In a letter to Hegel from the mid 1790s, Schelling writes: "the real difference between critical and dogmatic philosophy appears to be that the former proceeds from the absolute I (which has yet to be conditioned by the object), while the latter proceeds from the absolute object of non-I." This is where Peter Szondi starts his discussion of the philosophy of the tragic, with Schelling pondering the two choices that proceed from this: either taking the absolute as the object of one's knowledge and "paying the price of absolute passivity", or else positing everything in the subject and negating everything in the object, "the striving for immutable selfhood, unconditional freedom and unbounded activity". Schelling rejects both possibilities in favour of a third: "you are right," another letter begins, "one thing still remains--to know that there is an objective power which threatens to destroy our freedom and, with this firm and certain conviction in our hearts, to fight against it, to summon up all our freedom and thus to perish.". "And yet," Szondi adds, "as though shrinking from the recognition of the objective, the young Schelling permits this struggle only in tragic art, not in life."
This willed resistance against the overwhelming force of the Absolute Other, when the Other is God, or Fate, or Necessity or suchlike, produces the sort of tragedy that Schelling and Szondi like. But when this Absolute is "the tragic" itself ... when, for instance, it is the notion of human dignity obtained by willed resistance against overwhelming force ... then it is precisely the undignified, the sardonic, the idiotic and contemptible, the willed juvenility of opposition that occupies this privileged position. This is the space of the tragic today: the puerile tragic.