I gotta have my orange juice.

Jesu, Juva

Multiformity

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The soul has to do with the invisible, with the things that are not expressed either in dollars and cents, or in a locality. For the soul of man, . . . it doesn’t matter that you have to pack up and leave New York. It didn’t matter to my soul that I had to leave Germany and come to this country. It mattered very much to my . . . role in society, you see; it mattered very much to my mind, because I had to think new things, you see; and it mattered very much to my environment, to my natural fight for existence, to my bodily existence. It didn’t matter at all to my soul. Quite the contrary: only because I left this other space, you see, could I save my soul. . . .

Gentlemen, you have not learned to use the term “soul” right. . . . The one condition . . . attached to the use of the word “soul” is that you ascribe to the soul the power to survive change of environment, change of body, and change of mind, and change of role. . . . It is very difficult to understand that a dishonored person can have all the more soul, because society doesn’t reclaim him and doesn’t recognize him, you see. Your integrity as a soul . . . can only be tested if you can survive environmental change, mental change.

[We are given] the occasion of turning [our] experience into an asset simply by discovering that [we are] not to be identified with any external position in society. You see, this is the challenge. The soul always comes to our rescue with a new pride, and says, “If I’m humiliated, if I’m humbled . . . then I discover my real powers.”

You see, the soul thrives on the invisible, which is nothing mystical. But it is the power, Goethe has called it, . . . “to place ourselves in times into nonexistence in order to come into existence.” And take this down, because it is your best weapon against . . . modern existentialism. . . . These existentialists always say that we exist. But gentlemen, . . . the nonexistence is the experience of the soul. . . . The soul is still in being when the man doesn’t seem to exist, because “exist” is materially visible in the senses. Every one of you has to be able to live through a cocoon stage in which, in the eyes of the world, he’s somebody else. He isn’t yet the one who one day will shake the foundations of the universe by his actions. In this moment, he seems to be nonexistent. He’s out in pasture. And this nonexistence, gentlemen, is the state of the soul. . . . Any one of us at times at least has to be tested in this manner.

. . .

I wish you to understand that all these forms are purely secular forms, of passing importance: the worker, the businessman, the farmer. No one can save his soul by just being a worker, or by just being a farmer, or just being a businessman. Comes an emergency, you see, he must have another power. . . Man is only in [the] course of his life one, when he can join together the various phases of his life into oneness, you see. . . .

And therefore, . . . any one of these groups, any one of these groups carries some eternal truth about you and me into the field of their purely social passing, business activity. . . . [They] identif[y] a reflection of this real quality of you and me, you see, in the course of our lives, from child to death, with any special situation on which you can put, you see, your finger and say, “This is it.” . . . [And so] you get all the sects. Any sect, any sectarian movement, you see, identifies a partial solution of infinity with a total solution of infinity. That’s why you shouldn’t be sectarians, gentlemen. Don’t be sectarians. A sect is always confusing infinity . . . into which we are moving, that all men in a certain extent belong to each other: with . . . some relative realization. (Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, Cross of Reality, 1953)

Written by Scott Moonen

June 20, 2017 at 8:50 am

Posted in Quotations, Suffering

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