The “moral possibility”, Schiller simply concludes, “is lacking”.
Among the culprits to be blamed for this condition are the Enlightenment’s over-emphasis on reason and its eschewing of sentiment—factors that Schiller suggests led to the French Revolution’s barbaric excesses. “The development of man’s capacity for feeling”, Schiller concludes, “is, therefore, the more urgent need of our age” (NA XX, 332/E 107). What more specifically is needed is an instrument that can develop this capacity for feeling without neglecting humans’ rational capacities. In Letter Nine he offers his solution: “This instrument is fine art” (NA XX, 333/E 108). The artist, then, is called upon to influence the world for the good, resisting the distractions of the present in the interest of humanity itself. Schiller exhorts his fellow artists to surround their contemporaries with
the great and noble forms of genius, and encompass them about with the symbols of perfection, until semblance conquer reality, and art triumph over nature. (NA XX, 336/E 111)