Manuscript held by G. W. Leibniz Bibliothek, Hanover
Shelfmark LH 1, 20 Bl. 211r

Date: after 1692

Translated from the Latin

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On the reverse side of the manuscript, Leibniz wrote “To Her Electoral Highness, Madam the Electress of Brunswick”, indicating that the text was written after 1692, the year in which Brunswick-Lüneburg became an electorate.

[LH 1, 20 Bl. 211r]

     Man surpasses beast as genii surpass man. And just as beasts’ instinct sometimes imitates human reason, so human instinct1 (which is often prophetic) sometimes imitates the divinatory power of genii. Therefore, we have these degrees of substance, and in them these degrees of presentiment:


For there should be no doubt that intelligences are so superior to man that they perceive by a kind of external sense, and so to speak sniff out, those things which we scarcely—indeed not even scarcely—attain by a long chain of reasonings. And this is what mystics sometimes want a sort of divine power in us to reveal in the very silence of reason. For even though reason never ceases in us, sometimes the agitation of reason by the appetite2 and so to speak care of possession ceases, as in dreams where, free from emotions, we sometimes see things as if they were indifferent to us and located far below us.


1. Leibniz may have intended to write "human reason" here.
2. appetite │ and emotion │ deleted.

© Lloyd Strickland 2005. Revised 2024