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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

RILKE                                            175

Love is finding; and therefore the divine in things is a magnet to
love. With this pantheistic doctrine of immanence Rilke blends a
sublimated 'animism' or belief in the soul of things (Ding-Seele):
even- thing is animated by soul, which is God. But what is 'life'
but "things' ? For Rilke God and life (rather than God and nature)
are identical; for God is immanent in all the manifestations of life.
His aim is, therefore, to attain a consciousness or a realization of
God in life; and this means that life for him is an intense and un-
remitting quest, a desperate wrestling with all in life which may
reveal God to him. This explains the intensity of his mystic poetry;
and, since he is always finding God, its ecstasy. Life to Rilke is the
marriage of the consciousness of things ( = soul) with the God
who is in these things; or, to put it differently, the consciousness
of experience (=ecstasy) unites with the cause of experience (=
God), in Spinoza's sense that God is the immanent cause of all
things and therefore exists only in eifects, that is things. For the
interpretation of Rilke Kant's extension of the doctrine of im-
manence is needed too. To Kant immanent means 'remaining in
experience' (innerbalb der lELrfahmng bleibend)\ Rilke said (Briefe an
eimnjungen Dichter): 'Jedes Gedicht ist erne Erfabrmg'; if then God
is immanent in every experience, and if every poem is an experi-
ence, then every poem is God; thus the criterion of a poem must
be that it is gottvoll\ and applied to Rilke's poems this means that
(like all mysticism) they are ecstatic. There could be no clearer
statement of the poet's religious conception than his own in a
letter to Ellen Key: 'Das Ziel der gan^en menschlichen Entwick/ung ///,
Go ft mid die Erde in demselben Gedanken denken ^n konnen. Die Liebe
^tiffi Leben und die Liebe %u Go ft muss t%usammenfalkn> anstatt^ mejet^t^
verschiedene Tempel auf verschiedenen Anhohen %tt haben; man kann Gott
nur anbeten, indem man das 'Leben %ur Vollkommenheit lebt. Ibm immer
hohere T?ormen %u geben, einen immer reicheren Zusammenhang ^wiscben
ihm und dem scheinbar Unbelebfen herbei^ufuhren^ das heissf Gottschaffen.
Mit anderen Worten^ Gott ins L^ben hinabsenken oder das Leben %u Gott
emporbluhen ^u lassen?

And since God is life Rilke gives Him all the manifold shapes
of life. *Du bist der Wald der Widersprucbe\ he hails Him; since all
is God, He must be all contraries. God is 'der uralte Ttirtri* round
which the dove of yearning circles through the ages; He is the
'Ratselhafte, um den die Zeit im Zogern stand* \ He is 'dasgrosse Heim-
, das wir nicht be^wangen'i he is part of the poet's loneliness (*&/