Wilhelm von Humboldt Quotes

A quotes list created by Lee Sonogan

Wilhelm von Humboldt Biography - German (Prussian) philosopher, government  functionary, diplomat, and founder of the University of Berlin (1767–1835)  | Pantheon

Straight from the philosophy of language’s history, Wilhelm von Humboldt envisioned education as realizing individual possibility. This diplomat, govermentionary and founder of so much more was key in the fundamental Ethnolinguistics an area of anthropological linguistics which studies communication vs non-cultural behaviour of the people. Or the evolutionary psychology of powerful words useful during liberties of the particular enlightenment during that time.

  • To inquire and to create; these are the grand centres around which all human pursuits revolve, or at least to these objects do they all more or less directly refer.
  • “I am more and more convinced that our happiness or unhappiness depends far more on the way we meet the events of life, than on the nature of those events themselves.”
  • “How a person masters his fate is more important than what his fate is.”
  • “As soon as one stops searching for knowledge, or if one imagines that it need not be creatively sought in the depths of the human spirit but can be assembled extensively by collecting and classifying facts, everything is irrevocably and forever lost.”
  • The government is best which makes itself unnecessary.
  • “Results are nothing; the energies which produce them and which again spring from them are everything.”
  • “Language is deeply entwined in the intellectual development of humanity itself, it accompanies the latter upon every step of its localized progression or regression; moreover, the pertinent cultural level in each case is recognizable in it. … Language is, as it were, the external manifestation of the minds of peoples. Their language is their soul, and their soul is their language. It is impossible to conceive them ever sufficiently identical… . The creation of language is an innate necessity of humanity. It is not a mere external vehicle, designed to sustain social intercourse, but an indispensable factor for the development of human intellectual powers, culminating in the formulation of philosophical doctrine.”
  • “It is an absolutely vain endeavor to attempt to reconstruct or even comprehend the nature of a human being by simply knowing the forces which have acted upon him. However deeply we should like to penetrate, however close we seem to be drawing to truth, one unknown quantity eludes us: man’s primordial energy, his original self, that personality which was given him with the gift of life itself. On it rests man’s true freedom; it alone determines his real character.”
  • Language makes infinite use of finite media.
  • How a person masters his or her fate is more important than what that fate is.
  • “If something possesses no capacity for activity whatever, it is nothing; it may be wholly penetrated, but it cannot be touched. Therefore passivity and reaction are everywhere equal.”
  • “To judge a man means nothing other than to ask: What content does he give to the form of humanity? What concept should we have of humanity if he were its only representative?”
  • “The sum of the knowable, that soil which the human spirit must till, lies between all the languages and independent of them, at their center. But man cannot approach this purely objective realm other than through his own modes of cognition and feeling, in other words: subjectively. Just where study and research touch the highest and deepest point, just there does the mechanical, logical use of reason – whatever in us can most easily be separated from our uniqueness as individual human beings – find itself at the end of its rope. From here on we need a process of inner perception and creation. And all that we can plainly know about this is its result, namely, that objective truth always rises from the entire energy of subjective individuality.”
  • “We have not the remotest realistic inkling of a consciousness which is not self-consciousness.”
  • Natural objects themselves, even when they make no claim to beauty, excite the feelings, and occupy the imagination. Nature pleases, attracts, delights, merely because it is nature. We recognize in it an Infinite Power.

Necessary in liberalism against the extreme sides of authoritarians, his main notable idea was the type of language we use in a rule-governed system. The plenipotentiary surely had more tales to tell in many of his paged and in real-time work.




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