Wednesday, December 31, 2008


To Ivan Kellmer, busy with halting the End of Times

"Thus as Kafka puts it, there's an infinite amount of hope, but not for us. This statement [to Max Brod] really contains Kafka's hope; it is the source of his radiant serenity[2]"- W. Benjamin

μναθεναι τινα φαμι και υστερον αμμενων[3]


26th December 1804

My dearest F,

It is a real that pity I was unable to return into England as I had promised you over Easter last year but the situation with the poet is remarkably sad… “Now if one were to step into this unfortunate man's house, he certainly would not expect to meet a poet who had merrily wandered along the Ilyssus with Plato; but the house is not ugly, it is the dwelling of a prosperous carpenter; a man who has an uncommon degree of culture for a man of his standing, and who speaks about Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Novalis, Tieck and others[4]” not because I regret his wandering moods but because he has been recklessly useless and as his mind deteriorates day after day he has not written one single line in years “… The saddest sight I've seen during my stay here was that of Hölderlin… since this unfortunate journey, his spirit has become completely disturbed, and although he has proved capable of a few works, such as the translations from the Greek, he is otherwise thoroughly absent of spirit.[5]” Oftentimes I stare into him for rather lengthy periods of time and I think about how much is the God of history weaving into his thread for our Europe nowadays as it had been never imagined or imaged by any of our thinkers, not even the most far-fetched theologians and painters of the times 'To this point the world spirit has got now. The last philosophy is the result of all earlier ones; nothing is lost, all principles are conserved. This concrete idea is the result of the exertions of the spirit through almost twenty-five hundred years'[6] –the French revolution seems to be the lowest momentum of European law as inherited from Rome and the academies prefer to dwell in the lies of the French philosophers than to truly educate the public in the only thing they need to know in order to enter both the world of philosophy and the kingdom of God –some little poetry and Greek literature. The Germans have been always vulgar and tasteless but good Christians so that no poet had any grudge against them while they were entirely left out from German poetry in the spirit of all times and replaced by Germanic idols that most likely knew Latin before any German at all and that could have never lived here or in the new and greater Berlin but in lands that could be occupied only by Swiss farmers and not Greek gods. I am then of the belief that this town and the whole of Europe could use much better a poet to save them from the disgrace of their own making than the mayor of Tübingen could use a librarian –being this a place where only clergymen or revolutionaries of the lowest kind are gifted enough for reading anything beyond anti-Semitic pamphlets and Luther.

And it is perhaps a fact of this world that the only remarkable poet of this nation that is not boring to death as of today and with the sole exception of Heine, shall debate himself in between municipal politics and infrequent but total insanity in order to save himself from the catastrophe that he himself forecasted for this continent and that in Germany has started years ago with the division of the kingdom of God into some stupid polities controlled by a mass of uneducated farmers that received their authority from the very same Gutenberg press that meant the beginning of a new Europe… “Hölderlin, however, is extremely upset; he receives such visits with the greatest displeasure and is always more disturbed afterwards[7]”, at the cost of a little unfashionable Protestant chapel where not even hunger comes around in fear of dirtying in anyway the long white benches over which sermons are to be heard in the cold dark every Sunday noon while it is sunny and beautiful outside; “The sight of him was unsettling to me: he neglects his appearance to the point of repugnance, and though his speech is less suggestive of madness, he has taken on the outward mannerism of those in such a condition. There is no hope of being able to restore him to health here…[8]” I think it is but a great time to be an Englishman and even in the dull solemnity of the middle lands I am of the belief that you find in yourself some trust about the venture of conquering the world and throwing the whole of mankind to the seas like your nation has taught you, whereas Germany remains convinced that it is a loftier enterprise to defy the authority of God than to challenge a dot in anything proscribed by the Prussian authorities. For your own perusal do remember Kant saying that there’s a need to deny reason –an absurd theism in reverse, in order to make space for faith coeval with the fact that it was easier to challenge the truth of the divine order than the fates of Prussia as commanded by the Emperor-in-Chief.

But returning to your friend, I feel sad about Europe that he does not write but am glad and tranquil about him because he no longer seems a witness of what takes place here… “He wrote a lot at first and filled every sheet of paper which was handed to him. There were letters in prose or in free Pindaric metrics addressed to his dear Diotima, others more frequently in alcaics. He had adopted a thoroughly peculiar style, the contents of which were: remembrance of the poet, struggle with God and celebration of the Greeks. As for his current train of thought, nothing has appeared yet…[9]” for this land has the ability to remain green and quiet even after outrageous massacres and devastations… “But it was the pretty little garden house which I lived in on the Österberg which pleased Hölderlin the most. Wieland penned the first fruits of his muse in this same house. Here, one had a view overlooking friendly, fertile valleys, the city spread out on the Schlossberg, the bending of the Neckar, many enchanted little villages, and the chain of the Alps. It is now more than three years since I spent a pleasant summer here in the midst of the green with such a refreshing view, almost entirely in the open air. At that time, unfortunately, there was such an oppressive weight upon my spirit that even the delight of this friendly nature was not enough to strengthen and cheer me up[10]” I only wish that he shall not jump out of a tower or drown in a river, at least not before each one of us shall have done the same, but he is not himself anymore and whilst there is nothing demonic about him the tranquility to be found in his poems is nowhere to be found even as a clue in any of both his eyes… “I provided him with snuff and smoking tobacco, which he enjoyed quite a bit. I could completely cheer him up with a pinch, and when I filled up the pipe and lit it for him, he praised it and the tobacco most spiritedly and was completely contented. He stopped talking, and since he was then feeling his best, and it would not have been good to disturb him, I left him alone and read something[11]” Maybe demonic is too strong a word for a gentle man like him, erratic is more like what he is feeling, and I think that he is not staying alive for himself but only for others because this is what people do, isn’t this true too? At the same time his sickness is devastating for all of us here because it makes our lives seem too trivial and entirely exiled from the threads of history. “But he can immediately add, "I, my dear Sir, no longer bear the same name. Now I'm called Killalusimeno. Oui, Your Majesty, so they say, so they declare! Nothing's wrong with me.” Generally speaking, I heard this last comment from him often. It is as if this were his way of affirming and soothing himself; by keeping in mind, "there's nothing wrong with me.[12]"

I think that when he joined the army he also saw during the quiet springs of Königsberg the wars that would follow and not just that, but the foul and folly that would make them happen, and whilst I feel devastated myself in his own state I wish for him not to come back, but if at least he could write one more line to guide us! “The content throughout his letters is a struggling and grappling against God or Fate, as likes to call it. A passage in one of them reads, "Heavenly Godhead, what was it like beneath us when I won several battles from you and a few not insignificant victories!" I found a terrible, mysterious passage among his papers. After many laudatory exclamations - the things he says about Greek heroes and the beauty of the ancient gods - he begins: "Now I only understand man when I am far away from him and living in solitude.[13]" Or if not, I wish he could dress himself alone or come out to see the sun. Perhaps the sun of Greece and of Sophocles shines brighter for him than does the European winter, it would be good right now to be an Englishman like yourself and think about the conquest of the whole earth instead of drowning into the most beautiful waters helplessly. What a horrible situation it is to look at history without looking at life, that is, to look right through the end of history structurally without having the slightest clue about its content, it is a theological tragedy because you are in fact bringing the end of times without knowing what this means at all but its advent is yet ineludible, exactly like a twilight when seafaring very far away; “But it would be pointless to look for coherence here. If he makes an effort to say something abstract, he gets confused, becomes enfeebled, and in the end is forced to express himself in unusual figures of speech…[14]” Maybe it is time for me to leave this pathetic town, but it is of no avail because the world looks all the same from here onwards… “My garden house became so dear to him that he still asked about it years after I was no longer living there, and whenever he went with the carpenter's wife into the nearby vineyard, he would climb up to the door and positively insist that Herr von Waiblinger lived there. Nature, a good walk, the open sky always did him good. It is fortunate for him that from his little window he can savour the cheerful view of the Neckar which washes against his house and a lovely patch of meadow and mountain scenery. A multitude of clear, true images flow over from this view into the poems which he writes when the carpenter gives him paper…[15]” It is as if a Gnostic god would have passed a message for an unbeliever to carry through the world, like the Gospel of Marcion… “What is then Marcion’s point? Precisely that Jesus Christ’s father cannot be identical with the creator of heaven and earth[16]”. As if I were condemned to these silent hours for an eternity. “If from the distance, now that we're through/ I am still familiar to you, yesteryear, to you/ O you partner in my sorrow, / something good I can point out to you...[17]

Yours ever,


26th December 1944

Ma’am K,

One hears everyday stories about Europe here in American soil that I wouldn’t like to share with you… “But the fabrication of corpses has nothing to do with enmity anymore nor can it be attached to any political categories whatsoever. In Auschwitz there has opened an abyss before us into which all of us will be thrown when we attempt to stand before it[18]”, but I guess emigration is always in the company of terror specially about not remembering the world as one knew it once, there’s even the risk to forget things about oneself… “…writing in the mother tongue…even though it is the only return from exile that one cannot even banish from his own dreams… but we Jews are not in exile or at least no longer and possess to such dreams no right at all[19]”. There’s a right in praxis to everything or so preach certain legal theories that pretended not too long ago there was more space on earth than there actually could be seen… “Historical forces and energies do not wait, however, for science, just in the same manner that Columbus did not await for Copernicus. Each time that by means of this historical impulse, new lands and waters are incorporated to the visual sphere of men’s collective consciousness; the spaces of their historical existence are thus also transformed. There then rise new proportions and dimensions of historic-political activity, new sciences, a new world-order, new life of new peoples or of peoples that come to life again.[20]” Somehow the facts of our world have drifted the attention of my younger years over the fate of politics and obscured it… “Political action, no matter how destructive, should always reveal itself as messianic. Benjamin's historical materialism can be hardly severed from political Messianism[21]” …it has instead been turned over the fates of universal histories and demons of sizes larger than our little planet and I guess it is something natural to the old age of this planet itself… “The main work consisted in tearing fragments out of their context and arranging them afresh in such a way that they illustrated one another and were able to prove their raison d'etre in a free-floating state, as it were. It definitely was a sort of surrealistic montage...[22]” I am also under the supposition that only when such world facts have run wild and lost the sense they used to make for us, it is time to overcome them even if it means to deny absolutely any claim to the present… “Men are usually granted to imagine the most distant future when the immediate present under their feet is collapsing and suffocating them[23]”. At times to overcome doesn’t even mean to deconstruct as in the Russian literary theories that set in motion the mood for the beginning of this ailing century, but also to destroy, to obliterate as to obligate these facts into the back room of history “Obsessed for the logic of this complot, Schmitt deploys the whole of his demonic intelligence in the discovery of the hidden and elementary forces that guide the destinies of universal history[24]”–this is what European philosophy has done since the German revolutions of the 19th century and this means something exactly coeval with the great conceptual world of Hegel, a world whose geography went beyond the limits of the human eye and whose map is but a totally new human condition on earth. “It is quite conceivable that the modern age –which began with such an unprecedented and promising outburst of human activity –may end in the deadliest, most sterile passivity history has ever known[25]”. Marxian, Martial or Martian?

In this spirit of alienation, I would like to say that you were right from the beginning in that it was from the miser Walter Benjamin that we learnt to wear off the grandeur of literature as a whole… “The harrowing effect of Schulz’ prose is to construct the world anew, as from fragments that exist after some unnamable disaster[26]” …that means in fact to create the world not from the beginning of times and direct the course of events but rather to create it from the perspective of its own end and wait patiently for the order of things to fall into place anew; "Does Karl Kraus stand at the threshold of a new age? Alas, by no means. He stands at the threshold of the Last Judgement"[27]. This is a process likely to resemble someone pretending to write like the author of the Bible and dropping all existing models in literature since Classical Greece –returning to a canon that will restitute “conversation” as a valid expression of representation in letters; the only problem involved here is that it is precisely this ideal what necessarily relies on the wonder and world innocence of the Platonic philosophers to open its free way… “Benjamin sought a concept of experience that would explode the limitations set by Kant and regains the fullness of the concept of experience held by earlier philosophers[28]” …and the innocent are not adult enough to distinguish evil until he is within home. The method remains bullet-proof: A book written entirely of quotations and annotations from an impersonal narrator, as if a work of art composed entirely of street advertisements picked up randomly…”An understanding of Kafka's production involves, among other things, the simple recognition that he was a failure[29]”. Odds are that the only book written this way successfully was the Bible; “...For Benjamin to quote is to name and naming rather than speaking, the word rather than the sentence, brings truth to light. As one may read in the preface to the Origin of German Tragedy, Benjamin regarded truth as an exclusively acoustic phenomenon: Not Plato but Adam, who gave things their names, was to him, the father of philosophy...[30]” Benjamin was not the first to try a hand at this, for I believe there is this impressively well-written book of Hannah Arendt about Rahel Varnhagen and mainly thousands of pages by Karl Kraus, but both will be soon forgotten and only Benjamin will make a dead name and survive as an aesthetician because he framed the theory in the fullest awareness of the historical eschatology this would bring about to the whole of the literary history of modernity when looked at from the end of times “Time is but frozen[31]”, which is from now on, all times that are not remembered yet, or all possible times that we refer to as “right now”. “...This discovery of the modern function of quotations, according to Benjamin, who exemplified it by Karl Kraus, was born out of the despair -not the despair of a past that refuses to throw its light on the future, and lets the human mind wander in darkness as in Tocqueville, but out of the despair of the present and the desire to destroy it; hence their power is not strength to preserve but to cleanse, to tear out of context, to destroy...[32]

Perhaps it is true that history is necessary as a phenomenon or category of thought because no matter how much we are obligated to live necessarily and only in the present, this in itself lacks all possible value because in its indeterminate qualities and quantities it cannot be remembered or thought or known in anyway…”What in later existential thought became the notion of the auto-production of man’s mind we find in Hegel as the “auto-constitution of Time[33]: man is not just temporal; he is Time. Without him there might be movement and motion[34], but there would not be Time. Nor could there be, if man’s mind were equipped only for thinking, for reflecting on the given, on what is as it is and could not be otherwise; in that case man would live mentally in an everlasting present. He would be unable to realize that he himself once was not and that he one day will be no more, that is, he would be unable to understand what it means for him to exist[35]”. That is perhaps why one often lies mostly about his present actions or his past actions seen in a “just past” present and there is no lying about the future that is not called “false prophecy”[36], or perhaps one is granted to lie about the future when drunk, but no time else...”Time finds its truth in the future since it is the future that will finish and accomplish Being. But Being, finished and accomplished, belongs as such to the Past. This reversal of the ordinary time sequence –past-present-future is caused by man’s denying his present: he says no to his Now and thus creates his own future[37]”. We are lacking now all our ability to interpret what has happened to Europe, precisely because it is still happening and we do not understand the depth of this giant’s sin, not yet at least. I wouldn’t like to share the stories about the old country because I still refuse to believe it and because the country is no longer ours or anybody’s. Benjamin’s suicide was one of the highest peaks of the lie that we must interpret in order truthfully in the course of its due time…”The refugees were supposed to return to France by the same route the next day... During the night Benjamin took his life, whereupon the border officials, upon whom this suicide made an impression, allowed his companions to proceed to Portugal. A few weeks later the embargo on visas was lifted again. One day earlier Benjamin would have gotten through without any trouble, one day later the people in Marseilles would have known that for the time being it was impossible to pass through Spain. Only on that particular day was the catastrophe possible"[38]. I did know that fame was always anonymous and often a very late comer, but the opposite of fame should never be called despair, because glory doesn’t come at the expense of defeat –not even in the Greek tragedy. It is only on this ground that I refuse to read what you write to me now, because you are looking infinitely into the past through an eternally unfinished present…”But in Hegel this nunc stans is no longer temporal; it is a nunc aeternitatis, as eternity for Hegel is also the quintessential nature of Time, the Platonic “image of eternity”, seen as the eternal movement of the mind. Time itself is eternal in the union of Present, Future and Past.[39]” And that lens can only lead to melancholy, so that I wish I could drown in an ocean far away from this all and not in a little river where the noises of this silent hour of mankind ring from just this close! We have thrown ourselves feet up into the abyss without the faintest clue about it. "But it seems to me now that the real danger was not disregarded by Walter Benjamin during that night in Port-Bou; it was just that his real danger, his reality, differed from ours. He must have met again the little hunchback in Port-Bou… his very own, the Benjamin hunchback, and he had to come to terms with it...[40]"


PS. Thank you very much for the newspaper excerpts but I am afraid they are of no use at the moment… "A report from Vienna dated summer 1939, saying that the local gas company had stopped supplying gas to the Jews. The gas consumption of the Jewish population involves a loss for the gas company, since the biggest consumers were the ones who did not pay their bills. The Jews used the gas especially for committing suicide"[41]… Any chance you might send next time a book whichever from before the war?


26th December 2001

Dear F,

I have been to the theater in Jerusalem many times as of late and have always seen the same performance, thereby I notice in our age something inexistent in the classical theater and it has to do precisely with the fact that we have adopted the idea of reproduction in and of society instead of the sheer fact of creation, like God has taught us once! “And in this same way, iron construction and glass architecture are transfigured in the arcades because the century could not match the new technical possibilities with a new social order[42]. It is a very but very small stage almost at the same height of the public so that sometimes it is difficult to see the characters that at times vary from dull to stupid and how sad their sense of humor but equally strenuous is their laughter."She would stroll about the city of Jerusalem like the spirit of poetry walking along the street[43]".

At the view of the public the stage is very narrow but it runs very deep and the walls to the sides are inscribed with many colors and messages that are difficult to read; in spite of this depth that is furnished with carton tables and chairs occupied by mannequins in everyday clothes and they have been beheaded, the empty space of their sights is replaced by flat paper faces with smiles and eyes drawn in a childish manner, there seems to be a loud talk in between them but lastly you find out it is only the background sounds, the noises made by the spectators in the public as they drink their sodas and chew their snacks but there’s no conversation at all going on in between them. “God desired to have a dwelling place in the lower realms[44]”.

Day after day the play is rehearsed again on and on so that it looks as an almost monotonous landscape, like traveling through the city during peak hours –dense but very slow, like oil dripping from the bottom of a glass bottle...”Thus the world is like an oil press: under pressure. If you're the dregs of the oil you're carried away through the sewer; if you're genuine oil you will remain in the vessel. But to be under pressure is inevitable. Observe the dregs, observe the oil. Pressure takes place ever in the world, as for instance, through famine, war, want, inflation, indigence, mortality, rape, avarice; such are the pressures of the poor and the worries of the state: we have evidence of them... we have found men who grumble under those pressures and who say: 'How bad are these Christian times!'... Thus speak the dregs of the oil which run away through the sewer; their colour is black because they blaspheme: they lack splendour. The oil has splendour. For here another sort of man is under the same pressure and friction which polishes him, for is it not the very friction which refines him?[45]” Every performance is like a rehearsal, without us knowing much about it… This well reminds me of Walter Benjamin’s concept of experience as opposed to Kant’s -for Benjamin experience is the immediate result and historical counterpart of narration whereas for Kant in the phenomenal sense language is independent of metaphysics and knowledge… “Philosophy is absolute experience, deduced in the systematic-symbolic context as language[46]” This only recreates the opposition between the mathematical-physical world of Kant and the consciousness world of Benjamin’s Modernity, that is, of Kant’s heritage so that he himself wouldn’t know: “The enlargement of the mind plays a crucial role in Kant´s Critique of Judgment. It is accomplished by comparing our judgment with the possible rather than the actual judgment of others, and by putting ourselves in the place of any other man. The faculty which makes this possible is called imagination[47]”… Thus “Our heritage has come to us by no means as a testament”[48].

The movement of the mannequins is a sheer there-ness, a geographical trick to gain depth, and a useless trick. The conversations take place right up front at two large tables very near the public. There’s this care of friendship between them, but with the reckless independence of the mercenaries that seek out for themselves in order to survive their own lions’ den... "Do other people manage to have peace and quiet? I'd like to know the answer to that[49]" Their drunkenness is often more like sinking than celebrating but it is by no means sad, this is only a wild guess, because none of the conversations can be fully heard; only single words cut off from their original contexts just as in the photography of nature come to mete out the requirements of our lasciviousness, our unquenchable thirst to undress the unreal, to lift the veil of the lie, reveal the vessel.

There’s so little you can learn about them with a sole exception: Most successful relationships are based on lies and deceptions because since that is the place where most relationships end, it is but a natural place to begin. This is just the background; the moral here is that often relationships based on truth and on telling the truth are very difficult and not very happy… “For years, however, he stubbornly expounded the strange thesis, to me and to others, that there was no such a thing as an unhappy love - a thesis that was so decisively refuted by the course of his own life...[50]” The truth is not unlike Benjamin’s experience: an individual but very strong sense of personal narration, the know-how of telling one’s very own story. I feel dread about the silent hours they spend together before this large audience, about the ill madness that takes over, but there’s an astonishing beauty to this, something that doesn’t seem personal, it doesn’t even seem to resemble love. “They fought against Jewish society because it would not permit them to live in the world as it happened to be, without illusions[51]” It is more like a “community of believers”; “the church is the community of God in the future eternally dissatisfied with the present”[52]. It is my belief that they await the Jewish Messiah. “…And the day when they say that on this day the Messiah will come, it is certain that on that day the Messiah will not come[53]”.

“The soothsayers who found out from time what it had in store certainly did not experience time as either homogeneous or empty. Anyone who keeps this in mind will perhaps get an idea of how past times were experienced in remembrance--namely, in just the same way. We know that the Jews were prohibited from investigating the future…”It were better for man never to be born who thinks about four matters: what is above and what is below, what was before and what will be afterward[54]”… The Torah and the prayers instructed them in remembrance, however. This stripped the future of its magic, to which all those succumb which turn to the soothsayers for Enlightenment. This does not imply, however, that for the Jews the future turned into homogeneous, empty time. For every second of time was the strait gate through which Messiah might enter"[55]. I remember this passage of Benjamin because having been the past strip of their temporal index as to link it to us, the future remains as the horizon upon which we are oriented, or not us, but the drunk young men I see in the Jerusalem play, and I also say this because they seem people from another time, from a few years later in a different city, perhaps the nowhere in the city of God. “The time is out of joint! O cursed spite that I was born to set it right![56]

“Leviathan et Behemoth existent[57]” restlessly as it appears engraved on the doorpost of a certain room.

Had the wise men of the Renaissance seen these young men at the theatre they would have thought to have seen Leviathan and Behemoth “The night I was born, I wish it had been cursed by the sorcerers who have mighty power over Leviathan” [58]and God said to Job “Take a look at Behemoth, a creature of mine such as yourself”[59], they would have broken in hysterical laughter, as the only possible expression of their trembling fear over what they could have seen in them[60]; “Only by looking at Leviathan anyone faints from fear”[61]. As in the dry and collapsed Messianic world of Kafka they had no names, but initials as to designate them before the creation of the world. P, F, A. As if the world could no longer name anything without venturing into the dangerous nothing of the space. Remember what they said, that Kafka’s world resembled St. Paul’s, there was no tree or river to be seen, no images of nature, unless it is a dog pissing perhaps or a dead tree[62]. The dry empty night of the space… “The angel showed me a clean river, of life’s waters. It was clear as crystal and sprang from the throne of God and his lamb. In the middle of the main street of the city and to each bank of the river, grew the tree of life whose fruits are ripe each month, that is, twelve times a year; and the leaves of the tree are to be used healing the nations of the earth. There will be nothing anymore set as a curse. The throne of God and his lamb will be in the city, and his servants will bow before Him. They will see Him face to face, and will carry His name on their forehead. There will be no night anymore, and those who will dwell therein will be in no need of flashlight or sunlight because God will lighten for them, they will reign through all the centuries.[63]” Would you like to join me to see them in Jerusalem once? Fear not, if after all history is just one fucking thing after the other[64]…”Time is just one thing after another. Time and Space are similar in that in space some things are next to another, whereas in time they are behind another[65]”… “I see no temple in the whole city of Jerusalem, because the Lord, almighty God, is its own temple”[66].

At the end of the performance the chairs are always left empty and it is rather odd to me because the nameless characters are still on stage but no longer sitting. "If someone comes and declares "This will be the historical redeemer of mankind, I know its name" - then we might easily identify him as the prophet of the false Messiah. The prophet of the true Messiah remains silent. He does not know. But he knows one thing - that one should not say that the Messiah will never come. One should never let the empty chair be occupied by a pretender (and every occupant is a pretender), but it is better if one does not remove the empty chair. My conviction, or rather my feeling, suggest that I leave the chair there, in the middle of the room at the head of the table, where it remains all the time exposed in its emptiness. The chair speaks to denizens of the absolute present honestly only in its emptiness. My intuition suggests that only emptiness is fullness for the moderns, that there is no other kind of "hope beyond hope", at least not for those who assume the position of reflected post-modernity”[67]. Do you have any clue in so far as what this really means? Is their Messiah a never arriving figure? 'I know that unrest, it decomposes everything... I believe it's that which feeds one with so much urgency in life, but if one doesn't tend it properly, it does kill[68]' Is it a parallel time or a concept thereof? I am sure you could enlighten me a little on this.



26th December 2008

"The priest desires. The philosopher desires
And not to have is the beginning of desire.
To have what is not is its ancient cycle.
It is desire at the end of winter, when
It observes the effortless weather turning blue.....
It knows that what it has is what not
And throws it away like a thing of another time
As morning throws off stale moonlight and shabby sleep.[69]"

Dear K,

A long time has elapsed since I answered your last letter and so many more I have received in the meantime, it wasn’t that I kept myself too occupied or to myself even “never is man more active than when he does nothing, never is he less alone than when he is by himself[70]” …but rather it is what the apostle St. Paul said, that a surplus of time is the beginning of all evil[71]! I have frequented the company of crooks that are not as yet thieves but could very well be… Ah, so appalling their beauty at night, by no means lesser than the lack of politesse in their language –their inner polity… they are like a church and cannot bring themselves to spell two sentences correctly, so that at times even the commas and the spaces they use could be taken for lies, the chasm that strays between commandment and reason –the commandment to enjoy tonight and the reasoning that it could kill you too. “Gentz gave himself to the world immediately and directly and it consumed him. His hedonism was only the most radical way open to him to let the world consume him[72]”.

Since my return from Jerusalem, there’s really so little life in me, so little I’ve found on my own spiritual resources and the intelligentsia seems undistinguishable from the privileged class… “Ambiguity is the manifest imagining of dialectic, the law of dialectics at a standstill. This standstill is utopia, and the dialectical image, therefore, dream image. Such an image is afforded by the commodity per se: as fetish[73]”, what becomes highly anathematic for my fragile mind. I don’t know for how long more I will bear it, since it was my only choice to return here at a time when the decision was not only motivated by a bad health, but by the narrow line between bad health and death “I am always surrounded by doctors informing me of my own interest… I wish I could live in this quiet but I am dying in this place… If it means to live in Richmond or to die in London, I rather die[74]”.I can’t bear the company of fouls and of folly, of these complacent smiles paid for by corporations…”There’s no such a thing as having, there’s only being: that which breathes to the last moment until choking[75]”… There’s nothing wrong in them, it is just what my friend said, “Sometimes I feel like I come from another world[76]”. It is just unlikely to be me, this sheer there-ness of occupying a cluster in the geological history of the earth…”Walter Benjamin knew that the break in the tradition and the loss of authority which occurred in his lifetime were irreparable, and he concluded that he has to discover new ways of dealing with the past. In this he became a master when he discovered that the transmissibility of the past had been replaced by its citability and that in place of its authority there had arisen a strange power to settle down, piecemeal, in the present and to deprive it of 'peace of mind', the mindless peace of complacency[77]” …So far I’ve come to terms with the rather ugly truth that the problem is more theological than biological therefore unfit for interpretations without ambiguities of sorts –ambiguity as a new sense of world-orientation perhaps and I wish I could clear from my vocabulary the word “perhaps”, and this immanence resembles more an imprisonment of the spirit than the rest worthy of culminating a long journey. I’ve come down here only half way through my journey and the claustrophobia is maddening senseless. “If truth as correspondence is defined as the harmony between and idea and the object it represents, then, strictly speaking, we can never come to know whether an idea agrees with its object[78]”.

I could as well spend more than little time with myself… “Arendt made the political distinction between solitude and loneliness, one is chosen but the other is imposed and by no means an easy situation to live with[79]” …or with others prescient of that understanding that we have so often discussed “When others have understood precisely the way I did, then I feel at home in the world[80]”, the commonality of world-views and the unwillingness of having lived “death is the price we pay for having lived[81]”; yet it is not enough and that is why there is this fearful element of decay in all my activities…”Great though Benjamin's life may be in every sense - the only case near me of a life being led metaphysically. It nevertheless harbours elements of decadence to a fearful extent[82]”… it is not as if I were trying to take my own life out in small installments but it is more of a step leading to the very gates of the eschatological world, as to be a witness, but not one single step more…”Right to the threshold but not even one footstep ahead[83]” …I have read Virginia Woolf as of late, and have found impressive in her the idea of living “free of wantonness” because I don’t believe that suicide is brave in anyway in itself although the decision does take much courage, the decision alone is irrelevant to the nature of the work we carried out in the world… "When I was in Tel Aviv I had a small book in my hand, it made me very angry at the same time that I was fascinated. It included a series of male Jewish writers of the fin-de-siécle like Weiniger and Calé who committed suicide at an early age. I hated the book because it just presented their deaths in tragic ways and not their work; moreover what should this be? Anthology of Suicides? But if I find correspondence of Calé... that's another matter.... We can never divine life and work of a poet, but his death is always outside to me. Yet these curious and intromissive creeps are greedy on these erotic touchy stories... Well... this is disgusting in the sense that they reduce Calé to the writer who committed suicide. They don't read his poems as poems but as if they were the embassies of his later suicide... but it is such a vulgar and sentimental reduction![84]“In the other hand I don’t think either that people should stay alive for others, this is sheer mediocrity, joyful triviality… “People stay alive for each other, that is what people do[85]”. Some people write the books and are unable to live, some others live and read the books but are unable to live their own lives so that they prefer other narratives than their own, and lastly others live without getting to know the books, the latter are in my opinion perhaps the most miserable of all. “There are four kinds of people: those who long for an infinite number of anonymous eyes, those who need to be looked at by many eyes, those who need to be constantly before the eyes of the people they love and those who live in the imaginary eyes of those who are not present[86]”. This is important to mention because “life” strip of all the remaining components of a “story” is but a heroic and rather ridiculous enterprise to undertake, something proper of Greek heroes alone. “In polytheism Gods cannot love men but only heroes… In monotheism no matter how much men know God, they are always to remain men[87]” This “life” on its own terms is but a biological innuendo and valueless its pathos because it is entirely subject to the laws of nature. “Life in its biological meaning and the conservation of life rather than action has been constituted as the ultimate good[88]”.

I’ve avoided the news about the Orient through the whole week for it is sad to say that all Gnostic demons have been let out of their dungeons and have meddled themselves with people in such a way that it has become impossible to distinguish them from the everyman. The future of Israel is so uncertain that it seems as if it were already written in the Bible… “Offspring of Jacob! Families of the whole Israel, hearken to the word of God. The Lord said: What have you found worthy of censure in your forefathers that you strayed apart from me? You went after Gods that are but nothing, and into nothing were yourselves turned[89]” , but that is a book that somehow journalists are not too familiar with unless they belong to some Bible-belt sponsored Biblical-Zionist crusade for Italian TV and not different in anyway from those of the most glamorous cardinals. In a way I look at this world stage with the lens of the philosopher of history –that is with the cruelest lack of attachment to the events in course…”The main thing is to learn how to think crudely. Crude thinking, that is the thinking of the great[90]” …On second thought, perhaps not all prophets are Biblical, or perhaps it is a totally different matter altogether: It could be that prophecy only requires the common sense of understanding general things about the world, the first thought-virtue lost in our age…”Already in 1948 Arendt foresaw what now perhaps has come to pass, that Israel would become a militaristic state behind closed but threatened borders, a semi-sovereign state from which Jewish culture would gradually vanish[91]” …That is at least for those who agree with the proposition that nor science or technology is prophetic. “From a certain point there’s no return. This is the point that must be reached[92]”.

What is evident with this new war is not only the endless number of civil victims –this is not new, but rather the theatrical aspect conferred on the history of the world… “Naturally, the world that Zweig depicts was anything but the world of yesterday; naturally, the author of this book did not actually live in the world, only on its rim… Since the world had undeniably acquired a theatrical air, the theater could appear as the world of reality[93]” …the war of God against the gentiles, this is not even theo-political but theo-poetic: the Messianic apocalypse as the final art work of Western mankind and its own Archimedean point of departure, as Baudrillard would love to express it. “For Rosenzweig the ultimate sense of what’s real is formulated beyond the dwellings of wars in world history, that’s to say, in the eschatological time of religions, absolute time[94]”. And how many of the greatest books of the age were written during wars or even during holy wars? The point here is that there’s such great sadness in that God that seems to me now more Gnostic than I had let myself believe through the years I spent under the burning sun of Jerusalem –the sadness is not from above, or from below, it is almost spatial and coeval with the time upon which our lives rely to recognize themselves. It is a bearer of all the sufferings… “Suffering and disgrace is always anonymous for it takes away from people their quality as subjects and turn them into objects, into mere things[95]”.

And because this war isn’t just anonymous we’re not speaking only about suffering, but also about the social question but strip of all possible politics. "Dear Mill, I thank you for your beautiful card, it is here the time: Rain (Regen) but one day sunshine 20 grad, other day the sea from the sky. Here now all good. We all people very good, the Englishmen all gentlemen. I have momentan picture Austellung. A gentleman here has given me extra money for a travel through Palestine. Still one moment I go to Baghdad and Damascus and Beirut and one day to Cairo. One day from here for a Pfund to travel. But I'm very sorry for the world. All the men which dead now. Write soon again, yours, Yussuf[96]". Politics of love at best, and they mean to free the oppressed from the first page in the news, not from bondage and that public relations strategy is the most widely known secret of reactionary revolutions.

The end of times is no longer an exclusively apocalyptic idea if we were to refer to apocalypse as an entirely religious concept in the pre-modern sense… “Never since the sun had stood on the firmament and the planets revolved around him had it been perceived that man’s existence centres in his head, that is, in thought… This was a glorious mental dawn. All thinking beings shared in the jubilation of this epoch… a spiritual enthusiasm thrilled through the world, as if the reconciliation between the Divine and the Secular was now first accomplished[97]” …thus understood as Biblical, whereas today every TV channel has news with sections devoted to the un-future of the economy, society and the environment, “Running start for suicides, as though he were obeying an order that says 'you have to earn your grave[98]”. The end of history has become a journalistic theme par excellence -“The experience of the eschaton or the ultimate “deadline” is however today beyond doubt, a disturbing experience, and together with the contingent threat of the world’s annihilation by hand of the atomic powers, it has turned universal. Each and every hint from the news point out to the fact that there’s not much time left. All that is presented in such a way as if Noah’s ark were the only place left for us to shelter. If generally speaking we would think in ancient or pre-christian terms we could say that we have at our disposal all the time in the world to take care of the problem. However, from the Christian point of view and to the opposite view, we’re running out of time, because the Kingdom of God is near. In this affirmation that the “Kingdom of God” is near what is at stake is not knowing what this kingdom is, but the possibility of its being-close-at-hand. Whoever thinks that can think in Christian terms and he can do it without a final eschatological term, he is absolutely insane[99]”. This is not even a philosophical problem anymore, but one central dilemma of mankind: the idea that the origin of history is the future.

If we are living on the assumption that this world will not last and that these are the last generations before the primal flood, while altogether remain secular, it means that we have lost all legitimacy over our own existence,-legitimacy as analogous to authority. “The present world is eminently important for the denizens of this world, not because it is better or worse than any other worlds, but because this is the world in which we are in charge of certain people and things. The sense of being in charge is incipient in the reflected post-modern consciousness.[100]”It is perhaps the only argument of weight to halt the katechtonic times. “It is about knowing again, albeit in different manner, if the Messiah is coming and that he is coming and withal, “the form of this world will pass”, that is, will be turned into another[101]”. We must prepare, that is, for the continuation and not for the end, for we have inherited a world where “war is the continuation of politics[102]”. And clearly not the end, as Hobbes’ Leviathan knew very well.

“Kairos” or the collapse of time is coeval with the end of historical mankind and not of mankind itself, historical meaning here “able to remember the past and imagine the future”, and kairos is not contingent because the Gods alone cannot bring it without human intervention, without a spatial revolution, without defeating Leviathan and Behemoth from the air space. To say “no” to one’s now is to close the gates of heaven before us because it is only disappointment –and modernity knows this well, what sets this world as entirely distinct from God’s and thus free on its own right and self-standing...”He knew that the praise of God stands on its strongest ground when it stands on nothing[103]”… The ultimate fact here is that no matter what the spirit of the age says the world will last until the natural resources will be done away with, and as long as there is a planet like this or any other physical space the human condition might be shattered but never entirely wiped out from earth, “it is perhaps becoming to train the last partisans of this world for survival after a nuclear hecatomb, and the survival in whichever way is almost factual, no matter under which conditions[104]”. The conditions of our survival are in all possible ways, different from those of the human world whose political principle was world-less-ness, because it would not last[105]. Death in all its forms doesn’t exempt us from the given-ness of life, not even under the conditions of illness… “There is no remedy for death; not even health. A healthy man, however, has the strength to continue towards the grave. The sick man invokes death and lets himself be carried away in mortal fear. In health, even death comes at the proper time. Health is in good terms with Death. It knows that when the grim reaper comes he will remove his stone mask and catch the flickering torch from the anxious and weary and disappointed hands of Brother Life; it knows that he will dash it on the ground and extinguish it, but it also knows that only then the full brilliance of the nocturnal sky will brightly glow. It knows that it will be accepted into the open arms of Death. Life's eloquent lips are put to silence and the eternally Taciturn One will speak: 'Do you finally recognize me? I am your brother[106]". The time is close, not for the end but for recognizing that the fact that this contingent all-extended world of modernity will not just collapse one day under the present conditions but that will rather deteriorate ad infinitum, and that the position of world citizen is unlike that of paradise, we must live in a world of ambiguity and therefore of disappointment as spiritual positions much stronger than metaphysics. “The immeasurable Godlessness of our world today in which the doubt about God is the normal position to assume in an entirely unlimited and value-freed context, this situation could be turn out to our advantage in opening from the depth of the nightly world a gate into an advent for a completely new epoch in historical philosophy”[107]. Our hope is not simply a Blochian dream, but a different understanding of our fullness and capability, an understanding of leaving the chaos-politan world of Carl Schmitt in order to realize a utopia that we might never be able to finish at least within the limits of history because in terms of theology and politics the discussion between the Godly city of Christianity and the universalism of the Jewish faith is but irreconcilable and regardless of the closeness or distance of the End of Times, we must, must choose to live with this very fact[108]…”St. Francis’ followers were ready to let the Franciscan spirit escape from Christendom as the Christian spirit had eclipsed Israel[109]” Theologically we must give up on the claim of having a home whatsoever, but politically we must fight against St. Paul’s letter to the Romans[110] when he says that we are ought to appear as likeable to our neighbor and not to ourselves, because at this our will in so far as it is necessary to support the enterprise of the world, is futile and useless. “The Socratic γνωθι σεαυτον receives a two-fold meaning: Firstly know that you’re only one and thus can have only particular knowledge; you ought to know that you’re only a man and not a God. Secondly, chase this particular, find its truth and therewith, your own. Take hold of both things, so you’ll have your truth, human truth, without forcing it on others[111]”.

On Christmas night I went walking around with a certain friend, until we reached a well where people throw their disappointments only in order to pick somebody else’s, firstly we discussed the fact that Christmas and the Birth of Jesus should not encounter one another the same day and this is precisely because the sufferings of the Cross are tantamount to the Day of the Atonement in the Jewish calendar...”In Paradise there is a palace known as the Palace of the Sick, where the Messiah comes in to visit all sickness, all sorrow, all suffering, inviting them to take possession of him. They do this and the Messiah suffers all punishment that Israel deserves. If the Messiah wouldn’t have taken on himself all the punishment that Israel deserves no one would have been able to take the sufferings of the world. But the Messiah takes all the suffering of all mankind[112]”.

My friend refused to pick up any disappointment for himself and just occupied himself in throwing his own, as his energies waxed he began to spit and his spit was turned into blood, and the well was entirely full with his blood, as if all the sufferings of mankind were interchangeable for a refusal to pick up our own disappointment, what makes our world different from God. “Am I my brother’s keeper?[113]””A hundred and thirty-five years ago Rahel Varnhagen jotted down the following dream: she had died and gone to heaven, together with her friends Bettina von Arnim and Caroline von Humboldt. To relieve themselves of the burdens they had acquired in their lives, the three friends assigned themselves the task of inquiring into the worst things they had experienced. Rahel thus asked: Did you know disappointed love? The other two women broke into tears, and all three thus relieved this burden from their hearts. Rahel asked further: Did you know disloyalty? Sickness? Worry? Anxiousness? Each time the women said yes, they cried, and again all three were relieved of their burdens. Finally Rahel asked: Did you know disgrace? As soon as this word had been spoken, there was a hushed silence, and the two friends took their distance from Rahel and looked at her in a disturbed and strange manner. Then did Rahel know that she was entirely alone and that this burden could not be taken away from her heart. And then she awoke[114].”

The new nomos of the earth is calling for restitution but this doesn’t entail a destruction of the old one as St. Paul meant. The Rabbis said that “Jerusalem was destroyed not because of baseless hatred but because it was judged according to the whole Torah[115]”, the new nomos is not a destruction of the old world, but an understanding of the whole as if it were fragments… precisely what modern philosophy has done without realizing its own project, nor as restitution or final destruction, and it has become more imaginative than cognitive. Which isn’t after all such a bad sign, “Rabbi Zeira said: This book does not contain any ordinances about purity and impurity, no prohibitions or permissions. But then why would it be written at all? In order to teach you, how great is the reward to whomever acts out of love”[116].

…”You can never have peace in life by avoiding life, you must look at life always in the face, know it for what it is, to love it for what it is[117]”…And this naked encounter with divinity and biology at the same time is perhaps the only thing that secularity and time (as secular time) could mean after all. “I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realizes an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past[118]”…One could add that one is never granted the fullness of his emotions whenever he’s granted himself a full break with the past, his own particular and the past in general, because without these fragments of a particularly loose present would be taken away from us into a monism, and then all claims to having lived our own life would be entirely futile. “All our existence here compared with the past eternity, that was before we were, and also compared with the future immortality that will be only after we will have been, is sheer presence[119]”. Our existence is not empty time, nor is it only the historical unfolding of nomos, it is also a life of Eros and that is why history has been moved by more than complots, but also by passions and thoughts. It is not an empty ontological basis, “On the base of the security of the household provided that it also guarantees freedom from self-consumption and dissolution within temporality, something altogether different is rising: A life freely determined so that it might continue also in the future, self-determined freely and independent from this base of the household. Hereby life isn’t just received like that, thus it’s transformed by the very base, and it is a turning back about itself[120]”. This freedom is perhaps the only health insurance against disappointment, whereas against the fates of history, the only insurance is death and that is not even insured by truth... “Are you willing to suspend your prejudices and judgements? Are you willing to confront and essay a vitality that overflows the bumble mix of average well-being and ill being…? For what people seem to find most daunting in me, I discover, is not my illness or possible death, but my accentuated vitality…[121]” What I had in my days learnt from Hegel and Gillian Rose “this logic is Hegelian but what Gillian found in this logic was passion, faith and failure[122]”, a friend wrote it to me once: “But we, my beloved companion, have life, useless hope, true friends and fire consuming our souls... the most important thing I learnt from you and that has brought me much peace is: contradictions are the only way we can understand life[123]”. “This, above all, was Gillian’s risk: to seek places in scholarship for love and life[124]”. Messianic times are in due course not from above or below, but from each member of mankind. “His laughter was the only thing he had to protect himself against reality, his laughter and the naked courage behind it[125]”.

Hoping to see you soon again,


“I think... I won’t be able to tell anybody in words what you meant to me, and the time we spent,
I will only be able through paintings…[126]

[1] Eschatological concept used twice by St. Paul (and the dialectical counterpart of “Eschaton”) in the 2nd Letter to Thessalonians which is referred to as a “force that deters” or a “force that withholds”, meaning it as the force that contains or deters or halts the coming of the Antichrist, the so-called “mysterium iniquitatis” and therefore the end of times. It is identified in Early Christianity (Tertulian, St. Augustine and the Church Fathers) with the Roman Empire. The two opportunities where it occurs in St. Paul’s letter are “And now you do know what it is that which halts him, so that he will not appear before his time is due” (2 The. 2, 6) and “For the secret plan of evil is now set in motion; it is only remaining that he be left free from that one who is deterring him now” (2 The. 2, 7).
[2] Walter Benjamin, letter to Theodor Adorno, 1940’s.
[3] “Men I think will remember us hereafter”, fragments of Sappho.
[4] Wilhelm Waiblinger, “Hölderlin’s Life, Poetry and Madness”, 1830.
[5] Schelling, letter to Hegel as of July 1803.
[6] Hegel “Lectures on the Philosophy of World History”.
[7] Wilhelm Waiblinger, op cit
[8] Schelling, op cit
[9] Wilhelm Waiblinger, op cit
[10] Op cit
[11] Op cit
[12] Op cit
[13] Op cit
[14] Op cit
[15] Op cit
[16] Jacob Taubes, “The Political Theology of Paul”, ch.2, drawing on a Harnack’s book “History of Dogmatics” (1924).
[17] Hölderlin, “Diotima”, fragment. Written erratically during the years of his madness, the original texts runs as such: An Diotima / Wenn aus der Ferne, da wir geschieden sind, / ich dir noch kennbar bin, dir Vergangenheit, / o du Teilhaber meiner Schmerzen, / einiges Gute bezeichnen dir kann. This follows on from the theme of “Hyperion” with his letters to Diotima, a female interlocutor appearing in dialogues of Socrates as a philosophical character and perhaps the first Gnostic philosopher in the classical age. . . .
[18] Hannah Arendt, “Zueignung an Karl Jaspers” in “Sechs Essays”, 1948
[19] Op cit
[20] Carl Schmitt, “What is a spatial revolution?” in “Land and Sea”, 1942
[21] Gerschon Scholem, “Walter Benjamin”, 1982
[22] Hannah Arendt, “Walter Benjamin”, in “Men in Dark Times”, 1970
[23] Emmanuel Levinas on Leon Blum.
[24] Franco Volpi, “The Power of the Elements” (on Carl Schmitt), 2002
[25] Hannah Arendt, “The Human Condition”, 1958, pp 295
[26] John Updike, Introduction to Bruno Schulz’ “Street of Crocodiles”.
[27] Walter Benjamin, “Aphorisms”.
[28] Rolf Tiedemann, “Benjamin’s Dialectics at Standstill”.
[29] Walter Benjamin, Letter to Gershon Scholem.
[30] Hannah Arendt, “Walter Benjamin” in “Men in Dark Times”, 1970
[31] Jacob Taubes drawn from Plotinus
[32] Hannah Arendt, ibid.
[33] Hegel, “Jena’s Real-philosophy”. Quoted by Alexander Koyré.
[34] As in Aristotle and Pre-Socratic philosophy.
[35] Hannah Arendt, “Hegel’s solution: the philosophy of history” in “The Life of the Mind”, 1982, vol.2
[36] Idea from Hans Blumenberg. Prophecy is not soothsaying about the future but a totalizing of the present.
[37] Hegel, “Philosophy of Right”.
[38] Hannah Arendt, ibid.
[39] Hannah Arendt, ibid. Quoting Hegel from Koyré.
[40] Lisa Fitko, Diary about the escapade through the Alps with Walter Benjamin.
[41] Walter Benjamin, correspondence.
[42] Walter Benjamin, “Passagenwerk”.
[43] Leah Goldberg on Else Lasker-Schüler.
[44] Midrash Tanhuma, Nasso, 16
[45] St. Augustine, Epistles on the Gospel of St. John.
[46] Walter Benjamin, Letter to Gershon Scholem.
[47] Hannah Arendt, “Excerpts from Lectures on Kant’s Political Philosophy”, in “The Life of the Mind” 1982, Appendix.
[48] René Char
[49] Walter Benjamin, conversation with Gershon Scholem.
[50] Gershon Scholem on Walter Benjamin.
[51] Hannah Arendt, “Walter Benjamin” in “Men in Dark Times”, 1970.
[52] Ernst Bloch, “Atheism in Christianity”, 1970
[53] Rabbi Nachman of Breslau, unknown reference.
[54] Babylonian Talmud, “Chagigah”, 2. Quoted by Hans Blumenberg. The insert is mine; it speaks about the warning issued by the Jewish community against any kind of speculation, provoked by Gnosticism. From Arendt’s discussion on St. Paul’s and the impotence of the Willing faculty.
[55] Walter Benjamin, "Theses on the Philosophy of History", B, 1942
[56] Shakespeare, “Hamlet”.
[57] Ernst Jünger from his novel “Heliopolis” of 1980; This is referred to the “Leviathan” and “Behemoth” that appear as the beasts that control the waters and the dry land respectively in Book of Job and that have appeared as symbols of political power in theology and philosophy, e.g. Hobbes and Schmitt. The author had been a pen-pal of Carl Schmitt and Jacob Taubes, regardless of his involvement as an officer in Nazi Germany.
[58] Book of Job, 3:8
[59] Book of Job, 40:15
[60] Idea taken from Carl Schmitt’s “Land and Sea”, unknown reference.
[61] Book of Job, 41:9
[62] Jacob Taubes, “The Political Theology of Paul”, 1997
[63] St. John’s Apocalypse, 22:1-5
[64] From the film “History Boys”, Allan Bennet, England, 2005.
[65] Christian Wolff (1679-1754), “Principles of Philosophy”.
[66] St. John’s Apocalypse, 21:22
[67] Agnes Heller, “Theory of Modernity”, 1999, c.1.
[68] Katharina Olschbaur, Letters, 2007.
[69] Wallace Stevens, “Notes toward a Supreme Fiction” (poem). I am indebted to Avivah Zornberg for this reference.
[70] Cato, Roman poet. Closing sentence of Arendt’s “The Human Condition”.
[71] From Hans Blumenberg, “Life-Time and World-Time”.
[72] Hannah Arendt, “Friedrich Gentz” in “Essays in Understanding”.
[73] Walter Benjamin, “Passagenwerk”.
[74] Virginia Woolf to her husband Richard Woolf.
[75] Kafka, “The Blue Octavo Notebooks”.
[76] Felipe Fergusson.
[77] Hannah Arendt, “Walter Benjamin” in “Men in Dark Times”, 1970.
[78] Diana Cohen, “The Logical Impossibility of Suicide in Spinoza’s thought”, (Spanish) 2000.
[79] Agnes Heller, Interview, 1996.
[80] Hannah Arendt, Interview, 1960.
[81] Hannah Arendt, Philosophical Journals.
[82] Gershon Scholem on Walter Benjamin.
[83] Carl Schmitt, Letter to Alvaro d’ Ors, 1951.
[84] Katharina Olschbaur, Letters, 2007.
[85] Clarissa to Richard, from Michael Cunningham’s novel “The Hours”.
[86] Milan Kundera, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”.
[87] Hermann Cohen, “Judaism out of the sources of Reason”, 1912.
[88] Hannah Arendt, “The Human Condition”, 1958.
[89] Jeremiah, 2:4-5
[90] Bertolt Brecht.
[91] Jerome Kohn, “A Jewish Life: 1906-1975”, in Arendt’s “The Jewish Writings”, 2007.
[92] Kafka, “The Blue Octavo Notebooks”.
[93] Hannah Arendt, “Juden in der Welt von Gestern: Anläβlich Stefan Zweig” in “Sechs Essays”, 1948.
[94] Immanuel Levinas on Franz Rosenzweig.
[95] Simone Weil, “The Unhappy Love of God”.
[96] Else Lasker-Schüler, Postcard to Emil Raas, Jerusalem, Hotel Vienna, 1940 (unpublished).
[97] Hegel “Lectures on the Philosophy of World-History”.
[98] Hannah Arendt, “Walter Benjamin” in “Men in Dark Times”, 1970.
[99] Jacob Taubes (1987’s interview), “Messianismo e cultura. Saggi di politica, teologia e storia; 2001 (Italian).
[100] Agnes Heller, “Theory of Modernity”, 1999, Intro.
[101] Giancarlo Gaeta, “Taubes, Messianism and the End of History”.
[102] Carl von Clausewitz, “Political Writings”, 1922.
[103] Chesterton, “The Testament of St. Francis”.
[104] Carl Schmitt, “Theory of the Partisan”, 1962.
[105] Hannah Arendt, “Love and St. Augustine”, 1929.
[106] Franz Rosenzweig, “On the Understanding of Healthy and Sick Man”. .
[107] Margarete Susman, “Ernst Bloch: Geist der Utopie. Rezension. In “Das Nah- und Fernsein des Fremden –Essays und Briefe”, Jüdischer Verlag, Frankfurt, 1992, pp 22, ed. I. Nordmann.
[108] On this there is the amazing work of Tristan Storme, “Carl Schmitt et le Marcionisme: L’impossibilite theologico-politique d’ un ecumenisme judeo-chretien?” 2008.
[109] Chesterton, “The Testament of St. Francis”.
[110] Romans, chapter 15.
[111] Hannah Arendt, Philosophical Journals.
[112] The Zohar.
[113] Genesis: 4-9
[114] Hannah Arendt, “Juden in der Welt von Gestern: Anläβlich Stefan Zweig” in “Sechs Essays”, 1948. From the letters of Rahel.
[115] Talmud Sanhedrin.
[116] Midrash Ruth Rabba, 15.
[117] Virginia Woolf, Journals.
[118] Virginia Woolf, unknown reference.
[119] Hannah Arendt, Philosophical Journals.
[120] Jan Patocka, “Heretical Essays on the Philosophy of History”, commenting on Arendt’s “The Human Condition”.
[121] Gillian Rose, Love’s Work, 1995.
[122] Nigel Tubbs, “What is Love’s Work?” (On Gillian Rose) 1998.
[123] Guilel Treiber, Letters, 2007.
[124] Nigel Tubbs, op cit.
[125] Hannah Arendt, “Randall Jarrell” in “Men in Dark Times”, 1970.
[126] Katharina Olschbaur, Letters, 2007.