Sunday, 28 August 2011

To Carl von Gersdorff

Forgive me, my dear friend, for not thanking you earlier for your letters, of which each one reminds me of the vigorous cultural life you lead, as if you were basically still a soldier and were now seeking to show you military cast of mind in the realm of philosophy and art.  And that is as it should be; only as fighters have we in our time a right to exist, as vanguard fighters for a coming saeculum, whose formation we can roughly presage from our own selves – that is, from our best moments; for these best moments do obviously estrange us from the spirit of our own time, but they must have a home somewhere; therefore I believe that we have in these moments a sort of obscure presentiment of what is to come.  Have we not also retained from our last common Leipzig recollection the memory of such estranged moments which belong in another saeculum?  Well then – that is how it is – and let us live for wholeness, fullness and beauty!  But that takes a vigorous resolve and is not for anyone.

…Next Tuesday our new philosopher is giving his inaugural lecture, on the “obvious” subject: “Aristotle’s Meaning for the Present.”

You are kindly remembered here.  I celebrated the daimon rites with Jakob Burckhardt in his room; he joined my ritual act and we poured a good two beer glasses of Rhone down on the street below.  In earlier centuries we would have been suspected of witchcraft.  When I got home at eleven-thirty that night, feeling rather demonic, I found to my surprise friend Deussen there, and walked the streets with him until about two in the morning.  He left by the first train in the early morning.  I have an almost ghostly memory of him, as I saw him only in the pale lamplight and moonlight.

Write again soon, my brave and valued friend!  You now know that the vignette is needed in a hurry.  Cordial greeting from your

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