Volume 3, Issue 1, 2006
J. C. Friedrich von Schiller. Aesthetics and Politics
To arrive at a practical solution in the political problem, one must take the road of aesthetics because, in Schiller’s opinion, it is only through beauty that we arrive at freedom. This can only be demonstrated if we first know the principles by which reason is guided in political legislation; for, although in its aesthetic state human action is truly free and it is free to the highest degree from any constrictions, it is not, nevertheless, beyond laws. Reason and the illumination of the mind, Friedrich Schiller believes, are not enough to make the truth triumph and heal the political: an education of feeling is necessary. The education of feeling represents the most stringent necessity as it becomes both a means to render efficient the improvement of ideas and judgments in practical life, and a cause generating this improvement. For, any amelioration in the sphere of the political must have in view the ennoblement of the character, and the instrument most at hand to this aim is the art of the beautiful.
Beauty is the common object of the two impulses or instincts (reason and experience) and is best expressed through the concept of play; it is only play that renders man complete and develops his double nature. Making the beautiful a mere play does not involve a degradation of beauty; restricting the beautiful, which is regarded as an element of culture, to mere play is not in contradiction with the dignity of beauty, but we must look at the idea of play as it was expressed by Johan Huizinga also, and see man as the homo ludens providing the art of life.