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The Panentheism of Karl Christian Friedrich Krause (1781-1832)

From Transcendental Philosophy to Metaphysics

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Benedikt Paul Göcke

The book provides the first analysis of Karl Christian Friedrich Krause’s system of philosophy and his panentheism in English. Karl Christian Friedrich Krause has bequeathed to us a system of philosophy which is little recognised in contemporary philosophy. This is both surprising and unfortunate, because Krause’s philosophical system has much to offer: Through transcendental reflection on the nature of the human, Krause understands God as the one infinite and unconditioned reality, and the ultimate necessary condition of knowledge. God makes humanity, nature, and reason ultimately comprehensible as the essential categories of the divine Essence. God is thus the single, primary, object of science that is already logically presupposed even before His discovery. Science presupposes theology, and theology is best read as panentheism.

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1. The Life of Karl Christian Friedrich Krause

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1.  The Life of Karl Christian Friedrich Krause

Karl Christian Friedrich Krause dedicated his life solely to his philosophical ideals, and lived according to their practical consequences, without regard to his own well-being. Because of this principled, even unreasonable, stubbornness, Krause can be understood as the tragic hero of his own philosophy, who never wanted to adapt to existing social expectations, and needed all his energy to work through them: ‘I know the world as it should be, and, in fact, it’s worth a little trouble to find it as it is; at least I would find each constellation only too often, as it should not be. […] I know, in some eyes I judge and I act wrongly; only this is however better than to be a fool in one’s own eyes. I act as I think it is reasonable and am full of confidence for the future; because I know what can be robbed from me and what not’ (cited in Kodalle 1985: 272).6

One of his two biggest problems was that he spent most of his life dependent on the financial support of his father. Despite three Habilitationsschriften, he never succeeded in obtaining a permanent position at a university. Furthermore, and this affected him personally far more, he was a member of the Freemasons, in whose principles he discerned the germ of a new social order to which his own ideas closely corresponded. But, due to differing views on public dissemination, he offended against the Masonic rules.7 So it does not come as any surprise when he leaves this in his diary, found a few months before his death: ‘It is not true that the world can only rob us of external goods, not those inside. With hands, of course, only the external is carried away, but, indirectly this takes from us to the most essential goods because it robs us of this good: the ability to freely interact with God with a critical, reflective spirit, and hold in measured, serious, stillness the power of God. The constraints of the outside world and the ← 15 | 16 → persecution of my fellow men – men whom I have harmed neither in word nor deed – broke my external effectiveness, thwarted the education of my children, shattered my married life, drove me from any professorial chair and undermined my health’ (Krause 1900: 402f).

Whoever writes in his diary in this way, at the end of his life, gives the impression of being a broken man. But despite the feeling of having largely failed, and in spite of his adverse circumstances, Krause never lost his mystical, visionary, belief in God or, as he also calls God, Orwesen, or Essence.8 This enthusiastic and never irrational belief, which comes to light in all his writings most clearly, was the source of his energy. He conducted his own conversation with God, which he always knew how to carry on. It is therefore not surprising that, in his last diary entry, shortly before his death, in a period of apparent recovery, Krause turns directly to God: ‘Essence! Profoundly stirred, I thank you for your help; I meant to die and you have saved me. Yes, for You I want to live, for You I want to die! – Preserve for me what is mine! Give me mine; I will gather it around me, so that your living essence [Wesenleben] can truly flourish and become what it is, on Earth! Thanks and Glory be to you, O Essence, only to you!’ (Krause 1900: 415). Eight days later, on 27 September 1832, Krause died impoverished, after a stroke in Munich, his final refuge. He had just had to leave the city of Göttingen because of student unrest, in which he was accused of having been involved.

1.1  Krause’s childhood and education

Krause was born on 6 May 1781 in Eisenberg, a small town in Thuringia. He was the first son of Johann Friedrich Gotthard Krause, a teacher at the town’s lyceum, and Christiana Friederika Krause, the daughter of a tradesman. His parents subsequently had another daughter, Johanna Sophie Ernestine, and another son, who survived only a short time. Christiana Krause died on 21 December 1784, when Karl was three years old. His father remarried four years later; his second wife was the widow of an ← 16 | 17 → Eisenberg goldsmith. Karl had a loving relationship with his stepmother, without ever forgetting his own mother’s early death.9

In childhood, Krause was of a rather sickly disposition. He suffered from recurrent headaches. Aged five, he fell ill with smallpox, which was accompanied by seizures. Aged eight, he contracted measles. He was of small stature and remained rather feeble throughout his childhood.10 He spent the early years of schooling in Eisenberg, before joining the Convent School in Donndorf in Easter 1792. Despite his illness, Krause would always retain good memories of his time there: ‘How much good have the few so-called convent schools and royal schools given! I also owe my education to such a gentle school; a nunnery institution, and took refuge there – a kingdom of heaven, I poor, deeply afflicted, sick child!’ (Krause 1900a: 233f).

In 1794 Krause returned to the Eisenberg Lyceum. He remained there until his father took a new job, as pastor in Nobitz, in 1795, and the small family had to move. During this time, Krause began to suffer severe nightmares, and lived in fear of death: ‘As a child of six years […] almost every day the most serious thoughts; came [to me] like: “Think of death.” In the most serious, solemn, dreams, I often wandered around graves in cemeteries, churches, palaces with monuments’ (Krause 1900: 388). He was subjected to medical bloodletting aimed at alleviating this suffering, first yearly, then every six months.11 But Krause did not become unmotivated or bedridden through his numerous illnesses. He already found consolation ← 17 | 18 → in music, something which would accompany him throughout his life. By the age of thirteen, he was accomplished in piano, organ and other instruments. As Lindemann (1839: 3) writes: ‘[Krause had] a bright and high soprano voice, and such musical talent that he could sing hymns exactly. When learned, at seven, the rudiments on the piano, under the guidance of his father, he did it with such diligence and with such insistence that his father was often very worried about his health. And when the ten-year-old boy copied down sonatas by Hayden, Bach and Mozart until late at night, because his father did not want to buy them, his father was afraid music would turn the boy away from his main purpose [to study theology].’

Despite his childhood being marked by illness, by the age of seventeen he had developed into a handsome man of medium height and considerable physical strength, the latter due to the regimen of physical exercises prescribed to him: ‘Despite [his] illnesses, he got by and continued the physical exercises begun in Donndorf. Through this vigorous physical training it came to pass that by his seventeenth year he had broad shoulders and strong arms and legs, despite being smaller than average. He had so much muscular strength that, by 20–22 years, he could lift weights and carry three adult persons around the room’ (Lindemann 1839: 4).

On 11 July 1797 he passed the leaving examination at the gymnasium in the nearby town of Altenburg, and enrolled in the same year at the University of Jena, which had a major, albeit tragic, role to play in his future. In Jena he ‘heard lectures by the theologians Griesbach, Paul, Ilgen and Jacobi; the philosophers Fichte, Schütz, Eichstädt, Schelling, and A. W. Schlegel; and the scientists Voigt, Succow, Loder, Bretschneider, Batsch, Lenz, Graumüller, Göttling and Stahl’ (Ureña 1991: 30).

Although it had been the father’s wish that Krause primarily devote himself to the study of theology in Jena, Karl decided, without completely dismissing his father’s suggestion, to follow his own interests, and began a profound study of mathematics and philosophy.12 The study years in Jena ← 18 | 19 → were for Krause some of the happiest of his life. ‘I was never involved in work as in Jena, and have never worked with so much inner pleasure’ (Krause 1903: 13). This is all the more remarkable as Krause voluntarily submitted to a curriculum that one might expect to strike fear into today’s undergraduates: ‘This half year, I just want to study Fichte’s system. In the half a year to come, whether here or in Leipzig […] I want to listen to dogmatics, read the Bible (and, at the same time, educate myself systematically in biblical doctrine and morality) and study geography. With this, there still always remain a few hours for the study of philosophy, daily. Then I want a half year history, both political and church history, then half a year’s study of literature, as an introduction to the study of all sciences. Then I want to go at the mathematical and physical sciences. The Candidate Examination will fall in this time. What is required to prepare for that should not be neglected. If have had the good luck to continue my study of philosophy until then, I then hope to be able to dare to become a doctor in Jena. Once I am a candidate, and doctor of philosophy, then it will certainly go on like this. At the same time I will continue with music, that is, with the piano and the flute, one day perhaps travelling to make use of it, because I will always derive pleasure from it. Music is worthwhile, as extremely advantageous for the formation of a good taste and a cultivated man. To put this plan into effect, I will philosophize 8 hours, that is: 3 or 4 to 11 in the morning, daily. The Collegia takes up six hours. The rest of the time I will devote to music, recreation, and reading newspapers. Every night I’ll go to bed at nine. On Sundays I will practice French, English and Italian, thereby at least preventing their oblivion. I’ve already started this way of life’ (Proksch 1880: 8f).

1.2  Krause’s years as Privatdozent in Jena

Whether Krause remained true to this ambitious plan cannot be recovered historically. It is certain that Krause was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy on 6 October 1801, with a thesis on the ‘Forbidding of the White Lie’ and a work entitled Disquisitio mathematica de inventione numerorum primorum et factorum compositorum (‘Mathematical discourse on the first discovery of numbers and the combining of factors’). Shortly after, he passed the theological candidates examination. ← 19 | 20 →

During the time of his Habilitation, at the beginning of his career as a young lecturer (Privatdozent) Krause fell in love with Amalie Concordia Fuchs. Amalie was the daughter of a wine merchant from Eisenberg. Although his parents spoke out against this relationship due to various rumours concerning the integrity of Amalie, Karl and Amalie decided to marry publicly, on 19 July 1802. Krause tried to calm his father down in a letter: ‘As soon as you and mum see Cordchen, talk to her and get to know her, you will learn to approve of everything. I know this. Now, you certainly do not have to be alarmed by the unsolicited views and slanders of perhaps well-intentioned gossips. That she is virtuous and has always been, I know, as I know I am myself. […] That she is well educated, thrifty, temperate and has business knowledge, you will find yourself, once you get to know her. […] And many young men are inflamed by envy of me. When one’s heart is full, one’s mouth speaks, however unfair one’s heart is.’ (Krause 1903: 46). In a marriage which lasted thirty years, Karl and Amalie had fourteen children, twelve of whom would survive their parents.

In 1802, Krause passed his Habilitation, in Jena, with the work de philosophiae et matheseos notione et earum intima conjunctione (‘Concerning philosophical and astrological notions and their intimate conjunction’). The public disputation was held on 2 April 1802. He offered lectures in logic, natural law, and pure mathematics, for the summer semester, in the University of Jena. Despite the fact that these lectures had not been announced in advance, he found an audience for all of them: ‘My lectures have all come about. Although I did not have a big audience in Jena, they were hard-working, and those that are there are very much appreciated. – Early, at six I deliver natural law, where there are five. […] At two, at pure mathematics, there are four. I would have more if I had eight more days, like Stahl, who started the introduction, which I could not do without attracting the attention of the Faculty [… and] at six, there are always approaching twenty for logic’ (Krause 1903: 44). In 1803 Krause lectured on logic and metaphysics, natural philosophy, natural law, and pure mathematics. His lectures were very well received by the students. Krause writes: ‘Yesterday I started my lecture series and, happily, all went well. There are all together about eighty already enrolled, and it is expected that a few will be added’ (Krause 1903: 57). In the winter semester of 1803 to 1804, Krause ← 20 | 21 → lectured on the System der Natur- und Transcendentalphilosophie nach Diktaten (‘System of Natural and Transcendental Philosophy’) and Reine Mathematik n.s. Compendium (Pure Mathematics’).

A year later, he announced his last lectures in Jena. But he left the city two weeks before the lectures were due to start, and settled briefly in the small town of Rudolstadt. Despite the pleas of his students, his patrons, and his father, Krause could not be persuaded to continue his work as a lecturer in the difficult University of Jena years.13 Personal reasons for this may be reconstructed with caution: ‘[Krause] could not expect sufficient income from the decreasing number of students at the university. Then there was the resentment of influential professors. Third, he had a clear desire for solitude and tranquillity, to be able to perfect his own scientific education. Finally, there was the additional fear of being decried by his opponents “as an extra-curricular lecturer” who could no longer lecture, and so was deprived of any possibility of a call to other universities’ (Ureña 1991: 93). We cannot know which was the most important of these reasons for Krause. The fact is that Krause saw no future for himself or his life as a scientist at Jena, even though he had been a successful lecturer, popular in the student body despite being exposed to hostility from his colleagues. ← 21 | 22 →

1.3  The restless years and Schopenhauer as a neighbour

Although there was no prospect of any permanent position in Rudolstadt, he remained there from the beginning of October 1804 to April 1805. He looked back on his time in the small village with affection: ‘I gained a lot by pulling out to Rudolstadt, to be sure, not immediately in money, but in insight and peace of mind; in Jena I should have acquired nothing of money anyway, and little of the higher possessions either’ (Krause 1903: 108).

On 6 April 1805, Krause moved to Dresden, with his family. He travelled via Altenburg, and was recorded on 5 April in the Masonic Lodge ‘Archimedes at the Three Drawing Boards’. On 31 October, he became affiliated to the Dresden Lodge ‘The Three Swords and the True Friends’. Krause committed to the Freemasons because of the ideal of human coexistence he saw formulated in Masonic writings. It had now to be shown that this could be extended to the whole of society, with the aim of its transformation into an integrated league of humanity. This hope, which grounded Krause’s lifelong high regard for the Masons, was bitterly disappointed in reality and led, after a rapid rise in his career in the lodge, to his expulsion on 17 December 1810.14 The ground for this was the imminent publication of his work ‘The Three Oldest Art Documents of the Masonic Brotherhood.’ In this particular publication, Krause took the side of the reformist Freemasons, against the traditionalists who wanted to ensure Masonic writings were published and controlled only within the lodges, especially those which concerned Masonic liturgy.15 ← 22 | 23 →

Apart from the dispute with the Masons, Krause’s first stay in Dresden is characterized by the fact that he still needed to keep himself afloat through giving private lessons, and needed the continued financial support of his father. In addition to the education of his children, to which he devoted several hours a day, he worked on writings on Freemasonry, sculpture, architecture, painting, music, the natural sciences, mathematics, geography, politics, society, ethics, natural law and linguistics (cf. Ureña 1991: 269). Although these topics are today classified as independent areas of science, it was clear to Krause that together they make up a single organic system of science: ‘That I am dealing with all sorts of things, I do at the urging of my spirit; it is nothing without unity, and there is nothing here that is not necessary to my main work, the system. I have still not exhausted this wealth of knowledge, and I cannot do anything else’ (Krause 1903: 190).

Krause’s first residence in Dresden was not of long duration. After just a few years, he and his family moved to the small Saxon town of Tharandt because of the advancing army of Napoleon: ‘I am glad that my renting [in Dresden] is coming to an end. Having considered everything well, I have decided to stay in Tharandt this summer and perhaps also next winter, where I be safe from all danger, and where I hope to complete several literary works in peace and quiet’ (Krause 1903: 334f). He remained there for several months before moving with his family to an apartment in Berlin’s Friedrichstrasse, on 15 December 1813. On arrival, Krause tried for a job at the University of Berlin. However, after some seeming initial success, he suffered a similar fate as in Jena. Because, in Krause’s view, the student numbers were too low to justify courses, he decided ‘to announce no courses for the next six months; because when I do announce them and cannot keep up, I regret making my announcement. And I would not be able keep them up, because I cannot live if I do not receive 200 thalers for such a lecture, for which I would need an audience of 40. And I cannot count on that, because there are still barely 100 students here [at the University]’ (Krause 1903: 332).

As in Jena, Krause was not persuaded by the advice of his friends to offer his lectures independently, on the hope of eventually receiving a secure position.16 It is therefore no surprise that Krause did not get the Chair of ← 23 | 24 → Philosophy freed up by Fichte’s death. While he was convinced that the Masons were responsible for this, the situation seems, in fact, quite otherwise: ‘That he was not elected Fichte’s successor, Krause primarily put down to the enmity of the Freemasons. […] However, if one considers the lengthy and intricate process of filling Fichte’s chair in an unprejudiced way, then those suspicions are shown to be hasty and simplistic. […] Besides, Krause was not the only one who was rejected by the Senate’ (Ureña 1991: 337).

Because this chance of obtaining a permanent position came to nothing, Krause decided to give up the profession of private tutor completely, in order to develop his System of Science. Krause saw no future in Berlin. Together with his family, he moved back to Dresden on 10 May 1815. From 1815 to 1818, Krause and his family lived in the same house as Arthur Schopenhauer; number 35, in the Große Meißnische Gasse. According to Wicks (2008:6), Krause and Schopenhauer might have crossed paths already in Berlin in 1812–1813: ‘Krause and Schopenhauer were both at the University of Berlin in 1812–13, were involved in philosophical studies at the university and were connected to Fichte as either present or former students.’ However, although it is true that both Krause and Schopenhauer were students of Fichte, at different times, it is unlikely that they met in Berlin in 1812–1813. This is not supported but rather denied by the available historical sources (cf. Safranski 2016: 547): Schopenhauer left Berlin on 2 May 1813, whereas Krause moved to Berlin, in the hope of starting a career at the new university there, not before 15 December 1813 (cf. Ureña 1991: 328–29).

The house at the Große Meißnische Gasse was within walking distance of the Japanischer Palais, in which the Royal Library with its collection of Indian and East Asian philosophy was accommodated, and was where the Masonic lodge Asträa held their meetings (cf. Wollgast 2016: 25).17 While ← 24 | 25 → Schopenhauer, who had been living there since April 1814, lived the quite life of a bachelor, Krause moved in with his wife Amalie and nine children. One can imagine that the Große Meißnische Gasse 35 suddenly was livelier, and maybe this was too much trouble and noise for Schopenhauer: We know that from 1816 onwards he rented a second flat in Dresden, in the Ostra-Allee 897, without giving up his flat in the Große Meißnische Gasse 35.18 Schopenhauer was therefore in the comfortable position of being able to freely choose whether to stay in the house with Krause, close to the Royal Library, or to stay in his second flat in a more quite part of town, where he mainly worked on his The World as Will and Representation.19

Krause and Schopenhauer’s shared time in the Große Meißnische Gasse ended when Schopenhauer travelled to Italy on on 24 September 1818, and was only interrupted once, by Krause’s journey to Italy from Easter 1817 to January 1818. When Schopenhauer returned from Italy in 1819, he did not come back to the flat in the Große Meißnische Gasse, and started to live exclusively in the Ostra-Allee 897 until he left Dresden in 1819 to pick up his new position in Berlin.

Although we do not know about their personal contact after 1818, we know that, during their shared time in the Große Meißnische Gasse, Krause and Schopenhauer had intense conversations and saw each other on a regular basis. As Cartwright states, ‘Schopenhauer was naturally drawn to [Krause] […], due to their mutual passion for mysticism and Eastern ← 25 | 26 → thought’ (Cartwright 2010: 283). We know that they exchanged books. This is evidenced by a letter written by Krause’s son Karl Erasmus on 22 September 1818: ‘Schopenhauer has fetched his book on Saturday, and wanted to come back on Monday to speak to you, but will now be gone’ (Ureña 1991: 530). We also know that Schopenhauer visited Krause to join the audience of some of the lectures Krause delivered in his flat, to his friends and family. This is shown by the lecture notes composed by Krause’s son Wilhelm. He mentions the following: ‘Beautiful prose arises verbally in beautiful society, but one must not be too methodical and pedantic. Schlegel says that one should not speak like a book, and that is true, e.g. Schopenhauer’ (Riedel 1956: 17). As Riedel (1956: 17–18) states, this note refers to one of Krause’s private lectures on Schlegel and only makes sense if Krause’s son in fact listened to Schopenhauer quite often, who thus must have been present on a regular basis: ‘It was only appropriate when Krause’s children in fact had heard Schopenhauer several times, and this was probably not long ago, otherwise the example would not have been recommended by experience.’ Third we know that both philosophers took an immense interest in Indian philosophy, and stayed at the Royal Library for several hours per day (cf. Hübscher 1971: 38). As Riedel (1956: 18) argues, ‘when [Krause] again crossed Schopenhauer’s path before or in the Japanese Palais, the only two philosophers in Dresden who were looking for India with their soul, had to come into conversation with each other. Both were deeply impressed by the Upanishads that had been published under the title ‘Oupnekhat’ by Anquetil Duperron in Latin based on a Persian translation.’ Furthermore, since Krause could read Sanskrit and since he was reading and collecting books on Indian philosophy from as early as 1807, it is likely that ‘through Krause’s private library Schopenhauer became acquainted with Sanskrit originals and their recent translations’ (Dierksmeier 2008: 63–64).20

However, despite his stimulating exchange with Schopenhauer, Krause could not alleviate his financial situation by offering private lessons, there ← 26 | 27 → being a lack of affluent students. In addition, the prospect of a permanent position offered through the Saxon Minister, Detlev Graf von Einsiedel, was blocked, probably through the influence of the Dresden Masons.21 It is therefore not surprising that Krause felt existentially threatened: ‘I lack […] nothing but money. But if I do not obtain relief from this crushing situation soon, I do not know whether I can stand it any longer’ (Krause 1903: 483). Despite, or perhaps because of, his financial difficulties Krause travelled in Italy, between 17 April 1817 and January 1818, as an assistant of the Berlin cotton businessman, Tamnau. This journey, in which he was painfully separated from his family, stayed with him as a favourable memory and, again, shows his closeness to God: ‘On the heights of the ancient mountains of Europe, on Glutbecher, Vesuvius, and above Naples, where I heard from the convent window the roar of the crowd below me, on the top of St. Peter’s, on the ruins of ancient Rome, in the caves of Sibyl’s ancient nature worship, in the catacombs of holy martyrs, in the art halls of Italy, and underway at sea, you, God, were my thought, my only feeling, my salvation, my comfort, my shelter’ (Krause 1900a: 295).

After the stays in Dresden, Tharandt and Berlin brought no good fortune, Krause moved to Göttingen in 1823 to make another fresh start. After initial success at the University of Göttingen, where he passed the habilitation for the third time, the old game, which had defeated Krause in Jena, Dresden and Berlin, repeated itself. The number of students attending his lectures was below his expectations. The intellectual climate at the university wore him out. He judged this as follows: ‘As I was, in this way, converted to Göttingen, I thought, of course, to win over by pure good sense that lively susceptibility of the indestructible, pure, active circle of young men of the so-called slandered, persecuted, “brothers” and “philosophers”. But I knew the local guild institutions, and that demon, the local unscientific handiwork scholars. And so they already caused enough corruption, rudeness, and unresponsiveness in by far the majority of the youths, after which it was impossible to reach more than just a very small number of students’ (Krause 1900: 356). Krause’s financial plight became ← 27 | 28 → even more threatening with the death of his 78-year-old father in 1825, and he was forced to deliver as many lectures as possible in Göttingen, making him turn away from working on his own philosophical writings. Rather as in Berlin, a chair, this time left vacant by the death of Friedrich Ludwig Bouterwerks, was snatched away from in front of him, on this occasion by Amadeus Wendt of Leipzig. It is understandable that, during the time in Göttingen, Krause often looked back with nostalgia at the beginning of his career in Jena: ‘If I had not withdrawn from university teaching in the year 1804, or had even just remained vigorous and up to date as a writer, I would now be in a position of outstanding effectiveness, which a Fries or a Hegel […] would certainly not overlook’ (Krause 1900: 330). Nevertheless, he was able to acquire many friends in Göttingen: ‘J. Hagen, Georg, Otto and Fritz Schumacher, Friedrich Karl Meier, W. Reuter, Ernst Moller, Hellmut Rihn, Adolf Peters, Theodor Schliephake, Carl David August Roder [and] Froebel, the “father of the kindergartens”. [The latter] owes more to Krause than to any other philosopher’ (Wollgast 1990: 11).

1.4  Krause’s last years in Göttingen and Munich

Krause’s difficult financial and professional situation was exacerbated by an extremely awkward political mishap, when he was suspected of having been involved in the Göttingen student and civil rebellion of 8 to 16 January 1831. Some of his students were indeed involved. At that time, he received large sums of money which, one of his opponents claimed, came from the Paris Revolutionary Committee: ‘In fact, this was part of his inheritance’ (Wollgast: 1990: 13). To spare Krause being prosecuted by the police and the legal authorities, and because Krause had long planned to leave Göttingen, he was given an ultimatum to do so immediately. Krause obeyed: ‘Dr Krause […] departed from here on the 10th of this month [i.e. May 1831], together with his family […] and [has], reportedly, returned to Munich.’ (cited in Ureña 1991: 607). Krause himself was weakened by the charges against him, and dejected. He also had just as little prospect of a secure existence in Munich as in Göttingen: ‘Nasty characters keep nearer to me than ever. In this time of open unrest hopefully they do not observe and censor me, as they are capable of completely trampling those entirely innocent and uninvolved in the unrest. […] Now, as God pleases, I am content to allow ← 28 | 29 → them to fight. – In any case, my nervous exhaustion makes it far easier for them to do anything to me, as the frightened, driven, deer awaits capture by the hunter, and the coup de grace’ (Krause: 1900: 393f.).

Krause now stood without bread or wages, and had to begin to sell his books, and pawn other property. In the last shock of his life, he was forced by a police decree to leave Munich on 17 March 1832. He was accused of acting with depravity towards the students who were affiliated to him (cf. Ureña 1991: 622). King Ludwig ultimately rescinded the expulsion order after the intervention of sympathetic government ministers, but Krause was nonetheless forbidden from teaching at the University. Responsibility for this seems to have lain with Schelling, whose reason was that ‘Munich University as a whole was closed. One was not permitted to take in any new elements’ (Ureña 1991: 620).

On 27 September 1832 Karl Christian Friedrich Krause died impoverished, lonely and without, in his own lifetime, being able to bring about the good he had hoped: to lead humanity to a better future though the study of philosophy. A small circle attended his funeral: ‘Five of his students and a young scholar carried him. Except the clergyman and a single friend, his coffin was followed only by his crying children […] So the man went to rest lonely. He bore the Unity of Mankind in his heart until it broke, and with a love like few people who ever lived, broke the hearts of all the people involved’ (Proksch 1880: 95). ← 29 | 30 →


6 The biographical information in this chapter, unless otherwise indicated, is taken from the following works: Ureña (1991) and Wollgast (1990). Krause expresses his incomprehension of his time, as follows: ‘Since 1802 I have lived in this human society like a stranger. When I was a child, I believed myself to be at home here; I as a young man looked around for the first time, I saw that I was in a foreign country, for no one, no one, knew me!’ (Krause 1900: 319).

7 Krause (1903: 192) expected that, from the Masonic order: ‘a general association of all people will emerge, as humanity, blissfully linked, as church and state’.

8 See Ureña (1991: 27): ‘Krause can be called a mystic and visionary spirit: A sense of mission, the constant conversation with Essence, as he used to call God, his belief in unconscious relationships with other spheres of life, magnetic experiences, but also dreams, all played an important role in his life, and already predisposed the boy to experience phenomena which would leave their mark in maturity.’

9 Ureña reports Krause, writing in his diary even shortly before his death: ‘Since 1805 my dear mother has often been with me in spirit’ (Ureña 1991: 20).

10 See Lindemann (1839: 2): ‘Although a child of healthy parents, [Karl] was so sickly in the early years, and was teething so hard, that his father had little hope of pulling the tooth. In the fifth year, he contracted smallpox with seizures, and had to go on crutches for a long time. In his eighth year he contracted measles very badly. He also suffered almost perpetual headaches. As a result of continual ill-health, until the eleventh year, he remained so remarkably small and weak that he was almost always kept in his room by his affectionate, anxious, father. His spinal column remained the size of a Thaler until his twelfth year.’

11 Cf. Lindemann (1839: 4): ‘[Krause was] plagued from his fourteenth year onwards by violent nightmares and often with such mortal fear that, in his fifteenth year, he was bled, for what was then a year. This continued, initially every six months until manhood.’ These were not his only sufferings. See ibid: ‘he was also, as a youth so thick-blooded that one sunny lunchtime he was blinded, and only after much running around outdoors was he free to see again. Mosquitoes plagued him throughout his life, often so much that he could not read for hours or days, and then ended up with a severe headache.’

12 Cf. Ureña (1991: 38): ‘When Krause, following his inner calling, received his doctorate from the Faculty of Philosophy, he did not thereby let his father’s wishes be completely ignored. Even before the admission to the degree, while he was in Nobitz, in summer 1801, his candidacy for the preaching ministry in Altenburg was successful.’

13 For example, Krause’s pupil Ch. Fr. Lange repeatedly tried to convince Krause to stay in Jena, or return to Jena. ‘To my horror I was informed yesterday by Götz that, without the certainty that you will see a sufficient audience attend your lectures, you are having secret misgivings about returning to Jena, where I sought you in vain just after my return from Berlin. – I am convinced that a significant number will be found for the lectures of 4–5 and 6–7 for the present situation in Jena. In addition, I spoke today with some Hungarians, and with nuns from Franconia: all assured me that they were waiting impatiently for your public announcement and arrival in Jena. Set the fee at 3 thalers in cash, like Hegel. Perhaps, that way, you might find some replacements, even if three or four require their money back. – I urge you to send the public announcement as soon as possible here, and in five or six days at least, even without your beloved family. If you find it necessary to appear alone, your presence might itself decide if you can be satisfied with the number of its listeners. That I cannot possibly know at all. – The review of your natural philosophy in the local literary magazine, which justly does you great merit, has again set all readers in enthusiasm for you’ (Krause 1903: 78).

14 Cf. Ureña (1991: 140): ‘In the following years (1806–1808) Krause made a career in the Masonic Brotherhood: In the summer of 1806 he was elevated to Journeyman, and in 1807 to the level of Master. In spring 1808, he was elected speaker of the Lodge, through which he had the opportunity to strengthen his influence over the brothers. On April 19 of that year he was also made a “Trusted Brother” of the Dresden Circle of the “Great Confederation of Scientific Masons”, which had been founded by Fessler in Berlin.’

15 Ureña (1991: 150): ‘Without any embellishment, Krause concluded that what he received from the Masonic Brotherhood of his time was essentially unconstitutional, and committed himself unreservedly to fundamental reform, in accordance with his principles. However, he avoided all criticism of this or that brother, or to mention this or that Grand Lodge by name.’

16 Cf. Krause (1903: 395): ‘My friends advised me to announce fewer lectures. It seemed better to me, however, to keep to my resolution, as a lecturer now. It would be dishonest and unwise because my enemies would still say I have announced lectures but cannot find any audience. – I live with the consciousness that I do what I should, and have, therefore, the firm confidence that I was not going to be ruined publicly.’

17 The house was destroyed during the Second World War. See Rauschenberger (1938: 286): ‘The house, now called Kaiser-Wilhelm-Platz 6, was located in the immediate vicinity of the Japanese Palace, where the Royal Library was accommodated, which Schopenhauer has diligently used.’

18 Cf. Rauschenberger (1939: 387): ‘Schopenhauer lived in Dresden on Große Meißnische Gasse 35 III, and most likely until 1816. He then moved to Ostra-Allee 897 and lived there until the end of the stay in Dresden. However, after he had moved to Ostra-Allee, he probably kept his first apartment on Große Meißnische Gasse, because he still addressed his letters to his apartment there.’ Cf. Rauschenberger (1938: 286): ‘All the letters addressed to Schopenhauer from the years 1814–1818 corresponded to this address [in the Große Meißnische Gasse 35], so that it cannot be doubted that Schopenhauer actually lived there.’ Therefore, as Rauschenberger (1938: 288) concludes: ‘In this case, he had two apartments.’

19 It was in the Ostra-Allee, not in the Große Meißnische Gasse, where Schopenhauer mainly worked on his opus magnum: ‘At that time, Schopenhauer lived in a friendly garden-house far from the noise of the street at Ostra-Allee, and when he had finished his work, he wrote the following words in a window-pane of his working-room in Latin language: “Schopenhauer lived here from 1816 to 1819, and wrote his four books of the world”’ (Rauschenberger 1939: 388).

20 Cf. Safranski (2016: 302): ‘Krause, unlike Schopenhauer, mastered Sanskrit and produced his own translations. Schopenhauer looked for professional advice from his neighbour, who was an Indian scholar, borrowed books, and used to meet him frequently.’

21 Cf. Wollgast (1990: 10): ‘The influential Saxon Minister Detlev Graf von Einsiedel promised him a job in Dresden, only to have his promise reversed through the influence of Krause’s Masonic opponents.’