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Alexander von Humboldt, "Weltbewusstsein" or "World Consciousness," 1847

This entry is still truncated and under construction.

Humboldt, the brother of the famous Prussian minister, linguist and philosopher Wilhelm von Humboldt, was a botanist, natural philosopher and explorer. On his extended travels in South America he discovered the relationship between altitude, precipitation and temperature and factually founded the discipline of biogeography. During his five year journey he collected tens of thousands of plant specimens and it took him over 20 years to analyse the data in his multiple volume work.
A true cosmopolitain and citizen of the world, Weltbürger, dedicated to the idea of modernism and the ideals of the enlightenment, he clearly understood and anticipated the effects of globalisation, world trade, visible in letters as early as 1827.
He writes: "Everything will be simpler in the next millenium. Since the great epoch of Columbus and da Gama, since one side of the planet became aware of the other, the mobile element of the sea has quasi enabled the omnipresence of one kind of civilisation (the western European). From all conturs of the rigid other customs, beliefs and requirements of life, penetrate into the most unstructured landmass."

Ottmar Ette describes Humboldt's Weltbild as: "Humboldt's world-history encompasses the migration of plants as well as the migration of people and knowledge, just as the global currents of precious metals and the currents of the oceans, processes controlled by people just as processes that will never be under the control of mankind. Nature and mankind are inseperably intertwined and add in their specific dynamics to Humboldt's Weltanschauung."

The quotes were taken from Ottmar Ette's essay on Humboldt, available at:

last update: 2/4/02008 12:37

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