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An Excerpt

"From the right height everything comes together: the thoughts of the philosopher, the work of the artist, and good deeds."  —Friedrich Nietzsche

The moon waxes and wanes, fights and gives up, as stars may light up the skies or altogether hide—as does our love for this earth. Whether it is a question of having enough time or having the lucidity of a mind which recognizes clearly what the heart truly seeks, everything still comes down to a decision which settles where you will finally stake the rest of your days. The choices are there, but they have to be taken: “Money or your life”? What I love or my obligations? To risk a departure so as to follow him who calls on me, or to remain in the certainty that the walls I built will not be destroyed? To linger among the ruins of the past or to risk making a new beginning? And to hope—or to pull the trigger of the revolver that concludes nothing can be had in this world no matter how much you love? Van Gogh’s life teaches us that lov…
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Chaos, Cloud, Abyss

It's good to live in anxiety,  good to hear one's teeth chatter in fear, good to push life to the brink of ruin  and start afresh next morning.                                                –Bohumil Hrabal

Of course, we would rather have it easy. Everything is clean and foreseen, everything planned, thus everything is “as expected." There’s a feeling that you are in control: what you expect and even demand, is what you get--as if by right and by privilege. We see this especially in those who age. Finding out that one has to at some point be responsible for one’s own life, we gather ourselves and summon all our strength in pursuing goals, goals we set out for ourselves, but really they are the goals of other people, thinking these ends will make us happy--because their accomplishment, we again think, shall give us solid ground to stand on, to build on ever anew. 
There is some truth to this. Getting what you want is always rewarding. But there are no surprises here. Whet…

One of Love’s Many Dismays

There was once a young man who had heard about a woman whose beauty was so legendary that no man was able to resist her. It was said that whenever she passed by, all men fell on their knees and worshipped her like a deity. The story also did go that while she entertained all the suitors who lined up at her door, that she would also turn down each proposal when she was asked for her hand in marriage. This broke everyone’s hearts, naturally. Pools of the tears of the many men who had desired her welcomed the next suitor by the threshold of her door.

One day this young man was so intrigued by this story of the woman he did not yet see, that he started daydreaming about her whose beauty was known to crush any man’s heart. She would be the first thing he wondered about as he awoke to each new day, and she, the woman of many possible faces, would haunt him in his dreams. He asked himself what she liked, what jewellery adorned her, what she did in the afternoons; or if she liked long walks,…

The Burdens of Love

Gustave Dore, The Arrival of the Good Samaritan at the Inn, etching, 1868.

We all know the story already. After being passed by on the road by a priest and a Levite, a half-dead man who was robbed of everything he had was tended to by a Samaritan, who bandaged his wounds, poured oil and wine over him. And then the Samaritan picks up the man, places him on his donkey, brings him to an inn where he may rest and recover. Then the Samaritan takes leave of the man, pays the innkeeper for the accommodations, and then says: “Look after him, and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have” (Luke 10: 35). We were told this story in our youth in order to learn that helping others meant helping any man we come across on the road. That even strangers by the wayside deserve our aid when they need it. Also, we were inspired by the mercy that the Samaritan showed toward the fallen man; that mercy meant that urgent response to him who suffered; that one cannot, like the pries…

The Lover’s Advance

It is not always the distance which worries us. Not because distance requires the impetus necessary in order to traverse it, which in itself can only come from a decision to take leave of that hell of a place you find yourself in; more so, because any crossing of that distance brings you to the point where you can no longer stop or retreat. Once you break into a life, there is no turning back--best of all, for the lover who advances.

Such is the dilemma of introductions, that otherwise casual and everyday occurrence of collecting names to be filed under the general heading ‘acquaintances’; those you meet by chance or by necessity, only to be discarded the following day like name cards as there will be no need to keep anything here. You meet, you smile, you pretend to care for a moment, and then that is all that can be said about that.

But there are some introductions that mark you. A name marks you, you see. Having won it, you also are granted the possibilities that come with his nam…

The Fullness of Charity

Nietzsche's Nihilism

What is nihilism?  The highest values devalue themselves.  The aim is lacking, and 'Why' finds no answer.
(Will to Power)

Karl Hoffer TheCaller. c.1924. New Masters Gallery, Dresden.