. After thousands had been hanged, burned, imprisoned, exiled, and expropriated, a royal amnesty appeared, which guaranteed impunity to all who verifiably had not committed the slightest thing if they repentedly begged for mercy within a certain period of time: an amnesty of this kind should also do so there is hardly a duplicate in world history.

It is now very instructive for the observer of human nature that none of this drove the Dutch to rebellion, but only a measure of the governor in the financial field, which, however, was equal in stupidity and infamy to the others, of which one should nevertheless think that it would have been easier to bear than the previous ones. Alba, who had promised Philip that he would conduct a gaping stream of gold from the Netherlands to Spain, issued a decree that a one-off one percent wealth tax should be levied on all movable and immovable property, and the "twentieth pfennig", or five percent, on every property sold. and even the "tenth pfennig," that is, twice as much, should be levied on every movable commodity sold. This latter tax in particular, if strictly carried out, would have meant the complete ruin of Dutch trade. Only now did the whole country break away from Spain, and with the battle cry: "Better Turkish than papal!" The great "defection of the Netherlands", the world-famous, victorious heroic struggle of a small merchant people against the greatest military power in Europe at the time. This is very strange; but that is how man is made: he lets his freedom, his faith, even his life, be touched rather than his earnings, his money, his business. Even the Jacobins, whose state administration in their stupidity and barbarism is very strangely reminiscent of this regime supported by a completely different worldview, did not make themselves impossible through their suppression of all free opinion, their mockery of religion and their mass executions, but through their interventions in it Private property and its destructive effect on trade, industry and money transactions. It was not their guillotines that brought them down, but their assignats.

Collapse of the Philippian system

Philip's decline dates from the uprising of the Netherlands. Since then, nothing has happened to him. In brief, his imperialist program consisted of the following: he wanted in France, which he held in the north by the Netherlands, in the east by the Franche-Comté and in the south by Spain, and internally by the strong power of the papist and anti-dynastic league, allied with him worried to bring an agnate of his house or a French line dependent on him to the throne and thus transform the only continental power that could be dangerous to him into a Spanish protective state; He hoped to be able to submit to England easily either through a personal union, as it had already existed during his marriage to Mary the Bloody, or through the superiority of his navy. Since he also already owned a large part of Italy, from which he kept the other territories diplomatically and militarily dependent, and since there was a Habsburg branch line in the Austrian hereditary lands and on the German imperial throne, Hispanization and recatholization would in fact be complete Europe had been reached; for the Turks would hardly have been able to hold their own against this united gigantic power.

But reality everywhere denied these designs, which were apparently so easy to carry out. Not even his own family followed Philip's plans. Under his uncle Ferdinand the First, the successor of Charles the Fifth, the new doctrine gained numerous followers in the Austrian territories, and his son, Emperor Maximilian the Second, one of the most important Habsburg rulers, was almost a Protestant. In France, after decades of terrible turmoil, the first and greatest king of the Bourbon family, Henry the Fourth, came to the throne, who not only granted the Huguenots the same civil rights as the Catholics through the Edict of Nantes, but also a strictly national anti-Spanish policy pursued. Elisabeth spurned Philip's proposals for marriage and even supported the rebellious Dutch with money and troops. Philip therefore directed his first great attack against England. In the spring of 1588, the "insurmountable Armada," the most powerful and best-equipped fleet that modern Europe had ever seen, left the port of Lisbon. Their fate is well known: but it was not the storms alone that destroyed them. It was defeated for very similar reasons as the immense naval power that Xerxes exerted against the Greeks. Both the Persian and the Spanish ships were huge floating houses, crammed with men and weapons, but impeccable to maneuver, and by their large numbers more in the way of one another than of the enemy. The English and Greek vehicles, on the other hand, were not designed to arouse terror, but to form easily maneuvered and effective tactical units: they could flee as easily as attack, while the shapeless colossi of the enemy had to wait until they could be approached to fight, and, if forced to retreat quickly, smashed each other. In both cases, however, the real and deeper cause of the debacle was that on the side of the weaker party the ghost stood: it is this who has triumphed at Salamis and in the Canal.

Don Juan and Don Quixote

And so, in the early seventeenth century, the Italian poet Alessandro Tassoni was able to express the general opinion when he said that Spain was an elephant with the soul of a chicken, a lightning bolt that blinds but does not kill, a giant whose arms are tied with twine be tied up. In spite of these failures, however, the Spaniards to Philip always retained the most passionate loyalty, and centuries later they said: Felipe segundo sin segundo, there is no second Philip the Second. The reason for this is first of all that, as has already been mentioned, the Spanish national characteristics appeared in him to the extreme, indeed to the point of insanity; but also in the fact that this strange person was one of the most generous and understanding supporters of art and science. He gave his people a lasting, strong and unique style of mind. His collection of manuscripts in the Eskorial, gigantic like everything he undertook, aroused the admiration of the whole world; the goldsmith-style architecture created under his patronage, estilo plateresco, a confusing mosaic of Moorish, Gothic and Italian elements, eclectic and yet highly peculiar in its ornament-mad opulence, is a shining expression of the Spanish national character; and literature produced the most remarkable creations even under his reign. Tino de Molina and Cervantes lived under him, and each of them created the highest and rarest that a poet can achieve: a figure that is more than a strong unique individual, namely a new human species, the artistic synthesis of a whole Genus. Tirso de Molina wrote the first drama about Don Juan, the Romance counterpart to Faust; and "Don Quixote", originally intended as a mere mockery of the contemporary extravagant chivalric novel and the heroic bad habits of the Hidalgo, has become much more: the immortal tragic comedy of human idealism. Basically, Don Quixote is the eternal type of Poet: he has discovered that reality must always disappoint in its innermost essence, because it is actually the unreal, and therefore decides not to recognize it! And just as "Don Quixote" is the first real novel in world literature, Mendoza's "Historia de la guerra de Granada" is the first real historical work of modern times: clear, vivid, precise, astonishingly impartial, and Lope de Vega, this one monstruo de naturaleza with his fifteen hundred dramas, the first modern dramatic writer on a grand scale. Because every real playwright is by nature a play maker, a polygraph: his life's work does not belong in the history of literature, but in the history of technology. He does not want to create shapes, but roles, not "works", but text books, often even just text frames, not eternal values, but actualities. His master is the audience, which he despises but serves. Lope himself confessed this when he declared in his Poetics that the purpose of dramatic art was to please. This was the same with Calderon and Molière, and it was certainly no different with Shakespeare, who wrote a tremendous amount, but only as long as he was the theater director and did not have a single one of his plays printed because they had no right to live outside the theater seemed: the Shakespearean philologists, with their disputes about the purity and authenticity of the wording, would have struck him as extremely ridiculous.

World domination of the Spanish style

The Spanish style had such a power of suggestion that all of Europe submitted to it. This was first shown in costume, which became completely Hispanic from the end of the sixteenth century. Its basic character is sinister sobriety, compressed formality and spread bigotry. In a sense, one is always in state dress. The tight Spanish boots, the rigid Spanish frills, the stiff Spanish coats are still proverbial today. In addition there were the Spanish puffy trousers stuffed with horsehair, the Spanish doublet with padded sleeves and padded "goose belly" and the pointed Spanish hat with a small brim. If the ladies in their previous costume tried hard to underline their charms, they now try to hide them in shame; they wear ribbons that flatten the breast and barrel-shaped hoop skirts that are stiffened or drawn on wire, which make the entire lower body invisible. The handkerchief is a big innovation; For a complete toilet, the fan and mask are indispensable for women, the pointed rapier for men, and the glove for both sexes; even in the room it is considered improper to appear without a headgear and coat. The ruff, which soon grew to gigantic dimensions, meant that the cavaliers shaved their hair short in a brush-like manner and their beard narrow and pointed: in the shape of the Henri quatrewhich Heinrich the Fourth never wore.

At the same time, the spread from Spain estilo culto or cultismo, a sweetish and puffy, adorned and embellished expression that is splendid with sought-after images and hollow allegories. Its founder is the poet Luis de Gongora, which is why this trend is also called Gongorism; in Italy it was called marinism, after its main representative Giambattista Marini, whose artificial antitheses and flowery parables were admired and imitated by the whole world, in France preciosism, in England euphuism, after John Lilly's famous novel "Euphues, anatomy of wit", a series of frosty jokes and screwed-up puns, so-called concettiwho are known to have had a lasting and detrimental influence on Shakespeare's diction. This tone permeated the entire poetry of the age, but also the scientific literature and social conversation, and it can even be found in files, petitions and parliamentary resolutions. His ideal is this bizzaria at any cost, his goal lo stupore, the amazement: " è del poeta il fin la maraviglia«Teaches Marini, of whom contemporaries declared that he stood towering above all Greek, Roman and Hebrew poets.

This tendency towards empty affection and overloaded mannerism was also expressed in the morbid collecting mania and childish joy in all kinds of rarities, which is particularly characteristic of this period. In the great collections of Emperor Rudolf II in Prague Castle, among the most exquisite art treasures, there were boxes with magnetic stones and Indian feathers, mandrake roots, three bagpipes, two iron nails from Noah's ark, a crocodile in a case, a "stone that there." grows ", a monster with two heads, a" fur that fell from the sky "," all sorts of rare sea fish, including a bat ". Indiscriminate antiquing and tasteless pomp with all imaginable mythological, archaeological and philological reminiscences belong in the same line. For example, a large mask festival "The Judgment of Paris" is performed in front of Elisabeth. Forest nymphs frolic in the gardens, satyrs on the terraces, and nereids and tritons in the ponds. Diana comes to meet the queen, declares her to be the archetype of immaculate chastity and invites her into her bushes, where she is safe from the pursuits of Actaeon. Finally, Paris is tried because he gave the apple to Venus, not Elizabeth. Pies depicting Ovidian metamorphoses appeared on the royal table, and there was talk of a raisin cake, which showed the destruction of Troy. Another time the Queen Cupid approached in the midst of a crowd of Olympian gods and presented her with a golden arrow, the sharpest of his quiver, which, guided by such irresistible stimuli, must wound even the hardest heart. She was then fifty years old.

French classicism and game operaturalism

Even then, classicism had its strongest sphere of influence in France. With the consolidation of the monarchy, Paris gradually became the dominant center, drawing all forces on itself, the great center of representation of the country, which it has remained to this day. Literature, architecture, fashion, lifestyle: everything is based on the capital. Since Franz the First, all structural changes have started from the courtyard, from the residence. The Sorbonne is the absolute authority on all theological and scientific questions. Paris is France.

The real founder of French classicism in poetry is François de Malherbe, who, as Boileau praises, "brought the muse back to the rules of duty". He is the father of that correct and pathetic, sober and graceful poetry that reigned in France until the nineteenth century. He raised the Alexandrian to almost absolute rulership, that flexible and monotonous meter in which, precisely because it is so meaningless, everything can be said with ease. And around the same time, a second element entered French literature that has remained just as typical for it: Honoré d'Urfé wrote his famous shepherd novel "Astrée" and thus created the model for that cold, sentimental, mendacious play-opera naturalism, the delighted the French for two centuries: his celadon, like Don Juan and Don Quixote, became a household name from an individual, and his made-up theater shepherds and perfumed nymphs, whose lustful chastity is related to natural sensuality as the cleavage is to nudity, still enliven them Rousseau's imagination.

The skeptic from the affirmation of life

In architecture, the "French style" reached a high point even then: in the castles of the sixteenth century, the upper class of the noble and intellectual who wandered on the peaks erected a shining symbol; these buildings are exactly like the worldview and way of life of these people: cheerful and elegant, but somewhat prosaic; full of light and a wide view, but without real warmth; melodious and clearly structured, but without the grandiose cast of their Italian role models; Rich in images and preciously coffered, but of economical interior design; airy and spacious, but looking a little bare; and still locks: isolated, cordoned off and left to fend for themselves. You may have already noticed that we are talking about Montaigne.

In the case of the guild historians of philosophy, insofar as they condescend to deal with such an unphilosophically clear and cosmopolitan thinker, Montaigne figures as the type of skeptic. With Montaigne alone, skepticism does not flow from one-sided negation, but from all-round affirmation: he is the person who knows too much to be able to claim anything positive, who is unable to take a particular point of view because he is able to take all points of view, his thinking apparatus is too spacious to suffer from a lack of space: namely a "system".

The skeptic in the sense of Montaigne is a passionate friend of the golden mean, he is the "tip of the scales", as Emerson puts it. He neither wants to rule the world nor surrender to it without will, he wants to look at it. His motto is Dante's wonderful word: Non ci hadar, guarda e passa! Look over there and walk past: that is the best position one can take on the world course. Or as Byron said: "I consider myself a being placed by the hand of God in the middle of a great theater." The skeptic knows everything, understands everything and smiles at everything. The idealist does not take reality seriously. In contrast, the realist says to the idealist: I don't take your world of ideas seriously. And the skeptic doesn't take either of them seriously. For him the world is nothing but an eternal swing. “All things rock incessantly”, it says in the “Essays”, “the earth, the rocks of the Caucasus, the Egyptian pyramids. Persistence itself is nothing but a slacker swing. ”Montaigne's disposition was a benevolent mixture of a comfortable joie de vivre and an unsettling penchant for introspection. "I'm not melancholy by nature, just brooding," he says of himself. In his eyes, life in itself is neither a good nor an evil, "it is the space of good and evil, depending on what you do put in ": an idea that we find again in Shakespeare. And “to be ready” is everything to him, too: “I keep singing and saying to myself: anything that can happen one day can still happen today.” He was undoubtedly a stoic, but the most amiable and human who has ever lived . He sees the ultimate purpose of existence in pleasure: “Even with virtue, the ultimate goal we aim for is lust. We should give this lust the name of the most pleasant, sweetest and most natural pleasure. ”So he was undoubtedly an Epicurean, but one of the most spiritual and refined who ever lived. The central aim of his whole philosophy, however, was self-observation and self-description: “I study myself; that is my metaphysics and physics. «And man, guided by Montaigne's hand to himself, to the loving and ruthless exploration of his particularities and idiotisms, irrationalisms and paradoxes, ambiguities and backgrounds, must necessarily become a skeptic by recognizing that he doesn't know his way around.

The Montaign man

The type of serene worldly view created by Montaigne, who combines strong inclinations with weak convictions and is always ready to enjoy and die, meets us everywhere in the higher circles, but only very few were able to escape the danger of moral insanity which lies hidden in every consequent skepticism; they have mostly taken Montaigne's brave sense of reality too massively. But all of them have Montaigne in their blood, both his doubts and his sensualism: the self-examining and familiar with people Wilhelm of Orange, whose proverbial silence was nothing but skepticism, namely the knowledge that the word kills the truth, and who, although the strongest champion of the Protestantism, deeply indifferent to matters of faith; the cool realpolitician Elisabeth, who was praised as the "refuge of the Reformation" and at the same time felt just as neutral; that even politically completely independent Katharina von Medici, who, thirsting for the opiate of power with the passion of a morphinist, only wants to rule at all costs: whether through the Guise or Huguenots, Spaniards or French, nobility or people, she is completely indifferent; the equally blind power-hungry Essex; the "ridiculous" Cecil; the denominational, although not religiously indifferent Kepler; but above all Henry the Fourth, the greatest ruler of the age: with his sovereign insight he sees through both parties as they really are, recognizes that they are both wrong as they are, and is thus able to do justice to both. At the same time, however, he makes the just as objective knowledge that the compact pleasures of existence: beautiful women and clothes, country houses, gardens and horses, good wine and a chicken in a pot are not to be despised either. But Hamlet, too, read Montaigne and through him came to the very deep insight that every agent, in taking sides, must necessarily be limited, unjust, cruel, that the act is nonsense.

Jakob Boehme

Even in the most perfect philosophical antipode of Montaigne, the heavy-blooded and obstinate, dull and obscure Jakob Böhme lives something of Montaigne's spirit. Because no one has thought through the principle of the coincidentia oppositorum, the contradictions of the world and man, so piercingly and illuminated it in such a comprehensive way as this profound shoemaker. One day he noticed a stupid old tin vessel in which the sun was reflected and said to himself with astonishment: this is just a bad, rough tin jug and yet it has all the sun in it! Then he became what is called "profound", withdrew and wrote one of the most beautiful books of theosophy. The sudden insight dawned on him that everything in this world could only reveal itself in its opposites: the light in darkness, the good in evil, the yes in the no, God in the world, his love in his anger, and that therefore all being is not only out Opposites exist, but also by Opposites, because it owes its existence to them alone.

Giordano Bruno

Even the most sublime and universal head of the age, Giordano Bruno, made the coincidentia oppositorum a cardinal concept of his system: "The coincidence of opposites", he says, "is a magic formula of philosophy." His ingenious intuitions are centuries old to his contemporaries hurried ahead. He began as a Dominican, but, suspected of heresy, left the order and led a restless wandering life through Italy, France, England and Germany, obtained a doctorate in philosophy in Toulouse, won numerous enthusiastic followers in Paris, held much-visited astronomical courses in Oxford and Wittenberg and philosophical lectures, but was subjected to persecution everywhere because of his free views and his lust for ridicule and, arrested by the Inquisition on his return to his homeland, after years of unsuccessful attempts to achieve a denial of his teachings, was burned in Rome in 1600.

Wilhelm Dilthey once points out that Bruno was "the son of the region between Vesuvius and the Mediterranean". And indeed, it was a Vesuvius itself: throwing out fiery and shapeless cinders, astonishing and admiring the whole world through the magnificence and power of its volcanic eruptions, consuming itself in its own embers and one day being burned to ashes.He was just as much a poet as he was a philosopher, but these two gifts did not complement each other in his soul, but were in tragic conflict with each other, which is why he only brought to light gigantic hybrid births: in him, too, there is something of the gongorism's obsession with images and exaggeration, but too uncanny Increased demony. God is the absolutely unknowable for him, he lives in a light to which earthly insight can never reach. We see the statue, but not the sculptor; of the divine substance we can see only a trace, a distant effect; we cannot see them in any other way than in the mirror, in the shadow, in the riddle. From there, however, he arrives at a fairly clear pantheism. The Spinozist formula "Deus sive natura" can already be found in his work: "God and nature only form an antithesis in the faith of those without insight." And Leibniz took over the principle of the monad from him and led it to victory. His teachings on this correspond perfectly with those of Leibniz: there is a mathematical minimum: the point; a physical minimum: the atom; a metaphysical minimum: the monad. Each of these monads is a mirror of the universe, each eternal, only the connection changes. The monads are therefore the deity itself, which, although an indivisible unity, nevertheless presents itself as a special form of appearance in each and every one of them, just as in every particle of the organism the organic power, in every detail of the work of art the artistic power is undivided manifests itself strangely: omnia ubique. Just as the earth moves around its own axis and around the sun at the same time, so every thing follows both its particular law of life and the general law of the world. The death of the monad is just as little a transition into nothing as its birth is a coming out of nothing. Through these speculations, then, Bruno became the teacher of the two greatest philosophers of the century, in the first year of which his body was given over to the flames. But his influence goes much further: Hamann, the deepest thinker of the German Enlightenment, has built on him, and Schelling still called one of his writings "Bruno or on the natural and divine principle of things".

But Bruno's anticipations in the field of astronomy are even more astonishing. He is the perfecter of the Copernican system and the forerunner of Galileo: he taught that the earth had only an approximate spherical shape and was flattened at the poles, that the sun also rotated around its own axis, that all fixed stars were suns around which numerous ones were move planets that are invisible to us because of their distance, he set up the theory of the world ether, which has only recently come into force, he even had an inkling of the theory of relativity by teaching that there are as many times as there are stars , indeed some of his views go beyond the state of our current science and belong to the future: they are his hypotheses about the state of the world bodies. In the cosmos as he imagined it, countless stars and globes, suns and earths circle. None of these stars is in the middle. Because the universe is equally immense on all sides. Rather, there are just as many centers in the world as there are worlds, indeed atoms. All celestial bodies are individuals, colossal organisms and in relation to even larger world individuals, in turn, only parts and organs. All of these giant bodies are made up of the same elements. Hence the same forces that are well known to us work in them. "Anyone who thinks there are no more planets than we know is about as sensible as someone who believes there are no more birds flying through the air than he has just observed from his little window." have the view, in infinite space, on the countless gigantic worlds, most of which are certainly endowed with a better lot than we are, that there is nothing other than the light that we perceive on them. It is downright silly to assume that there are no other living beings, no other thinking faculties, no other senses than those we know. 'With this intuitive knowledge, Bruno has far surpassed even today's astronomers, who, with petty caution and narrow-minded pedantry, do not dare to go beyond to go out the pathetic facts which reveal their adored tubes to them. Time and again we get from scholars, that is: people who have only seen one side of any truth, to hear the assurance that the moon is a "dead earth", the sun is only there to give light and warmth, but life is impossible on it, Mars may have once housed highly intelligent beings, but unfortunately that is long gone. But this and the like is anthropomorphic chatter of haughty and narrow-minded house-dwellers. It is utterly impossible that there is an earth that is dead: that would completely contradict its concept. Earth means life and home of life; how can such a thing ever be dead? And the sun: how could it create, maintain, increase and renew so much life on so many planets if it were not itself an inexhaustible source of life? Or should it really only use up its enormous creative energies for its satellites, but not use any of it for itself? And as far as Mars is concerned, if there was ever life there, it is completely out of the question that there will be none today. Life has the tendency to spread, increase, and multiply more and more. Can one seriously doubt that the mission of all God-created beings to completely spiritualize themselves has not already been achieved on many world bodies? Each world body represents a level of perfection, that is: one of the possible degrees of spiritualization. Everyone is animated, populated, on the rise, even if its inhabitants may not always look like a professor of astronomy.

Francis Bacon

It is natural that Bruno, who is so much ahead of our time, was seen by almost everyone who lived with him either as a diabolical false teacher or a grotesque dreamer. The philosopher who clearly and firmly expressed what everyone was thinking was Francis Bacon: not a deep volcano like Bruno, not a seeker of God struggling in the dark like Böhme, not a sensitive soul anatomy like Montaigne, not a fiery world eye like Shakespeare, but a level-headed and impressive speaker who knew how to clearly summarize the striving of his age in sharp words and to formulate it brilliantly. It is essential for him that he was English; Such a philosophy could only originate from England.

The rise of England

During the sixteenth century England rose from a small medieval state to a modern European great power, not through its rulers, as the loyal legend tells us, but in spite of its rulers, almost all of whom were mediocre and in part mean. We have met Heinrich the Eighth several times. Even Shakespeare, with all his virtuoso retouching, was unable to give anything other than the image of a raw and treacherous despot in the court poetry he ordered. One only needs to look at Holbein's portrait to get an idea of ​​this brilliantly decorated butcher, this devastating incarnation of bestial energy and insatiable vitality. His son Edward the Sixth, who appeared to be very gifted, died at a very young age. After him, the "bloody Mary" ascended the throne, a bitter old maid and stubborn bigot, who, under the influence of her husband, Philip the Second, with whom she was unhappily in love all her life, sought the Catholic restoration with the most brutal means and im War against France, which she led on the side of Spain, lost Calais, which the English resented her even more than her cruel attempts to react: if she had ruled only a few years longer, there would have been a revolution even then. Her successor was the "great Elizabeth," a clever and purposeful, but immeasurably vain and selfish woman with that brutal unscrupulousness, cold deceit, and hypocritical prudery which the enemies of England describe as typically national. Anyway, it was cant already developed to perfect mastery in it, that quality for which no other language has a significant word, because no other people have anything that corresponds to it. What is cant? Cant is not "mendacity", is not "hypocrisy" or the like, but something much more complicated. Cant is a talent, namely the talent to consider everything to be good and true, whatever brings practical advantages. If for any reason something is unpleasant to the Englishman, he decides (in his subconscious, of course) to declare it a sin or a falsehood. So he has the strange ability to be perfidious not only towards others, but also towards himself, and he exercises this ability with the best of conscience, which is quite natural, because he acts by exercising an instinct. Cant is something that could be called "honest mendacity" or "the gift of putting oneself into it."

The two most notorious spots in Elizabeth's government are the two execution trials of Essex and Mary Queen of Scots. She was right both as Queen and as a politician: Essex was a treason and Mary Queen of Scots was the head of many dangerous conspiracies. Only that is dishonorable to her that on both occasions she did not simply exercise her bloody right, but also wanted to win the glory of feminine gentleness and Christian mercy for herself. No sensible person will reproach her for her many lovers either, but the unabashed tartuffism with which she was celebrated as the "virgin queen" during her entire reign and, for example, allowed the first English colony of Walter Raleigh to reproach her had to know better herself that Virginia was named after her. In this she stood far below her deadly rival Maria Stuart, who may have committed as many crimes in her life, but none of them coldly calculated, and certainly fewer "missteps", but openly confessed to them. When Maria's lover Bothwell blew up her husband Darnley, all of Scotland was in an uproar; when Elizabeth's favorite, Leicester, poisoned his wife, public opinion fell silent, for it was much more cleverly arranged. But skill has never been considered a special excuse for murderers.

When Elisabeth died after a reign of forty-five years, Jakob the First, the son of Maria Stuart and great-grandson of the daughter of Heinrich Tudor, came to power and united in his person the crowns, but also the bad qualities of the two hostile houses: the domineering stubbornness and arrogance of the Tudors and the indolence and moral irresponsibility of the Stuarts. His father was probably Maria's secretary, the ugly David Riccio, who had been murdered in the most brutal fashion by Darnley. His figure was plump and unsightly, his head thick, his beard thin, his eyes bulging, his speech stuttering and jarring: it was said that he spat out the words more than articulated them. He was extremely fearful and suspicious, could not see a naked weapon and lived in constant fear of conspiracies and assassinations. He was just as childishly vain as his predecessor, but much more unreasonable, for he could only tolerate views that coincided with his own. He was particularly proud of his theological education, which, to the horror of those around him, he continually displayed in the most subtle debates. His second passion was beautiful young people who could achieve anything from him, no matter how insignificant and vulgar. Although he was the opposite of a royal appearance with his wriggling movements, his awkward gait and his peasant manners, no ruler was as convinced of his divine right as he was. He believed himself to be the absolute dictator of the life, property and opinions of his subjects, and this in a time and a nation that was nothing short of receptive to such theories. Since he was also completely lacking in political tact and an overview, he was incessantly at odds with his parliaments; but the open riot only broke out under his successor. When he finished ruling, it was said: Great Britain is smaller than Britain.

The Elizabethine Man

Nevertheless, these hundred years are the first great period of great splendor in England. Trade, trade and shipping, science, art and literature flourished in abundance. Under Elizabeth, London was already a city of three hundred thousand inhabitants with innumerable shops, an important stock exchange, a permanent fair, and almost twenty standing theaters. The street paving was meticulous, the water supply regulated by wooden pipes, the lighting and the fire police considerably improved. There were numerous well-established schools, pharmacies and printing works and even something like newspapers. The Thames was teeming with decorated boats, an uninterrupted stream of pedestrians, riders and litters livened up the city, the gentlemen also used carriages, and their new country houses, built in Tudor style, were businesslike, practical, inviting and (unlike the continental villas ) primarily designed for residential purposes: even then, the English expressed their sense of dignified and comfortable domesticity. The clothes are festive, rich, signed and not without taste, but the comfort is not yet significantly different from the medieval: you still sleep quite primitively, you are still not familiar with the fork, the main value when eating is quantity and serving yourself ordinary use with preference for wooden implements. A new stimulant was tobacco, which Jean Nicot initially touted as a mere medicine, was later quickly naturalized by Drakes and Raleigh's sailors and was popular by the end of the century: it was not smoked in cigar form, as the Indians did Preference did, but exclusively in pipes. The clergy fought against smoking, and the doctrinal Jacob first imposed prohibitions and punishments on it for theological reasons, but soon recognized it as a lucrative source of taxes. The tobacco shops that taught smoking were overcrowded, the jeunesse dorée came into the theater with its steaming pipes, and Raleigh was accused of having puffed out clouds of tobacco even in the execution of his enemy Essex.

The averaging of the better circles was on a fairly high level: everyone read the Roman poets and philosophers, sang and made music, did mathematics and astronomy, the ladies as well as the gentlemen; the conversation was witty and elaborate, though contrived by euphuismen. Of course, there was also no lack of brutality. The judiciary was still barbaric. The three strongest dramatic talents besides Shakespeare: Peel, Greene and Marlowe were wild knife heroes and drunkards, King Jacob was a perfect booze, but Queen Bess was also happy when the people called out to her on the street: “How are you, old whore? "Loved to use common sailor expressions in the midst of the most intimate conversation, and when irritated she could quarrel like a fishwife. Her quarrel with Essex is famous, in which the latter called out to her: “Your mind is as crooked as your carcass; your mind is as crooked as your frame! ", whereupon she slapped him with the words:" Hang yourself up! "

The boozy years of capitalism

The man of the so-called "English Renaissance", which reached its peak under Elisabeth, is still a mixture of unbridled primitive mankind and modern English man, a cross between a tough and prudent man of practicality and a wild and daring adventurer. The precise expression of this state of mind is that merchants adventurers, Robber bargaining merchants and seafarers who, first on their own, later supported by royal privileges, plundered the coasts of the Far East and West, but also founded business establishments and initiated trade relations. In a word, it was piracy under state sovereignty and profit sharing: in the event of war it was called piracy. The great admirals, circumnavigators, conquerors and colonizers: Drake, Raleigh, Hawkins, Essex and all the other maritime heroes of the Elizabethin age were nothing but corsairs. The "trading companies" were something very similar: companies licensed to exploit overseas countries. Smuggling, piracy and the slave trade are at the cradle of English and all of modern capitalism.

There are two reasons for this. First of all, all trade and money making is nothing but a kind of civilized and orderly fraud.In the third chapter we saw the great moral and social resistance under which the transition from natural economy and pure handicraft to money economy and trade as an end in itself took place. If these inhibitions are stronger at the beginning than later, then these transition periods tend to produce a correlate of the great uninhibited people on the other hand as well. But then it will at all each new reality: in religion, art, science, society, at the time of its origins, it was ostracized because it has the "good conscience" of previous reality against it, and is therefore forced to appear in anti-social forms: it almost always begins as paralogism, as "romance", as criminality. And just as clearly as we can still see in the respectable and peace-loving merchants of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the features of their ancestor, the Robber barons and are able to recognize pirates, we can discover in today's large financier that he is different from the Soldier of fortune, derived from gambler and cardsharp. But those times were the boozy years of capitalism. At that time, the instinct for acquisition still appeared in ecstatic and tumultuous forms: it has the character of a fever, an intoxication, a childhood illness. No one was able to escape this contagion: we shall see at once that even the brightest and most prudent mind in England and of all ages was struck by it. The visible sign of this new mercantile spirit was the large London Stock Exchange building, which was opened to traffic in 1571 by the court banker Sir Thomas Gresham.

The exact sciences

In parallel with the economic changes, there was a great upswing in the exact sciences. We have seen that in the first half of the century a number of important advances were made in the fields of mathematics and cosmology, medicine and chemistry, zoology and the description of the earth; and these researches will be continued in the next two generations and in some cases even come to a preliminary conclusion. François Viète raised algebra to scientific heights and began to apply it