Men in Dark Times
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Essays on Karl Jaspers, Rosa Luxemburg, Pope John XXIII, Isak Dinesen, Bertolt Brecht, Randall Jarrell, and others whose lives and work illuminated the early part of the century. Index.
have recently reiterated this—Scholem in his Leo Baeck Memorial Lecture of 1965, in which he said, “I am inclined to consider Brecht’s influence on Benjamin’s output in the thirties baleful, and In some respects disastrous,” and Adomo in a statement to his disciple Rolf Tiedemann according to which Benjamin admitted to Adomo that he had written “his essay on the Work of Art in order to outdo Brecht, whom he was afraid of, in radicalism” (quoted in Rolf Tiedemann, Studien zur Philosophic Walter
enslaved world whose foundations, moreover, were already shaken. Lessing, too, was already living in “dark times,” and after his own fashion he was destroyed by their darkness. We have seen what a powerful need men have, in such times, to move closer to one another, to seek in the warmth of intimacy the substitute for that light and illumination which only the public realm can cast. But this means that they avoid disputes and try as far as possible to deal only with people with whom they cannot
little less unified. This negative solidarity, based on the fear of global destruction, has its correspondence in a less articulate, but no less potent, apprehension that the solidarity of mankind can be meaningful in a positive sense only if it is coupled with political responsibility. Our political concepts, according to which we have to assume responsibility for all public affairs within our reach regardless of personal “guilt,” because we are held responsible as citizens for everything that
technology have developed ever were destroyed, the probability Is that the new unity of mankind could not even technically survive. Everything then seems to depend upon the possibility of bringing the national pasts, in their original disparateness, into communication with each other as the only way to catch up with the global system of communication which covers the surface of the earth. It is in the light of such reflections that Jaspers made the great historical discovery which became the
well as to the world. This attitude, common to the war veterans of all countries, became a sort of climate of opinion when it turned out that they were succeeded by two more such lost generations”: the first, born about ten years later, in the first decade of the century, was taught, through the rather impressive lessons of inflation, mass unemployment, and revolutionary unrest, the instability of whatever had been left intact in Europe after more than four years of slaughter; the next, again