Schelling's Treatise on the Essence of Human Freedom

7. If man, as the being who is not only itself, becomes the criterion, then what does humanizing mean? Does it not mean the precise opposite of what the objection takes it for?

But if this is true, we shall have to decide to read all great philosophy, and Schelling's treatise in particular, with different eyes.

Even if Schelling did not think through the "anthropomorphical" reservation in this fundamental way and did not see the realm of tasks behind it, one thing s till becomes quite clear. The fact of human freedom has for him its own factuality. Man is not an object of observation placed before us which we then drape with little everyday feelings . Rather, man is experienced in the insight into the absysses and heights of Being, in regard to the terrible element of the godhead, the lifedread of all creatures, the sadness of all created creators, the malice of evil and the will of love.

God is not debased to the level of man, but on the contrary, man is experienced in what drives him beyond himself in terms of those necessities by which he is established as that other. The "normal man" of all ages will never recognize what it is to be that other because it means to him the absolute disruption of existence. Man—that other—he alone must be the one through whom the God can reveal himself at all, if he reveals himself.

There is throughout Schelling's treatise something of the fundamental mood of Hölderlin of whom we spoke at an earlier occasion (winter semester 1934/35 and summer semester 1935).

"For because
The most blessed feel nothing themselves,
Another, if to say such a thing
Is permitted, must, I suppose,
In the gods' name, sympathetically feel,
They need him."*

* Hölderlin: His Poems, trans . Michael Hamburger (London: Harvill Press, 1952).

Martin Heidegger (GA 42) Schelling's Treatise on the Essence of Human Freedom