Thursday, July 5, 2007

The sky, the sun, the stars

"Where, exceptionally, the eye also provides such an identity of impressions for a great number of people, then the communalizing sociological effect also occurs. The fact that all people can simultaneously see the sky and the sun is, I believe, an essential element for the union which every religion implies. For each religion somehow turns, in its origin or form, to the sky or the sun and has some sort of relationship to these all-encompassing and world-dominating entities. The fact that a sense which in practical life is so exclusive as the eye, which even somehow modifies what is simultaneously seen for each person by means of the diversity of the viewpoint, nonetheless does indeed have a content — the sky, the sun, the stars — that is absolutely not exclusive, and which offers itself uniformly to everyone. This fact must foster, on the one hand, that transcendence from the narrowness and particularity of the human subject which every religion contains and, on the other, support or favour the element of a union of the faithful, which every religion likewise contains." (Simmel on Culture, 116-117)