"Abstößt" und Willensfreiheit

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by StockholmBoy, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. StockholmBoy Senior Member

    If anyone is on hand to help with this passage, I'd be grateful:

    "Was uns am Sklavenwesen abstösst, ist nicht heuristicher, sondern willensmässiger Natur. Nicht um das Glück des Menschen: um seine Willensfreiheit geht es uns."

    My interpretation is: What we found repulsive (??) about the essence of slavery is not a heuristic outlook but a volitional nature. We were concerned not about the well-being of men, but rather about their freedom of will."
    Could that be ok? I'm not sure whether abstösst actually means to be repelled, since it also means "to push off" amongst all other things.

    Does anyone have better ideas?

    Much obliged,
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2013
  2. Frank78

    Frank78 Senior Member

    Repulsive in a figurative sense, namely "disgusting"

    What we found so disgusting about the essence of slavery is not of heuristic outlook but of volitional nature. It's not about the happiness/felicity of the individual but about his free will."
  3. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    abstössig = repulsive : good!
    Sklavenwesen = slavery : "essence of slavery" is too literal
    heuristisch = heuristic : not really the right word, either in German or in English

    May I ask who wrote this?
  4. manfy Senior Member

    German - Austria
    I agree! In this case it's not only too literal but it's actually wrong.
    When you build a compound noun with 'Wesen' at the end, then it often (or maybe even usually) does not express the meaning of essence.
    e.g. Rechtswesen = legal system; Gesundheitswesen = public health system; etc.

    'essence of slavery' I'd reverse translate as 'die Essenz/das Wesen der Sklaverei'
    'Sklavenwesen' I'd translate as 'slavery' or maybe 'the institution of slavery'
  5. StockholmBoy Senior Member

    Yes I agree with what has been said here. Both sklavenwesen and (even more so) heuristisch are probably too literal. I'm trying to find a connection between what the author says about slavery and the institution thereof and heuristics but i'm not too sure whether I'm going in the right direction. My feeling is that he simply means we didn't discard it as a result of a heuristic process, i.e. by which he means that we didn't decide to abolish at the tail-end of a trial and error sort of mental process like when you decide something is not good for you because you realised there is something even better to be had by no longer using that thing (make sense?!).
    So in one sense, you could say heuristic is the right word but I'm concerned that a reader having to grapple with an English version of this might not pick this up. Perhaps. But i have one more question for you guys. However, I will probably tackle it in a different thread.
    Many thanks for all your contributions.

    Keep it coming, F.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2013
  6. StockholmBoy Senior Member

    Actually no. I will post my new question in the same thread as it is probably a really silly question:

    "Spät noch mit Busch im Cabaret."
    Is Busch a name here? Or is there some kind of idiom attached to it?
    Many thanks
  7. dubitans Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria
    German - Austria
    It's a name.
  8. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    Moderator note: Unless the text is Swiss, the correct spelling is abstößt and not *abstösst. If your keyboard does not allow you to produce a <ß> please use the drop-down box above the edit window to produce the letter.

    Thank you for your cooperation.
  9. StockholmBoy Senior Member

    Hi there
    I only used that spelling because that's how the author wrote it. But point taken.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2013
  10. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    I found it with <ß> here (Ernst Jünger: Werke, Tagebücher VI, Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart, 1982). Which edition are you using?
  11. StockholmBoy Senior Member

    It's an old edition I'm photocopying from the British Library. Need to check where it was printed next time I go there.

    Apparently it was printed in 1947
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2013
  12. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    Although no one has actually answered my question (no. 3), I see that the quotation is from Ernst Jünger, that "Wegbereiter und eiskalter Genüßling des Barbarismus" (as Thomas Mann called him).
  13. StockholmBoy Senior Member

    I think Thomas Mann missed the point completely there, as have many other learned commentators unfortunately...
  14. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    See #10.
    Discussing the merits of the author is beyond the scope of this forum.

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