das Ding/ the Thing/ Stvar

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© Luna Jovanović

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‘(…) It is only when we can see through THINGs and open ourselves to the reality of flux and fluidity that is ultimately ungraspable and inconceivable.’

Rodin emphasized the importance of seeing “things.” The word “Dinge” (things) occurs over and over again in Rilke’s poems, especially in his later work. But the English “things” is weak. What did Rilke mean by “thing”? Something beyond the external appearance…one might be tempted to say “the-thing-in-itself,” were it not for unhelpful philosophical associations; “essence-of-a-thing” might be better. Sometimes Rilke was able to see… In some of his poems the word “form” might be more appropriate than “thing”: a manifestation has to have form–a form such as a tree, an animal, a cathedral, a human being… a “thing” is an expression of something beyond form: the formless from which all forms arise.”

—Tilo Ulbricht, an excerpt from A THOUSAND ROOTS: “An Introduction to the Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke”

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‘..because at bottom all phenomena are ineffable, incomprehensible, impossible to delimit.’
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