„A social world [is] a comprehensive and given reality confronting the individual in a manner analogous to the reality of the natural world… In early phases of socialization the child is quite incapable of distinguishing between the objectivity of natural phenomena and the objectivity of the social formations… The objective reality of institutions is not diminished if the individual does not understand their purpose or their mode of operation…He must ‘go out’ and learn about them, just as he must learn about nature.“

—  Peter L. Berger, The Social Construction of Reality, The Social Construction of Reality, 1966, p. 59-61
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„It may now be easily seen how great the difference is between the institution of government, as understood by Paine and the Declaration of Independence, and the institution of the State. … The nature and intention of government … are social. Based on the idea of natural rights, government secures those rights to the individual by strictly negative intervention, making justice costless and easy of access; and beyond that it does not go.“

—  Albert Jay Nock American journalist 1870 - 1945
Our Enemy, the State (1935), Context: It may now be easily seen how great the difference is between the institution of government, as understood by Paine and the Declaration of Independence, and the institution of the State. … The nature and intention of government … are social. Based on the idea of natural rights, government secures those rights to the individual by strictly negative intervention, making justice costless and easy of access; and beyond that it does not go. The State, on the other hand, both in its genesis and by its primary intention, is purely anti-social. It is not based on the idea of natural rights, but on the idea that the individual has no rights except those that the State may provisionally grant him. It has always made justice costly and difficult of access, and has invariably held itself above justice and common morality whenever it could advantage itself by so doing. p. 49

„What fascinates me about Duchamp is the idea of tearing down the wall between the art object and reality.“

—  Anselm Kiefer German painter and sculptor 1945
In: "Anselm Kiefer and the Philosophy of Martin Heidegger" Matthew Biro, Cambridge University Press 1998, p. 304

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„We must never forget that it is principles, not phenomena, — laws not insulated independent facts, — which are the objects of inquiry to the natural philosopher.“

—  John Herschel English mathematician, astronomer, chemist and photographer 1792 - 1871
A Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy (1831), Context: We must never forget that it is principles, not phenomena, — laws not insulated independent facts, — which are the objects of inquiry to the natural philosopher. As truth is single, and consistent with itself, a principle may be as completely and as plainly elucidated by the most familiar and simple fact, as by the most imposing and uncommon phenomenon. The colours which glitter on a soapbubble are the immediate consequence of a principle the most important, from the variety of phenomena it explains, and the most beautiful, from its simplicity and compendious neatness, in the whole science of optics. If the nature of periodical colours can be made intelligible by the contemplation of such a trivial object, from that moment it becomes a noble instrument in the eye of correct judgment; and to blow a large, regular, and durable soap-bubble may become the serious and praise-worthy endeavour of a sage, while children stand round and scoff, or children of a larger growth hold up their hands in astonishment at such waste of time and trouble. To the natural philosopher there is no natural object unimportant or trifling. From the least of nature's works he may learn the greatest lessons. The fall of an apple to the ground may raise his thoughts to the laws which govern the revolutions of the planets in their orbits; or the situation of a pebble may afford him evidence of the state of the globe he inhabits, myriads of ages ago, before his species became its denizens. And this, is, in fact, one of the great sources of delight which the study of natural science imparts to its votaries. A mind which has once imbibed a taste for scientific inquiry, and has learnt the habit of applying its principles readily to the cases which occur, has within itself an inexhaustible source of pure and exciting contemplations. One would think that Shakspeare had such a mind in view when he describes a contemplative man as finding

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„In objectification there are no primal realities, but only symbols. The objective spirit is merely a symbolism of spirit. Spirit is realistic while cultural and social life are symbolical.“

—  Nikolai Berdyaev Russian philosopher 1874 - 1948
Spirit and Reality (1946), Context: Spirit, like flame, like freedom, like creativeness, is opposed to any social stagnation or any lifeless tradition. In terms of Kantian philosophy — terms which I consider erroneous and confusing — spirit appears as a thing in itself and objectification as a phenomenon. Another and truer definition would be, spirit is freedom and objectification is nature (not in the romantic sense). Objectification has two aspects: on the one hand it denotes the fallen, divided and servile world, in which the existential subjects, the personalities, are materialized. On the other it comprehends the agency of the personal subject, of spirit tending to reinforce ties and communications in this fallen world. Hence objectification is related to the problem of culture, and in this consists the whole complexity of the problem. In objectification there are no primal realities, but only symbols. The objective spirit is merely a symbolism of spirit. Spirit is realistic while cultural and social life are symbolical. In the object there is never any reality, but only the symbol of reality. The subject alone always has reality. Therefore in objectification and in its product, the objective spirit, there can be no sacred reality, but only its symbolism. In the objective history of the world nothing transpires but a conventional symbolism; the idea of sacredness is peculiar to the existential world, to existential subjects. The real depths of spirit are apprehensible only existentially in the personal experience of destiny, in its suffering, nostalgia, love, creation, freedom and death. p. 52

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„Ego is a social institution with no physical reality. The ego is simply your symbol of yourself.“

—  Alan Watts British philosopher, writer and speaker 1915 - 1973
Context: Ego is a social institution with no physical reality. The ego is simply your symbol of yourself. Just as the word "water" is a noise that symbolizes a certain liquid without being it, so too the idea of ego symbolizes the role you play, who you are, but it is not the same as your living organism. Buddhism : The Religion of No-Religion

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