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Jonas shrugged. "It will takemirror terra coin everyone a while to realize that I'm not there at all."

"In 1649 he was invited to Sweden by Queen Christina. But his sojourn in what he called 'the land of bears, ice, and rocks' brought on an attack of pneumonia and he died in the winter of 1650."chainlink link chart analysis"So he was only 54 when he died."

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"Yes, but he was to have enormous influence on philosophy, even after his death. One can say without exaggeration that Descartes was the father of modern philosophy. Following the heady rediscovery of man and nature in the Renaissance, the need to assemble contemporary thought into one coherent philosophical system again presented itself. The first significant system-builder was Descartes, and he was followed by Spinoza and Leibniz, Locke and Berkeley, Hume and Kant.""What do you mean by a philosophical system?""I mean a philosophy that is constructed from the ground up and that is concerned with finding explanations for all the central questions of philosophy. Antiquity had its great system-constructors in Plato and Aristotle. The Middle Ages had St. Thomas Aquinas, who tried to build a bridge between Aristotle's philosophy and Christian theology. Then came the Renais-sance, with a welter of old and new beliefs about nature and science, God and man. Not until the seventeenth century did philosophers make any attempt to assemble the new ideas into a clarified philosophical system, and the first to attempt it was Descartes. His work was the forerunner of what was to be philosophy's most important project in the coming generations. His main concern was with what we can know, or in other words, certain knowledge. The other great question that preoccupied him was the relationship between body and mind. Both these questions were the substance of philosophical argument for the next hundred and fifty years.""He must have been ahead of his time.""Ah, but the question belonged to the age. When it came to acquiring certain knowledge, many of his contemporaries voiced a total philosophic skepticism. They thought that man should accept that he knew nothing. But Descartes would not. Had he done so he would not have been a real philosopher. We can again draw a parallel with Socrates, who did not accept the skepticism of the Sophists. And it was in Descartes's lifetime that the new natural sciences were developing a method by which to provide certain and exact descriptions of natural processes.

"Descartes was obliged to ask himself if there was a similar certain and exact method of philosophic reflection.""That I can understand.""You'll have to explain that a bit more clearly."

"Schelling saw a 'world spirit' in nature, but he saw the same 'world spirit' in the human mind. The natural and the spiritual are actually expressions of the same thing.""Yes, why not?""World spirit can thus be sought both in nature and in one's own mind. Novalis could therefore say 'the path of mystery leads inwards.' He was saying that man bears the whole universe within himself and comes closest to the mystery of the world by stepping inside himself.""That's a very lovely thought."

"For many Romantics, philosophy, nature study, and poetry formed a synthesis. Sitting in your attic dashing off inspired verses and investigating the life of plants or the composition of rocks were only two sides of the same coin because nature is not a dead mechanism, it is one living world spirit.""Another word and I think I'll become a Romantic."

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"The Norwegian-born naturalist Henrik Steffens--whom Wergeland called 'Norway's departed laurel leaf because he had settled in Germany--went to Copenhagen in 1801 to lecture on German Romanticism. He characterized the Romantic Movement by saying, 'Tired of the eternal efforts to fight our way through raw matter, we chose another way and sought to embrace the infinite. We went inside ourselves and created a new world ... ' ""How can you remember all that?""A bagatelle, child.""Go on, then."

"Schelling also saw a development in nature from earth and rock to the human mind. He drew attention to very gradual transitions from inanimate nature to more complicated life forms. It was characteristic of the Romantic view in general that nature was thought of as an organism, or in other words, a unity which is constantly developing its innate potentialities. Nature is like a flower unfolding its leaves and petals. Or like a poet unfolding his verses.""Doesn't that remind you of Aristotle?""It does indeed. The Romantic natural philosophy had Aristotelian as well as Neoplatonic overtones. Aristotle had a more organic view of natural processes than the mechanical materialists . . .""Yes, that's what I thought. . ."

"We find similar ideas at work in the field of history. A man who came to have great significance for the Romantics was the historical philosopher Johann Gottfried von Herder, who lived from 1744 to 1803. He believed that history is characterized by continuity, evolution, and design. We say he had a 'dynamic' view of history be-cause he saw it as a process. The Enlightenment philosophers had often had a 'static' view of history. To them, there was only one universal reason which there could be more or less of at various periods. Herder showed that each historical epoch had its own intrinsic value and each nation its own character or 'soul.' The question is whether we can identify with other cultures.""So, just as we have to identify with another person's Situation to understand them better, we have to identify with other cultures to understand them too."

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"That is taken for granted nowadays. But in the Romantic period it was a new idea. Romanticism helped strengthen the feeling of national identity. It is no coinci-dence that the Norwegian struggle for national independence flourished at that particular time--in 1814.""I see."

"Because Romanticism involved new orientations in so many areas, it has been usual to distinguish between two forms of Romanticism. There is what we call Universal Romanticism, referring to the Romantics who were preoccupied with nature, world soul, and artistic genius. This form of Romanticism flourished first, especially around 1800, in Germany, in the town of Jena.""And the other?""The other is the so-called National Romanticism, which became popular a little later, especially in the town of Heidelberg. The National Romantics were mainly interested in the history of 'the people,' the language of 'the people,' and the culture of 'the people' in general. And 'the people' were seen as an organism unfolding its innate potentiality--exactly like nature and history.""Tell me where you live, and I'll tell you who you are.""What united these two aspects of Romanticism was first and foremost the key word 'organism.' The Romantics considered both a plant and a nation to be a living organism. A poetic work was also a living organism. Language was an organism. The entire physical world, even, was considered one organism. There is therefore no sharp dividing line between National Romanticism and Universal Romanticism. The world spirit was just as much present in the people and in popular culture as in nature and art.""I see."

"Herder had been the forerunner, collecting folk songs from many lands under the eloquent title Voices of the People. He even referred to folktales as 'the mother tongue of the people.' The Brothers Grimm and others began to collect folk songs and fairy tales in Heidelberg. You must know of Grimm's Fairy Tales.""Oh sure, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Rumpelstiltskin, The Frog Prince, Hansel and Gretel . . ."

"And many more. In Norway we had Asbj0rnsen and Moe, who traveled around the country collecting 'folks' own tales.' It was like harvesting a juicy fruit that was suddenly discovered to be both good and nourishing. And it was urgent--the fruit had already begun to fall. Folk songs were collected; the Norwegian language began to be studied scientifically. The old myths and sagas from heathen times were rediscovered, and composers all over Europe began to incorporate folk melodies into their compositions in an attempt to bridge the gap between folk music and art music.""What's art music?"

"Art music is music composed by a particular person, like Beethoven. Folk music was not written by any particular person, it came from the people. That's why we don't know exactly when the various folk melodies date from. We distinguish in the same way between folktales and art tales.""So art tales are ... ?"

"They are tales written by an author, like Hans Christian Andersen. The fairy tale genre was passionately cultivated by the Romantics. One of the German masters of the genre was E.T.A, Hoffmann.""I've heard of The Tales of Hoffmann.""The fairy tale was the absolute literary ideal of the Romantics--in the same way that the absolute art form of the Baroque period was the theater. It gave the poet full scope to explore his own creativity.""He could play God to a fictional universe."

"Precisely. And this is a good moment to sum up.""Go ahead."

"The philosophers of Romanticism viewed the 'world soul' as an 'ego' which in a more or less dreamlike state created everything in the world. The philosopher Fichte said that nature stems from a higher, unconscious imagination. Scheliing said explicitly that the world is 'in God.' God is aware of some of it, he believed, but there are other aspects of nature which represent the unknown in God. For God also has a dark side.""The thought is fascinating and frightening. It reminds me of Berkeley."

"The relationship between the artist and his work was seen in exactly the same light. The fairy tale gave the writer free rein to exploit his 'universe-creating imagination.' And even the creative act was not always completely conscious. The writer could experience that his story was being written by some innate force. He could practically be in a hypnotic trance while he wrote.""He could?"

"Yes, but then he would suddenly destroy the illusion. He would intervene in the story and address ironic comments to the reader, so that the reader, at least momentarily, would be reminded that it was, after all, only a story.""I see.""At the same time the writer could remind his reader that it was he who was manipulating the fictional universe. This form of disillusion is called 'romantic irony.' Henrik Ibsen, for example, lets one of the characters in Peer Gynt say: 'One cannot die in the middle of Act Five.' ""That's a very funny line, actually. What he's really saying is that he's only a fictional character."

"The statement is so paradoxical that we can certainly emphasize it with a new section.""What did you mean by that?"

"Oh, nothing, Sophie. But we did say that Novalis's fiancee was called Sophie, just like you, and that she died when she was only fifteen years and four days old ...""You're scaring me, don't you know that?"

Alberto sat staring, stony faced. Then he said: "But you needn't be worriedthat you will meet the same fate as Novalis's fiancee.""Why not?"

Both Sides of the Table

Perspectives of a 2x entrepreneur turned VC at @UpfrontVC#

Mark Suster

Written by

2x entrepreneur. Sold both companies (last to salesforce.com). Turned VC looking to invest in passionate entrepreneurs 〞 I*m on Twitter at @msuster

Both Sides of the Table

Perspectives of a 2x entrepreneur turned VC at @UpfrontVC, the largest and most active early-stage fund in Southern California. Snapchat: msuster

Mark Suster

Written by

2x entrepreneur. Sold both companies (last to salesforce.com). Turned VC looking to invest in passionate entrepreneurs 〞 I*m on Twitter at @msuster

Both Sides of the Table

Perspectives of a 2x entrepreneur turned VC at @UpfrontVC, the largest and most active early-stage fund in Southern California. Snapchat: msuster