Works of Peace: Schelling’s Foretelling of Novalis’ Nonviolence (abstract)

Works of Peace: Schelling’s Foretelling of Novalis’ Nonviolence

Who knows whether there has been enough war, whether it will ever cease, unless one seizes the palm branch, which a spiritual power alone can offer. Blood will stream over Europe until the nations become aware of the frightful madness which drives them in circles. And then, struck by celestial music and made gentle, they approach their former altars all together, hear about the works of peace, and hold a great celebration of peace with fervent tears before the smoking altars. […] 1 – Novalis

Abstract

When processed as little more than a Romantic vulgarity, the rallying call to “Romanticize the world!” arguably veils the most fundamental concern of Novalis in the post-Kantian era. Beneath the surface of his fragmented poetry, Novalis’ writing displays a deeply moving concern for peace that philosophers have long neglected. Accordingly, the explicit basis by which he thinks the category of “peace” in fragments such as Christendom or Europe remains open to (Laruellean) non-philosophical experimentation. Thinkers today may do better to encounter his poetry as essentially and constructively grounded in ongoing works of peace.2 We may actively forget the ideal image of a Novalis seen as the charming poster-child of German Romanticism in order to operationalize the non-standard aesthetics underlying magical idealism. By cloning his thought via a formal matrix of peace, we may seek out a new Novalis who engages syn-critically with the philosophers of German Idealism in his time – and, as a visionary, also mysteriously with those beyond it. This speculative endeavor lends its primary focus to Novalis and his relationship with the thought of Friedrich Schelling by braiding together “post-Schellingians” such as Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Rosenzweig. These considerations hold vast implications for the future development of a philosophy of nonviolence.

1 Stoljar, Margaret Mahony. “Christendom or Europe”. Novalis: Philosophical Writings. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 1997. Print. 137.

2 This phrase may call to mind Kierkegaard’s 1847 text Works of Love.

The Diyas-ian Psychology of Festivity

Preface:  An Update on “Me”

It has been several months since I last posted here. My most sincere apologies.

For a long time, I feared silently that I had run out of words. Where does one go after spending so much time in the central, silent chamber of the salt mine? I had less to say, giving my thoughts instead unto the peaceful silence. I also began reading less books and articles, as I increasingly found it hard to find things that sparked my creativity. Of what might this be a symptom? Have I finished my process of “individuation”? Have I completed the stages of my Hero’s Journey? Obviously not, one might say, but still the question poses itself: What happens now that I have made peace with traditional Christianity (e.g. as a friend says, a relationship that is “uneasy and uncomfortable, but affirming nonetheless”), effectively ending my long-standing “crisis of faith”? I can now see, for instance, why the issue of “enlightenment” becomes so tricky to handle among even the most advanced spiritual practitioners (NB: I am not one of them). If you are not paying attention, a certain “narcissism” always seeps quietly in the back door. Or perhaps it is more likely that this self-mastery was there laughing at me the entire time.

In the past few months, my personality and thought became almost frighteningly well-integrated, as the multiple fragments of truth slowly came together into an almost-Whole that soon became “good enough” by approximation. I turned away from high theory, to the extent that I could escape its grasp, and instead I decided to move towards (direct) action in the world. I joined a Quaker meeting, and I began working alongside committed peace and justice activists in general. In any case, I also recognized others I had met on this journey who, seemingly, had also reached similar plateaus. They took on these “shining” and genuinely unique personalities of their own, perhaps reflective of their original disposition or “psychological type”. Mine, like an INFJ, is characterized by its “tenderness” as George Fox might say.

In any case, my tender self continued conversation and dialogue with a few others, but only a few.

On the whole, I grew increasingly indifferent and (so) stopped adding content here. Every now and then I would try to write something new, but would be utterly incapable of speaking. I have always been rather lonely, but I suspect that I grew more alienated in some ways that completely eluded me. The difference being that now I could manage it more or less effortlessly by turning that loneliness into a generalized solitude. This alchemy became an embodied act, albeit one which took a lot of effort. Alchemical processes, in and of themselves, failed to enchant me anymore now that they gradually became “normalized” in my thinking. In short, this normalization drained me of my longstanding creativity. I soon found that this drainage was not either psychologically or ecologically sustainable for me in the long-run. I wasn’t able to write, simply, because I did not allow myself any real occasion to speak. There were now so few with whom I could communicate, constructively, at this “high” level. Silence became my refuge, my newly-acquired form of passive resistance.

With this realization, my (pathetic, desperate, etc. insert any adjective you please) situation increasingly made sense to me. I needed more than a mere occasion to speak.

In short, I needed an entire festival.

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Sikhing Life: Jainity of Jainities, all is Jainity!

Steps to Nuclear Non-Proliferation:

We have been obsessed for a while with the mysteries of the “en-” prefix, and have come to accept its use as if it were a general principle or remedy for our thought: e.g. enfold, enframe, ensure, embody, engage, envolve, engender, entension, enrich, and so on and so on.

We may jokingly suggest it it takes at least two of Zizek’s humorous “and so on’s” to bring us to the appropriate level of a 2-categorical abstraction. More seriously, upon reaching this powerful idea of “enrichment”, it proves time to speak to our obsession with this prefix itself. We can no longer restrict our attention simply to its positive usage in higher category theory and perhaps even in molecular biology and leave out one glaring exception where the term “enrichment” sticks out like a mushroom cloud: Nuclear Physics.

For all this talk of becoming-plasma, all this talk of dealing with experimental physics generally, there has been no single mention of the kinds of atrocities that have been brought forth as a result. Specifically, we have had a historical tendency to weaponize the concept of “enrichment” to horrific ends. That this term evokes memories of collective trauma and great violences in the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in the tragedies of Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, and most recently in the earthquake-tsunami in Fukushima speaks also to its deeply peaceful importance when used properly.

Particularly when it comes to nuclear arms, bombs, missiles, and other weapons, we cannot overlook this nuclear side of the category of enrichment in our thorough-going thinking through of non-violence as such. When we meet the concept of “enrichment”, we are almost immediately given to think and to resist the violences which have emerged from it. How is it that a concept which has done much to benefit us thus far, in higher category theory and in developing the mathematics behind the internal conceptual logic of satyagraha, can result also in such a disaster?

What were we thinking? Where did we misstep along our path?

We turn back, back to category theory again. Like conceptual engineers, we look to see where the anomaly could possibly have occurred in our usage. As a general rule of thumb, we know it is most likely to be where we started in our thinking, in our first step. Was there not sufficient quality of thought to begin with? Yes, that is probably it, maybe we made a mistake. We must bring ourselves think-together again and again, forming perhaps a global “nuclear family” in addition to our local one. Aha! Here, it appears the problem arises from the essential definition of “category” itself. Because we are speaking in terms of categorical logic, we effectively enforced a certain ordering between the “source” and the “target” objects in order to proceed any further.

You must begin somewhere, they say. Why not begin with a step along a path, like a step from f:A -> B ?

Yes, that is exactly what we did: We assigned one category as the “source” and created a functor all the way on through to the “target” object.

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Gandhian Experimentation and non-Laruellean non-Philosophy

Following up my post on “Alomancy and the Act of Gluing” (see here), I would like to formally introduce Mahatma Gandhi as an experimenter and non-Laruellean non-philosopher.  The next post in the series is entitled “The Weighted Limits of Gandhian Justice and Love” (see here), which continues the ideas developed in this one.

I strongly believe it is time to take his thought seriously in this particular theoretical capacity and especially in others related to direct action. To do so, I seek to begin a dialogue within non-philosophical circles on what one would think should come more or less naturally due to the repeated use of the “non-” prefix — which is to say non-violence. And yet, for all the talk of “non-”, it is increasingly strange that there has been no explicit thinking through of non-violence on its own legs, nor any discussion of Gandhi’s texts, nor even a conversation as it relates to the oeuvre of Francois Laruelle‘s non-philosophy.

In fact, throughout the history of philosophy at large, too, there has been a failure to appropriately address questions relating to “violence” as such, as well as its related concepts such as “trauma”. The difficulty of theorizing these concepts arguably comes with the failure to give non-violence and satyagraha an appropriate treatment in thought and in practice. To better understand these concepts, I propose that the time for active non-violent resistance has come and an ethos of non-violence ought to be appropriately generated among thinkers in the mutual pursuit of Truth.

The following post seeks to re-introduce Gandhian satyagraha in many of its simplicites and complexities, by way of recourse to his own short summaries as well as to higher category theory.

1. Gandhian Experimentation; Gandhi as Experimenter

Satyagraha, as conceived by me, is a science in the making. It may be that what I claim to be a science, may prove to be no science, may prove to be no science at all, and may well prove to be the musings and doings of a fool, if not a mad man. It may be that what is true in Satyagraha is as ancient as the hills. - Harijan: Sept 24, 1938

The Science of Satyagraha has not been woven out of my brain. It has come to me in driblets and by scientific research. It is the result of the hardest labour human beings is capable of. I have applied to this research all the skill of a scientist. I have worked at it unceasingly and unremittingly, and this is the result. - Conversations of Gandhiji: P.40

We first begin by applying our mathematical sheaf-theoretic approach to the physical gauge theory.

In ordinary language, a “sheaf” is a collection of items held or bound together, and its analogous conceptual gesture is the gathering together of the many “fragments” of Truth-Love. Likewise, a “gauge” is a standard or scale of measurement, whose corresponding signature is Life, and specifically its experimental balancing of the “integration” of these many parts. Appropriately, then, Gandhi titled his autobiography The Story of My Experiments with Truth, so as to outline clearly from the onset the two major elements at play in his own life: Truth and Experiment.

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A “Salty” Divination: Alomancy and the Act of Gluing

A “Salty” Divination:

In my previous two posts, entitled “The ‘EN-d’ is Near: Fragments of the Christian Logic” (see here) and “Postmodernism in the Classroom: ELI5 ‘Gluing’ with Zizek Stories” (see here), I continued along the line of purification of the desire within. Here, through our the altar-ative experience in central chamber of the salt mine (see here), a more explicit understanding of a four-step process begins takes hold in the realization of the importance of pursuing a model or “objective externality” (see here) which can then be brought back to the Wilderness outside.

This requires a process called ALOMANCY.

Alomancy (from Greek halo, ‘salt’, and manteia, divination), also called Adromancy, ydromancie, idromancie, and halomancy, is an ancient form of divination. Similar to many other forms of divination, the diviner casts salt crystals into the air and interprets the patterns as it falls to the ground or travels through the air. The diviner can also interpret patterns formed from the residue of a salt solution as it evaporates in the bowl. The exact interpretations are unknown, but it probably follows a similar method to aleuromancy.

Salt itself is often intertwined with luck and some of this ancient tradition can be seen in the superstitions, such as perceived misfortune when the salt cellar is overturned and the custom of throwing salt over the left shoulder for good luck. One form of Alomancy consists of the casting of salt into a fire, which is considered a type of Pyromancy.

To do so, we have Wandered significantly, insignificantly, and non-significantly through a complex and otherwise mystic encounter with numerology/astrology/alchemy. It seems that our “Prayers of Oil and Salt” have somehow (as if by magic) been answered through this liberatory word: ALOMANCY.

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Postmodernism in the Classroom: OR, ELI5 “Gluing” with Zizek Stories

Beyond Good and Evil; Beyond the “Christian Logic” of Cutting:Prelude: This post continues from a previous one (see here) on Christian logic and its internal operations of “cutting”. It seeks to make clear the importance of a “proper” gluing on the sheaf outside of the Christian story of fragmentation, in a moment instead of re-integration of fragments. To do so, fragmentary remarks on Christian logic will be made, and the significance of post-modernism in-the-classroom will be underlined in order to explain “gluing” in simple, trans- or post-”religious” terms. Connections will be made periodically to math theory and in particular to category theory.

In my last post on “Christian logic”, I inquired as to if we take the strength of Christianity as being its moving story of fragmentation or moment of differentiation (e.g. “cutting”), whether or not there is a ()hole complex: namely, since this story leaves open the question of the future and the unknown, new Whole generally.

Come what may, we might ask: How are we (eg. in what manner, in what way) to re-integrate the fragments again into a unitive (W)hole, i.e. “gluing”? If we don’t, then I think one must take on a semblance of “sinful” conscience which still thinks and acts out love in rudimentary, dualistic terms of principles like “good and “evil”. It’s weakness is in enacting a kind of post-Crucifixion re-integration, I think. 

Fragmentation allows us to develop a mentality of love, or take on love as a fundamental, existential mood. Yet, it is a powerful love reserved for fragments generally (i.e. for others in the category of “sinners” like us universally, so to speak). While it gives us our focus as love, it does not seem to tell us anything about the unknown itself in absence this “conscience of sin”, in absence of the category of “sinner”, or otherwise in the presence of Other, foreign categories altogether. In a word, there is no gluing, or no “proper” gluing.

 

With this mood, given by fragmentation, we consistently “react” to the unknown categories no matter what they are with grace and with love.

Yet, it is as though we still cannot provide a uniquely unitive love sans the many violences of categories, nor a love with “higher” or just in case “enriched” categories which do the same, but only a love tacitly opposed to its opposite, opposed subtly or not-so-subtly at times to those which even so much skirt around the edges of the category “sinner”. That loving mood is very important and very powerful, but I’m wondering if it is only a part of the story and thus if something can enfold it.

The missing element, I think, is a certain “purification of desire” – especially of “religious” desire – which allows one to concretely prepare for the future before it arrives so to speak. To know (gnosis) or otherwise foresee the future while still in the present. There is a perhaps counter-intuitive sense in which you cannot actually love anybody unless you “know” their heart for what it is in itself. Is this given by Christianity in the capacity of its story of fragmentation? I think not. In any other of its capacities, such as Wisdom literature? Perhaps we are warmer here. Is this (call it instead a “story of integration”) given otherwise in non-Christian contexts? I think so, with some inter-faith gluing.

Which (who) are the unknown lovers of Christianity, the Other of “Christian logic”? Can we know them? What’s more, can we love them? Can we stop our cutting, our always already cutting, our cutting-already?

To do so, we need to learn how to “glue” properly instead.

Postmodernism in the Classroom: 

OR, ELI5 and grew up with Zizek for Bedtime Stories

One appropriate response might be:

OK. Almost got it, but not quite? Explain like I’m a five year old who grew up with Zizek for bedtime stories.

I’ll do you one better: Imagine you were the kindergarten teacher of Zizek (yes, for those curious, he probably still looked like a grizzly then with a full beard and over-sized T-shirts too).

Your give your students something colorful called “construction paper” (e.g. the creative unconscious, or desiring-production in Deleuzian-speak/schizoanalysis). We begin roughly there, and you provide a few other tools as well, namely: those rounded child-safe scissors, crayons and markers, Elmer’s glue (you say: DON’T EAT IT, SLAVOJ!), some sparkly PoMo glitter, etc. So you, Deleuze, Derrida, Lacan, Zizek, and Foucault (…among many others which you may add in at-will) each as cute little 5 year old boys, sit around the table with their colorful paper ready-to-hand.

Your tell the kids that they can make anything you can imagine. Here, there are an infinite number of possibilities before them which will and will not unfold in the class period. Not long after you turn your gaze, Derrida and Foucault get in a biopolitical power-fight over who-gets-what-colored-paper. “MY BODY, THIS PAPER, MY FIRE!” says a young Michel while snatching the red paper out of Jacques hands… He is obviously very hurt is often bullied by the others. From this comes later in the year pieces such as THE PRAYERS AND TEARS OF JACQUES DERRIDA and THE WORK OF MOURNING and ARCHIVE FEVER among many other works… You discipline and punish them both.

The other Jacques (surname Lacan, he’s new on your roster) tells everybody they should make a chain-knot with their paper, or maybe a Borromean knot. He was known to twist a strip of construction paper into a Mobius strip, too. He is clearly very innovative for his age, though he bragged a lot and was often noisy in class. Meanwhile, Deleuze begins his own masterpiece, finding another kid named Felix to help him fold (“THE FOLD”) the paper in ways which none of the other kids could understand; for a 5-year-old, it is remarkable how closely they adhere to, say, Francis Bacon’s aesthetics or to the coloring and incompleteness of a famous artist like Cezanne.

He and Derrida would get along often, and sometimes Foucault would join too — especially when it came time to do another artistic activities like paper machee. At this point, Foucault clearly admires Deleuze’s balls of paper, his intricate foldings and origami, and his use of color generally. If only this century would be Deleuzian! Lacan is naturally somewhat jealous. Enter also Laruelle, who is the one to say at last “non-cutting” through dualysis, but who does not quite yet know how to say the word “gluing”.

Sinking in his chair, with a rainbow of colors stained on his shirt, and perhaps a little glue on his fingers and around his lips a strange and somewhat frantic child named SLAVOJ picks up the scissors and cuts all the multi-colored paper into different shapes and sizes. All over his work-space, there is a bunch of organs-without-bodies in the form of all the random fragments he cut out. They are just “floating” there on the table, with no discernible method to the madness; there is only a certain madness.

Each day you begin by giving them free-time to draw, cut, and glue. As the year goes on, you may notice patterns of DIFFERENCE AND REPETITION in their many pieces as you hang them…

From Non-Gluing to Cutting to Non-Cutting back to Gluing again.

Now, what I am talking about here is the conceptual gestures of “cutting” and “gluing”.

The child-Zizek is a cutting expert, and he works very well with the scissors, perhaps just as good if not “better” than any of the others, but we may say as a teacher he is still not gluing “properly”. Lacan by contrast glues, yes, but only very minimally (say, as one would to close his knots). Though he, too, certainly cuts a lot. Sure, Derrida, Foucault,et al. use a lot of glitter, but I don’t think that’s something to reprimand them for if you’re thinking as a child.

After all Zizek, perhaps the youngest in class, learned to cut by watching those “older boys”, anyways. I personally like Deleuze and Laruelle because while they don’t ultimately do much in way of gluing, they fold and twist and so forth, generally calling for an ethos of “non-cutting” reflective of a basic orientation of non-violence.

In the Hegelian mind of Zizek, he likely does not believe at all that he is bad at gluing or is doing it improperly — for cutting is essentially the same thing as gluing, in a sense.

When you think of gluing, for instance, you are actually gluing-things-together-which-were-once-apart. For Zizek’s cutting, he sees himself as gluing-things-apart-which-were-once-together. Thus from the eyes of a teacher, the young Slavoj uses his scissors too much and does not use not enough paste. This is especially annoying, if, say, you picked out a step-by-step craft on Pinterest. This means Zizek may not listen to you at all since in his eyes there is no Big Other, no God, no Teacher, “and so on”. Instead, Lacan urges him to “Enjoy your symptom!” and so (on) he does. In fact, Lacan is like bad peer pressure sometimes, like the smart kid in the class who likes to “bend” the rules. Zizek is therefore quite rebellious in the end, often disobeying the teacher and being sent to time-out as a result.

I am trying to think not so much of how to use the scissors or glitter, but how to glue “properly”. How also, as a student, perhaps, one ought to pass in this class. I take the parallel main question as: How ought I live in this world? It’s also the guiding question of Wisdom literature, by the way. Clearly, we are already at a minimal kind of pluralism, at least recognizing that there are multiple classes and forms of life (we may imagine others exist, with other students and teachers). We often struggle though with our classmates and, if applicable, our “Teacher-capital-T”… all the while we still do not know how to share our toys and, well, love others and provide simple care where it is needed most.

I understand that the framing of this world as a classroom already presupposes a “cut” between teacher-student, so my example is already inherently problematic. In the same way, though, if we accept that the advantage of Christianity is the “story of fragmentation”, then we are also given to make similar “cuts”. This is the dualistic idea behind the master-slave dialectic which Nietzsche regards as troublesome in Christianity. A “cut” down the middle divides things into at least two fragments, and so too does Jesus (“I come not to bring peace but a sword”, etc.).

The only change is that there is ultimately a Teacher of all Teachers so to speak. Thus begins the kind of “Christian logic” from which I’m seeking a certain distance, I think. The answer is found in a sort of desired gluing that does the work of the re-integration of fragments, again I think. What I’m looking for in these inter- or post-faith discussions is a [non-]story of re-integration.

Generally speaking, “Christians” take their guiding logical principle various dichotomies such as sinners-saints, good-evil, heaven-hell, etc. and (so) deconstructing them isn’t sufficient for the simple reason that they are “outside the text” (the world) and thus outside the classroom, when it comes to “religion” and particularly when it comes to Christianity. The “center of gravity” is shifted away from Life itself when it comes to Christian logic. In any case, Lacan and Derrida at one point get into a heated dispute over “the letter” a, as in objet petit a and differance. Lacan says a is indivisible, it is the unitive ground, while Derrida says it is still infinitely divisible.

They are both right as this is, roughly, the construction paper itself. We make-use of it in a plurality of ways. Lacan’s God is the construction paper itself, while Derrida’s is the unnameable of negative theology. Yet they both believe in God. A good post-Jungian like Hillman is more of a poly-theist takes the gods to be the archetypes (combinations of artistic-output), or perhaps even the act of imagination as such. This is admittedly an improvement, but it is still somewhat cutting (see here) and perhaps in deeper and more vulnerable ways than in postmodernism, which is like a series of quick-cuts that heal easily with a band-aid.

Hence, it is reasonable that Lacan makes chain-knots or Borromean knots, while Derrida is more like Zizek insofar as he mostly just cuts. Derrida never “learned how to glue, finally”, but is an expert at, say, making things like paper-snowflakes.

The key to understanding the construction paper is that it is first given by the teacher, just like there is often a sense of abundance – which we may call “creation” or simply “the world” – that is “given by God” as it were. Now, the whole point about “reactionary” is that even if we cut beautiful conjoined-angels out of paper (call it a true “Christian-cutting”), it is only a reaction to being-given this construction paper (again, the collective or otherwise creative unconscious) in the world.

While Zizek’s work clearly isn’t like an angel, he is essentially re-thinking this kind of beauty by making organs-without-bodies instead of angelic bodies. At the heart, though, in terms of logics, he is still cutting just like a Christian would. He is still reacting, like the Christian, to what is given. “You give and take away, you give and take away, but my heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be your name…” See, again, even this dualistic principle of give-take leads us back to the logic of Christianity.

“Christian materialist” is ultimately an accurate phrase for Zizek – it makes perfect sense when considered in the context of “Christian logic” and “materialist logic” combined. Yet, so long as I am “cutting”, my logic is formally like that of a Christian in spite of whether or not its content is “materialist”. Gluing has always been a messy thing. I seek the same distance from Zizek as I do from Christianity, simply because both in their own ways valorize the act of cutting. In fact, and perhaps this will get me kicked out of class here, we may even prefer a humble orthodox Christianity to Zizek’s rather unorthodox radical theology because it is a far simpler act of cutting — and yet it cuts all the same.

Have you ever heard, for example, Christians say that “Christ is the glue that holds us all together”?

Beyond the common-sense meaning, I say that as a first abstraction this appears quite misguided, since Christ is at his word clearly in the business of cutting, albeit differently than the cutting of the world! At second glance, a second abstraction, however, to say that Christ is the glue, well, that requires us to “know Christ” (gnosis) through Wisdom (see here), to know the substance of glue as such, what materials make it up, and so on. This is the sense in which it I think is more accurate, and this – I think – we have come to call “speculative realism”.

We know how to use scissors and about the act of cutting; yet, even CR/SR/OOO doesn’t tell us anything about the act of gluing, and only barely what glue is… and so it is appropriate to move with-and-beyond this discourse, too, onward to a post-postmodern MOA-3…

Note to self: In mathematics and /r/MathTheory at large, so too you have “set theory” which is “cutting” things as it were into sets (…it follows that Badiou is the Master-Cutter…), “topos theory” which locates them locally in space (a topoi is related to a more generalized set, one which may provide non-standard foundations) or in the classroom so to speak, then “category theory” which is generally “non-cutting” (i.e. as in non-philosophy and mis-reading Wisdom, see here) but still not yet “gluing”. Then, we start to move to higher category theory to think of the category of “adhesives” generally in what I’m calling for in my post ad fontes.

I hope that this wild prefix “EN-” and what I’m calling a process of (“divinatory”) envolution, helps us think of the act of gluing itself in conjunction with “enriched” category theory which enjoins in that use of EN– leading us in the EN-d to better navigate the playground of string theory, I hope. Then, we pray for some kind of plasmic model to explicitly address the “Thorn of the Blue Rose” (see here).

Interpretation with-and-beyond Novalis