Hofmiller: What It Means to Be a Child

“It is no accident that the Swiss have such beautiful children’s stories: they do not inhabit large towns. A metropolitan child doesn’t even know what it means to be a child. To be a child means to play in the fields, amidst grass and trees and birds and butterflies, under the endless canopy of a blue sky, in a great silence in which the crowing of the neighbor’s cock is an event, as is the Angelus bell or the creaking of a wheel. To be a child means to live with the seasons, the first snow and the first colt’s foot, the cherry blossom and the cherry harvest, the scent of flowering crops and dry grass, the tickling of the stubble on one’s bare feet, the early lighting of the lamp. The other thing is a surrogate, shabby, cramped, musty, an adult’s life en miniature.”

– Joseph Hofmiller, “Form ist Alles,” Aphorismen zu Literatur und Kunst (Munich, 1955), as quoted by Wilhelm Röpke in A Humane Economy (p. 77)

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