By Heinrich Christoph Koch, Johann Georg Sulzer
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Extra resources for Aesthetics and the Art of Musical Composition in the German Enlightenment: Selected Writings of Johann Georg Sulzer and Heinrich Christoph Koch
These are the sentiments that in their differing mix and strengths determine the moral character of men. In this way, one says of some men that they have no feelings or sentiment, which is to say, no dominating sentiment of honor, integrity, humanity, patriotism, etc. Those persons with somewhat dulled senses who have never felt anything with the slightest bit of animation, and for whom the most pleasant or disagreeable sentiments can be awakened only through the strongest impressions, such people have little sentiment in the psychological sense of the word.
Just as it is a great imperfection to lack a reasonable amount of sensibility, since it causes one to be stiff and dormant, so is an excess of sensibility very harmful, as it is effeminate, weakening, and unmanly. This important admonition for moderation seems especially appropriate for several of our German poets, who are otherwise considered to be among the best. They seem to hold the illusion that emotions can never be stimulated too much. They would have all pain become madness and despair, abhorrence taken to the highest degree of horror, every desire turned into delirium, and every tender feeling to melting.
C] Aesthetic foundations: sentiment 31 The most important service the fine arts can offer to man consists without doubt in the well-ordered dominating desires that it can implant, by which the ethical character of man and his moral worth is determined. A sense for justice and a general uprighteousness, true honor, patriotism, freedom, humanity, and so forth - all of these are the general forces by which order, community, peace, and welfare are achieved in the ethical world. ] The fine arts have two ways of unleashing man's sensibilities.
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