Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Gunpowder "was one of the chief instruments in freeing the world from the dominion of physical force. . . ."

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Das Schießpulver “war ein Hauptmittel zur Befreiung von der physischen Gewalt. . . .”

     Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Philosophy of history IV.ii.3 ("The transition from feudalism to monarchy"), trans. J. Sibree (GBWW, vol. 46, p. 343); ed. Karl Hegel, p. 486.
     This must be read very carefully in context, of course.  (For example, by "physical force" Hegel means the physical force of feudalism, that wielded by "haughty steel-clad nobles, armed with spear and sword" against the peasantry.)
     But still,
We may indeed be led to lament the decay or the depreciation of the practical value of personal valourthe bravest, the noblest may be shot down by a cowardly wretch at a safe distance in an obscure lurking place; but, on the other hand, gunpowder has made a rational, considerate braveryspiritual valour [(eine vernünftige, besonnene Tapferkeit, den geistigen Muth)]the essential to martial success.  Only through this instrumentality could that superior order of valour be called forth, that valour in which the heat of personal feeling has no share [(die Tapferkeit ohne persönliche Leidenschaft)]; . . .

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