Sources of Creative Power – Spring Semester
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… as man separates himself from being — that means comes out of the framework of myth. Mythical thinking means essentially that man cannot consider himself anything else but a part of being, of the cosmos — just a part, that he has no possibility to set himself against being and try to judge being. As soon as he does that — and we have seen this process developing in the free thinking of man in Laotse and Buddha and Zarathustra coming out of myth and breaking the framework — as soon as man does that and sets himself apart, he has two ways open. All the philosophers we consider here went the human and reasonable way — that means having separated man from the world they found that man can be a transcendent, transcending being, and that he can do so only as man; that he by separating himself from being, judging being, he is not the master of being; that the moment he does that he pays a heavy price. The price is not to feel satisfied any more within being — which all human beings in the mythical framework were — not to be satisfied by that any more, not to feel this great strength of the whole cosmical force flowing through us, and determining us — yes — but also making us feel fine and powerful and mighty. Those people get out of the work, set themselves against it in order to judge it and to think, but knowing now that we are naked babes. Now we exposed ourselves to everything and we lost a power, though it was an imaginary power only, an illusion.
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and men should have illusions — we lost this power. We are not such mighty men any more.
After they had done their work, man found another trick to feel fine: namely, the trick to say we can put ourselves above being; we can be mightier than being — namely, we can know what being is, the whole of being, and by knowing that one could say we would be like gods, as the serpent says in Paradise, »And you will be like God. You will know what is good and what is evil.«1 – And the serpent, in my sense, is right — namely, he promised only you will know what the good and the evil is. But this man can never know. As soon as they believe that they can know it they are lost. They are really lost souls. They are in what the Greeks would call hubris. They are arrogant over being. All metaphysical thinking including the religious metaphysical thinking of our religions is in this sense hubris and arrogant because it claims to know being. The funny thing is that the great faithful believers of Christianity are as guilty of this sin to want to know what good and evil is as Adam was.
So, if we really understand the story of the fall, then all people who have built their religions and their metaphysical thinking on the story of the fall are fallen people. The only exceptions are those who saw like the men we consider, that man cannot make that claim, that he has to
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pay that price and not to feel fine and above being. If he wants to be free he has to accept to be responsible and endangered and he cannot believe that he is a kind of divine spirit. That is what makes the concept of God of Zarathustra so great and so singular. Ahura-Mazda has given us free will and a discerning mind — but he has not given us his own spirit. We might be made in the image of God even for Zarathustra — but certainly God’s spirit has not been blown into us. We have nothing divine in us. Nothing in us is divine. All in us is only human. The metaphysical thinkers as well as the great religious teachers and founders of metaphysical religions would say that man has something divine in him, something of the quality of God. The philosophers we consider would maintain that such a thing is impossible, that it will only lead in the end always to what it has lead: namely, that man will finally identify himself with God and try to have the last substitute for divinity — namely, himself — which is our age because behind all those modern ideologies is the intention of man to take over — to take over not the task of man — far from that, that would be too hard for them to do to take over the task of man — but to take over the task of God. That is what we want.
So already in the root — and that is why we go back to the roots — this thinking is spoiled because with this
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great deed of man freeing himself from the mythical framework both possibilities are open for him. The small and hard way of reasonable living and thinking — and reason can only be kept if, from the beginning, reason criticizes itself and knows its own limits. That means, popularly speaking, it must know that it is human and not divine reason, that it is a human quality and not a divine quality, and that because it is a human quality it has its limits. Either one goes this way and one can act freely and responsibly, or one identifies the spark of reason as the spark of a divine quality — namely, of the thinking and the reason of God Himself. And then we will not be content with the spark. We end up by believing we are the sun itself. And we have gone this way — and very far.
But those thinkers who go the hard way because they want real life are forced at once to declare to us quite openly — Lao-tze and Buddha, as well as Zarathustra — ›We cannot serve you with any cosmological theories. We do not know how the world originated. We do not know what being is. We have no over-all insight into being itself. All we have is a human discerning mind.‹ That means being within being as we are and being able to distinguish ourselves from being, transcending it, our reason is able to make certain qualified distinctions between different sets of being and to judge them and to take position towards
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them. And then we find, as Lao-tze found first, that if we want to go the way of more and more human life, humanizing ourselves, then with all other beings that we see, we have a certain necessity and possibility to identify ourselves first with organic life, and to say that organic life is a higher quality of being to which we will stick, and we will evaluate it higher than inorganic life within organic life. There are certain forces of mere parasitic destruction. We will take position against those forces and take position for the life-giving forces in life — the symbol of water. We will identify ourselves with them and so we will become the gardener of being and we will strengthen reasonable life in all its forms against the other forms of life.
Those old positions are far-carrying as I tried to say. In our time we have a misunderstood painter who saw himself forced to take this position again in painting — that is Cézanne. Cézanne is a painter of nature, not a painter of natural objects. He paints an eternal struggle — the struggle of organic nature against inorganic nature. His numerous pictures of trees struggling with rocks is the one great epic topic of all his artistic life. Since he was an artist he had seen what he could not see but only foresee when he lived in big cities. He foresaw what we can see today in the Oklahoma Dust Bowl and everywhere in great
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parts of America where we have allowed the top soil, which can never be replaced, to go, and where organic life has become impossible. This struggle of organic life against inorganic life where men have taken the position to take the part of the inorganic life because they are only interested in energy and the developing of more energy, of performing power which they can finally only destroy as the development shows. And he has forsaken organic nature. He does not even know what nature is any more.
Lao-tze still knew what nature is, that nature can be a living thing. For us nature is an endless mathematical formula of mechanical processes and functions; and a tree more or less chopped down means to us nothing. When a Chinese gardener of the Taoist tradition would have wept we do not even wince when whole forests go. But what we are doing is a funny thing and Cézanne was afraid of that. If you look at a series of his pictures, as he grows older you will see how lively, active and aggressive the organic life creeps in on the rocks, probably destroying them, changing them into topsoil, growing. And then there is his later age from which we have his most pessimistic picture in the Metropolitan Museum. It hangs in that room where you can smoke now. If you look at this picture for half an hour it will come alive — namely, there is a point reached where the trees have lost their case and where the inorganic nature of the rocks
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opens up a hole into the inside of the earth into which all organic life will vanish. That is his last great warning.
It is strange how artists foresee things. They are not like scientists who always try to predict things because they are not crazy — nobody can predict things — but one can foresee things under the condition that one says, ›If human beings go on acting that way‹ — otherwise not. The foresight of the true prophet can be changed. It is not absolute. It need not come true, but it is true as to now. It means we are on that way. Herman Broch in his novel The Death of Virgil describes the death of Virgil in this whole big novel, and when he comes to describe the coma and the final dying of the man, then he has a stroke of genius. He describes it in the form of a process of creation that has started to run backwards. All higher forms of life vanish — man vanishes from the earth, his friends vanish too because this is the highest kind of life for this person, then all other people he knew vanish, then his people vanish, then humanity vanishes, then the higher species of creatures, animals, vanish from the earth down to the lowest, then the vegetation from its highest starts to vanish. In the end the bare rocks of the earth stand there and that is the moment where Virgil dies.
It could also be the moment humanity dies, if we accomplish this process in which we are. In the meantime, we have
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assembled a tremendous knowledge. This knowledge, if only we would evaluate it rightly, could lead us to strange insights. We have found a universe, though Albert Einstein thinks it is limited. We know what this limit means. It means that we have the sun system in which we live; that we then have the galaxy of the Milky Way — which means several billion sun systems like our own; and that we have then 15 billion galaxies like the Milky Way also in the universe. Of that we are approximately sure now. Yet within our own sun system we haven’t been able to find that on any other planet around our little sun system there are conditions that make organic life possible. On none there seem to be conditions that make organic life possible. Though the optimists come and say, ›Well, since 1900 we have found that we cannot call that impossible in the other systems, but we can suppose at least that every sun — and there are 15 billion suns alone in our galaxy, 15 billion — that any sun has one planet at least. That would make 15 billion planets in the Milky Way alone. Those 15 billion planets in the Milky Way provide the chance that there are planets with organic life.‹ Very optimistic. If we look at our own system we have only one planet that has the conditions for organic life.
So, we stand in a funny situation. It could be, if one wanted to be very pessimistic, that in this whole tremen-
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dous universe there is only one single location for organic life — and that is exactly the earth: namely, the very planet that we are going to blow up. At least if man would listen to Zarathustra, he could say to modern man, ›Didn’t I tell you. The moment you separate yourself from being and you want to go on your own way, this moment the responsibility for the world falls on your shoulders. You are the one who has to take care of nature because nature as you understand it — namely, organic nature — might have been given only to you and only once.‹ No scientist can tell us up to now, as Friedrich Engels said so optimistically when confronted with the idea that the earth would finally die by cold in the end after millions and millions of years, ›But that doesn’t bother us because we know that in other billions of years on another planet exactly the same conditions of organic life will arise.‹2 What makes him so sure? Nobody can prove such a thing. This can be a crazy outstanding condition we are in and it might even be that Zarathustra is right when he says, ›What the world will finally become depends on man and on man alone. It is his responsibility.‹ Ahura-Mazda could have said in Zarathustra’s sense, ›What do you think I created you for — in order to have nothing to do? Just to enjoy the possibilities of your own energy? This might be an unfinished job this cosmos and you the one who should take over this job.«
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All conditions we have today speak for this — though it is an unheard-of thought. But if we see it in everyday life, for instance in the Oklahoma Sand Bowl and so on, then we see that it is high time that we do something about, at least if we want to go on to multiply that fast as we do because the conditions for organic life vanish by the very means we use.
So, do the conditions of personal life. Organic life is bound to us or we are bound to organic life as a condition for personal life. We depend on organic life and have to take care of it, and not only of ourselves. We can do that only if we realize this our condition and do not act according to our immediate ulterior interests which we constantly do, ruining those conditions. That means we need even more of the consciousness that we are persons and that we can change the course that we have ourselves enforced on nature.
But there comes the other trend. In establishing a position towards nature that is entirely parasitic, that is entirely based on robbing nature of its richness, and just consuming it, in developing this tremendous performance of power, we have had to pay the price of diminishing our personal power constantly with it. Now where we need it most, we have it least. The sign that we did that is what has been going on in politics in our time. The main sign of politics in our time is that we tried to run politics scien-
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tifically, to make politics a science — namely, a social science, and to handle society the same way of effective performing power as we handled nature. Doing that we are more and more forced to destroy the personal powers in every human being. We have tried to educate them more and more in a way where they would accept that everything that was told them was now in the interest of human society without checking with the power of reason, but just obeying, adjusting, and conforming.
That has finally brought about this system of totalitarianism in which the first real anti-human principle has shown itself — not anti-God or anti-Christ, but much more dangerous: anti-human. This anti-human principle could only be developed by people who have been prepared for it by developing in them an anti-natural principle: namely, the principle that we don’t give a damn about nature, nature has just to do what we want, nature is our slave, nature can be robbed of everything, nature is a set of mathematical formulas and not a beautiful tree. But nature is also a beautiful and refreshing tree and as such nature is infinitely more important to man than it is as a set of mathematical formulas and energy generators. We have paid a heavy price and both come together in our time. At the time we have to realize that man is in mortal danger. We have to realize that we could prevent this danger only by the mobilization of the highest force in man — namely, his personal powers, his creativeness. Just at that time we find ourselves —
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all of us — very diminished, extremely diminished, in those personal powers. That is exactly our situation.
Then there is another change that hasn’t yet been noticed. We have had cruel times in this history of mankind. For instance, there was the behavior of the Greek cities which, in the time of their decay, carried on a kind of warfare where all men of the city that was vanquished were murdered and all women and children taken into slavery; or the crimes of Genghis Khan and even more Timurlenk — who murdered millions of strange people in their conquests. Whatever cruelty has happened in the history of mankind, there was always one guarantee behind it — namely, the guarantee that mankind would survive — philosophically speaking, that man himself was not endangered. The belief of the myth as well as the belief of metaphysics, of metaphysical religions and metaphysical systems and speculations are on one point the same: man — not men and mankind but the type, Man, which is more than mankind and humanity and which is represented by the eternal continuity of men in the world — this being is not endangered, so to speak, the beloved child of being, and to him nothing can happen.
Now we are in a situation where we know, and it has been said by scientists, that four hundred hydrogen bombs — four hundred, that is not an astronomical figure, that is almost nothing — are enough to make any organic life on
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earth impossible forever, not because they would blow up the planet in a chain reaction but because, by the very simple process of radio-activity on the earth, organic life would become impossible in twenty years or at least within sixty years, and because all human beings that survived would become sterile by radio-activity so that within that time the earth would have ceased to be a planet that has the conditions for organic life and therefore for man. That is not fantasy or science fiction. Science fiction is written by people who are in a way much greater than modern poets, though they are ›kitschers‹, because they are afraid. It is written out of this fear. Those people smell that a new terrible danger has arisen. They do not see what this danger is. This danger is very simple. The danger is that for the first time the question whether man will survive is not guaranteed any more. If we take into account all the conditions we have enumerated, we have not the slightest guarantee for it. This guarantee is also our own responsibility. That means the survival of man falls on the shoulders of men and on the shoulders of the men of our generation, of contemporary men.
That is their real situation and with it the responsibility for nature which cannot be separated from this necessity to provide for the survival of man and the survival of mankind. If 400 bombs are enough to achieve that end, then
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we all should try to do something to guarantee that none of those bombs will ever be exploded — let alone 400. But who can guarantee us that? We try to find a guarantee for that in a world where modern technology might make it possible for a little dictator of Argentina in 50 years when he feels like it to explode 500 of those gadgets just for fun, just to see what happens, just to see if he cannot make the small Argentine race prevail over other races.
If we look at the situation personally, though, I am tempted to propose to you to look at faces, to become a little bit — which we need — physiognomists, to look at physiognomies. There we have those people who erred quite involuntarily, because they have been raised in the belief that man’s task is to develop only his performing power, his intelligence, which is, in its most creative point, mathematics and physics. People like Einstein, who belong to the highest intellectual people of our time, see now what they have been driven into and just those repent. We talk about repentance not in the Quaker sense or the sense of The Salvation Army but in the sense of Jesus of Nazareth: namely, man changing his mind fundamentally. That is what repentance means — man changing his mind, man mending his ways, man seeing that he is on the wrong path, stopping, and going the other way — whatever it might cost. That is what this sentimental and cheap term that repentance has become in our time
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originally meant — one of the greatest creative powers of man: to be able to gain insight that he is on the wrong way, to stop, to change his mind, and to look for the better way whatever the price might be.
So we see this repentance in modern scientists who face a double danger,— the danger of inward destruction by themselves because they see what they are used for, and the danger to lose first, above all, even in free countries, their freedom absolutely because rulers will put them — and do that already, first by contracts, later by force — behind iron walls that they might not be able to give away one of those secrets. They will lose their freedom entirely and they know it and that is why they start to protest. That is the first cry. I never thought much of those scientists because I was angry with them because, when they were on the universities in former times learning physics and mathematics, one could never convince them that every human being that is going to acquire a high degree of performance power should first try at least to get one or two semesters of philosophy in order to learn to understand that humanity is something else than scientists, and that they would run those dangers. I have had very little pity with them up to now, but now I pity them thoroughly because after all they are among the best intelligences of our time, and if I look at their faces and take their faces as they come to me in the
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newspapers — one should never preserve newspapers but sometimes one has to — and staple them a little bit and staple on the other side the features and faces, as they come to me all over the world, of the politicians of every kind that rule our human affairs and I see the human difference between this set of faces and this set of faces then my hair goes straight up. Those politicians are the people we would have to rely on to judge things of science rightly and performances of science and to say ›Stop!‹ if there has to be a stop to certain performances. But I do not see people who could understand even the so-called minor issue — that it is necessary to stop the breaking down of the forest in the United States in order to preserve the soil. I cannot even see understanding for such a problem in the faces of the people who have now everywhere come to power, to political power — let alone an understanding for problems of wider range — namely, the problem of survival of man in the world. And that is why we consider things philosophically, saying. Who is man? Why is man in the world? Man is a being in the world and he has to do with the world. How did man take position toward the world and its different factors? What have those positions led to? What position have we taken or has been taken for us in the last 200 years? Is it a tenable position? It is an untenable position because it is a position that might lead to the destruction of man. We have
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to change this position and we have to change positions toward the world of man more consciously and more reasonable than men ever did before because our responsibility is a decisive one. It is a responsibility to a certain degree that has always been there, otherwise Zarathustra couldn’t have seen it (he is the only one who has yet seen it). But it did not make itself so keenly felt as it is today when people gathered together in a little group, as we are here, know, out of the conditions of their own time, that it is a critical responsibility. This was not true for people in the time of Zarathustra. Most of them would not have known or been able to know or understand what this man was talking about when he talked about the responsibility of man towards the world, that man had to take care of the world.
Now I think we are more liable to begin to understand such a position. We have to provide again for conditions where Lao-tze’s and Buddhas can grow, where free human persons — not all because not all would wish it, but some and many even — are allowed to become the gardeners of life without being required to show that they are immediately of value to society. Man must be allowed, if he so decides, to try the great life experience of Buddha again — namely, he must be entitled to withdraw into his own personal sphere and try from there to convey creative impulses to others without being told, ›We have no money for monks. We have no money for people who sit there only and think.‹ We need those
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people. We need even the crackpots among them, and we should spend more money on them than on the performers in order to save ourselves.
It is, of course, not intellectuals but business men who realize that. There were a few gatherings of business men about education and one of them said, ›I don’t know what we can do with our education but one thing is sure: I would give a million dollars if only somebody could show me a way how to produce human beings again that are able to think and not only to react and to speculate and to calculate, but to think productively.‹ Well, unfortunately he will not spend his million. Otherwise he would have spent it for the New School or I would try to convince him that there is a way to make people aware, at least, of their thinking qualities and so arouse in them a certain longing for thinking for themselves — which is enough. But I think he didn’t really mean it. He only cried as the scientists start to cry now in despair. People who know and have a hand on the pulse of those events start to cry and just the most intelligent ones of them are the ones who cry most.
Then there are the artists who really don’t know any more what’s the matter with them. They have been told for fifty years now that there is no use for them — and there is no use for them. There are many paintings bought — the paintings of those people who never paint anything except dec-
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orations that look mathematical and give a certain feeling of enjoyment of performance power. Of that something is known; that is always bought. But the modern painters who go the way of Cézanne, not because they feel the same thing but who really try to establish a new possible relationship of man to real nature, to transformed nature, to a nature that is not a mathematical formula only and a dead thing — they don’t even look at their pictures. They don’t even give them a chance. So, it is with the poets. So, it is with all art in our time. It has become an aesthetically tickling business. People feel tickled when they are buyers of art. They are so cultural. But art is lost as soon as people have a cultural interest in art. Art is no article of consumption — even of cultural consumption. One has to have an artistic interest in art and without artistic human beings no artists can survive.
So, they start to cry too and since they are sometimes very vocal, they cry most amazingly — like, for instance, Faulkner does in his novels, or Franz Kafka does who first understood that we have woven a net of social relations because we built our social relations according to what we thought natural relations were — namely, relations of mathematical functions of interests. And then Kafka described this world, this social world which we created — a world in which there is a new type of forgotten man. This is man himself. No human person can survive in the world Kafka des-
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cribes. He says something; he says that human impulse has a reason, has a will, has heart in it and human mind to the better. And nobody understands him. He cannot be understood. He might end up thinking he is the one who is crazy and everybody else is normal. Kafka goes to the extreme. He shows us a situation where everybody, the whole society, has gone crazy and lives anti-human — namely, totalitarian — and he described totalitarian society and all its consequences very aptly before it ever happened. And there is only one man left who is still a man, who represents man. He is only that letter — Mr. K.3 Yes, this Mr. K. is this Mr. X. whom we handle here — namely, man, the person, the unknown factor in being is man and we have to find out as much about him as we can because this unknown factor is the only factor that is able to act within being — act freely and therefore the only factor that is able to change — not to go with the changes that being undergoes anyhow, but to bring about considered changes that can transform being into more meaningful being and into more beautiful being and existence. This unknown factor, Mr. X., man, who is endangered in his very existence for the first time is the real topic of our course. We consider only Mr. X. and his possibilities and impossibilities as far as we can get hold of them.
So, the artist has cried, too, and tried to tell us just as the scientists do in their way, and even the business
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men do in their way. Everybody who still has a certain feeling for what is going on in our situation starts to cry — except the philosophers or what is called the philosophers, who should cry the loudest. They are silent. Or they say, ›We are the real scientists. We developed logic to the utmost.‹ What are they doing? They try to create symbolic logic and mathematics all in one, logical corpus of processual thinking. What is it good for? It is good for strengthening performing power, to go on the same way we are going, only accelerated. The others think something is wrong and try to tell us that, of course, it is of no help if we want to make any use of our reason, reason has proved to be something that is quite inadequate to the situation of man so we should throw it overboard and rely on so-called existential, metaphysical inner experiences of man — whatever that might be — on mystical dreams. And now the big wave sets in. Buddha is revived. Not the Buddha we were talking about here (he was a very sober philosopher who never promised to tell people anything about cosmological things or mystical experience or feeling fine or great.) He is just taken as the Indians take him today in Asia, the mystical man. So they all come back — Anthroposophy and Theosophy, new trends — everything is revived. Others say we have to go back to Catholicism, or we have to go back to Protestantism, Luther was right when he said, ›That damned whore, human reason.‹4
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We have to kill this ›damned whore‹ and believe, believe, believe — back to belief.
As if it were that easy. Back to belief means only to fall into the next belief that seems more exciting. The trouble with back to religion is that one has no choice. As soon as those nice intellectuals say, ›Oh, didn’t the Buddha say the best about the inner experience of man with God and can’t we come best to God, into God directly by Buddha? Or perhaps this Catholic saint or this mystic or this mystic? Or is the Protestant way the right one?‹ Then one sits there and you have your choice between the religions. What does that mean? You are not able to believe any more. You make an aesthetic choice. That means you act out of ulterior motives. The main ulterior motive here is to feel better. That is a very nice thing — for psychologists to judge by.
Those things are fascinating to study, but it does not help. It has nothing to do with faith whatsoever. To gain faith is not to regain faith. Belief could be regained, though this is already hard because the belief in Stalin and people like that will always be much more attractive to the masses than the belief we gain, let’s say, in Judaism or Christianity — in our time. But it could be done to a certain degree. Faith can never be regained. One is born into faith. In every great religion, though, there is a belief and a lot
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of superstition, and with it, a bit of pure faith. If one is born into such a religion and does not lose it, does not lose the belief, one does not lose his little bit of faith either. As soon as one has lost it, one cannot regain it by going back to the belief that contained this little bit of faith. Then one has to gain it. That means one has to go forward to it. In approaching the phenomenon of pure faith there is only way, and that is the way of pure reason, the way which we are going. On this way at least we might be able to find out what the conditions and the indications of real faith are and then we could perhaps decide if we could do it or not. Or if we have to do it or not — both.
But first we have to know, now. We cannot be talked into it any more. Most of all we cannot talk ourselves back into it any more. We have lost that possibility. We can talk ourselves into every kind of belief and, God knows, our contemporary mankind has shown us that men can be brought to believe anything by means of advertising. They can talk themselves into almost everything — or have themselves talked into most, but also talk themselves into. But certainly one cannot talk one’s self into reason. Reason has to be met on its own terms by understanding first what this power of human beings means, by learning to love it passionately so that one does not want to live without reason — passionately loving, but not believing in reason, either. Reason isn’t a
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thing to believe in. As soon as we make an uncritical belief in reason we are more lost than ever. That is a danger. But to love it passionately and to know that one cannot really live — and to live means to make life, to create; everything else is just existence, vegetation — that one cannot live really without freedom and reason. If one lives in freedom and reason, then one might finally understand what faith could be about — faith divorced from all belief, from every definite set of beliefs, suppositions or assumptions; faith going out merely from the insight into the physical limit of the human reasoning power.
This is the hard way, but as far as in philosophy can be seen — not by the philosophers of today who have become the servants of science, or the others who make ready to become the servants of mystic again. But if we follow the philosophical way and the philosophical reasoning, then we will see that it is the only way. There is no other way. This way doesn’t require any belief; it does not require any assumption — except the one assumption that man can be free, which he can prove to himself by doing it; that man can reason and prove that to himself by showing that, although he cannot know what the truth is, he can make truth, that he can make come true, that he can himself become true. This is not inner experience; there is nothing mystic about it. It is a possible human personal experience. Those are things everybody can prove to himself by going this way.
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There is only one way into philosophy — real philosophy — and that is by philosophizing and that is what philosophizing means: to become true, to make true, to make use of one’s reason, and to convince one’s self by that that one can reason, that man can be a reasoning being; to act for freedom and for freeing one’s self and others and finding out by doing so — which is philosophizing — that one can do it, that man is the being that can be — be now in the sense of real life, of creative life.
If one gains an understanding of that by philosophizing, then one might enable one’s self to go the hard way — which is the only way — and one might not only distrusting but disgusted with any kind of easy, over-all solution that so-called imminent laws, ideologies, beliefs and so on that want to show us how to build a real functioning human society. I wish we wouldn’t function so well but act better — which we don’t. This is the situation of modern times again in the light of a few insights of the great philosophers of old, the fundamental philosophers which we have considered this far.
Next time we take up Abraham and I think I said to you already that I wanted you to read the whole book of Genesis and I would like you to read this little book on ›An Introduction to the Bible‹. This is a boring book, I warn you, but it is a very scholarly book and filled with good biblical research, and you will see what a fantastic kind of
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a book that is merely as a book. We are going to start with this book next time — the Bible — this book that is called, ›The Book‹ and which seems to have provided a culture in the West that has, at least in the end, become bookish but is now becoming very fast anti-bookish to a degree that one should revive the book — namely, the Bible.
1 Genesis 3:4-5.
2 Reference unclear.
4 The original German quote is the following: »… als wüsten wyr nicht, das die vernunfft des teuffels hure ist und nichts weiter kann denn lestern und schenden alles, was Gott redet und thut« Luther, Martin. Schriften 1525. Weimarer Ausgabe 19. p. 164.