Existenz and aiming for the impossible

Karl Jaspers

Earlier today I read this beautiful passage from German Existenz-philosopher Karl Jaspers in Man in the Modern Age, which he wrote in 1930:
“The demands which the situation makes upon man are so exacting that none but a being who should be something more than man would seem capable of complying with them.

“The impossibility of complying with these demands leads us to evade them, to accommodate ourselves to that which is transitorily present, and to arrest our thoughts at a boundary.

“One who believes that everything is in order and who trusts in the world as it now is, does not even need to be equipped with courage.

“He complies with the course of events which (so he believes) work for good without his participation.

“His alleged courage is nothing more than a confidence that man is not slipping down into an abyss.

“One who truly has courage is one who, inspired by an anxious feeling of the possible, reaches out for the knowledge that he alone who aims at the impossible can attain the possible.

“Only though experience of the impossibility of achieving fulfilment does man become enabled to perform his allotted task.”

About Paul Cudenec 184 Articles
Paul Cudenec is the author of 'The Anarchist Revelation'; 'Antibodies, Anarchangels & Other Essays'; 'The Stifled Soul of Humankind'; 'Forms of Freedom'; 'The Fakir of Florence'; 'Nature, Essence & Anarchy'; 'The Green One', 'No Such Place as Asha' , 'Enemies of the Modern World' and 'The Withway'. His work has been described as "mind-expanding and well-written" by Permaculture magazine.

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