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JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
By THEODOR HAECKER
Edited and translated^
with an introduction
by AIJCK DRU
Haecker, a German philosopher and re-
ligious thinker, tran.slator of 'Kierkegaard
and Newman, was deeply concerned with
the harmony of faith and reason. This is
the central theme of the Journal. Con-
verted to Catholicism in 1920, Haecker
was among the few who immediately
recognized the character of ihe Nazi re-
gime. He published his first article at-
tacking it at the moment in which Hitler
came to power. In consequence, he was
arrested and, after his release, forbidden
to lecture or to broadcast. His Journal
was written at night, arid the pages hidden,
as they were written, in a house in the
This book, reminiscent in form of Pascal's
Pensees, is his last testimony to the Lruth
and a confession of faith that is a spon-
taneous rejoinder to a particular moment
in history. It is "written by a man intent,
by nature, on the search for truth, and
driven, by circumstance, to seek for it in
anguish, in solitude, with an urgency that
grips the reader.
JACQUES MARATAIN on TUKODOR HAECKKK:
Theodor Haecker was a man of deep in-
sight qnd rare intellectual integrity a
"Knight of Faith" to use Kierkegaard f s
expression. The testimony of this great
Christian has an outstanding value. I
thank Pantheon Rooks for making so mag-
nanimoits and* moving a work as his diary
available to ^ American reader.
Journal in the night
gUpM lunsjs city, Missouri
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JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
Journal in the Night
Translated from the German
Printed in Great Britain for
Pantheon Books Inc., 333 Sixth Avenue,
New Tork City
First Edition 1950
Printed by William Clowes & Sons, Ltd., London an,d Becclet
in gratitude for
Pixton: May September
The Introduction needs a word of explanation, and
perhaps of apology. Haecker's Journal in the Night is clear,
complete and intelligible as it stands ; but Haecker is so little
known outside Germany, that this seems the right occasion
on which to say something about Haecker's importance.
The Introduction is only concerned with that point, with so
presenting the intellectual and historical background that
Haecker's importance can be seen. There is little, therefore,
about Haecker's books individually, a subject which may
well be left aside until some of them are translated into
English. Instead, there is a summarised account of the move-
ment of thought in which his work took shape. This will, I
hope, prepare the reader for the Journal, and forestall the
misunderstandings that so easily supervene when the per-
spective is left to chance.
This compressed account includes a number of themes,
any one of which might be treated at length. It would have
been possible, and even easier, to omit one or another; but
the clarity attained by not over-crowding the pages of the
Introduction would, I believe, have been fictitious. Haecker's
importance as a writer derives from his breadth of view, and
this can only be conveyed by pointing out how and where
the many themes in his work are related to the movement of
thought of which it forms part.
This movement of thought is fashionable at the moment
under the name and guise of Existentialism'; but as a
fashion it is a tree shorn of its branches and roots. The aim
of the Introduction is, in one respect, to go behind this
fictitious simplicity and to stress the historical links that,
as a fashion, existentialism seems bent upon ignoring or
perhaps denying. When existentialism is considered simply
XII JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
for a year or two he was at last able to realise his ambition,
and through the generosity of a friend, went to the University
in Berlin. It was there he laid the foundation of a thorough
and wide knowledge of ancient and modern literature,
though he could not afford to remain long enough to take
a degree. On leaving Berlin he went into the offices of an
export company, a life that was not made more congenial
by being in Antwerp. A year or so later he was again
rescued by a friend and was taken into Heinrich Schreiber's
small publishing firm in Munich, in conditions which made
it possible for him to go on with his studies. From that
time, till he was forced to leave Munich in the last year of
the war, his life, as far as I know, never altered. He
worked in his office during the day, and when he began to
write, it was at night. He married late in life, and for the
last twenty years lived with his wife and three children in
a flat above his office, in a house overlooking the gardens
on the further bank of the Isar.
As a youMig man Haecker's ambition had been to be an
actor, until after a long illness, due to an infection of the
sinus, an operation left him badly disfigured. It would be
difficult to imagine anyone who seemed less fitted for the
part he had chosen for himself, though perhaps, by its very
incongruity, it suggests to us the mobility of mind and
the quick sympathy that lay behind a massive reserve and
a disconcerting silence. His silence and reserve were in fact
the only surface which he presented! to the curious, and he
was so lacking in affectation or eccentricity that the most
that could be said of him was that he made nothing of
himself. Outwardly his life was as ordinary as could well be
conceived. He rarely travelled, and took no part in the
official learned and literary life that was so well defined in
the Germany of that period. Though perhaps here, too,
he might have taken a different turn if the Nazi regime had
not come at the moment when his books were beginning
to have some success, and he had begun to lecture occasion-
ally at the Universities,
Haecker's first essay Kierkegaard and the Philosophy of
Inwardness was published by Schreiber in 1913 as something
of a curiosity, for no one had heard of Haecker, and few
had heard of Kierkegaard, whose works were only then
appearing in German. It was anything but a conventional
biography or an impersonal study. The articles which he
wrote during the next five or six years, afterwards published
under the title Satire und Polemik (1914-1920), gave full vent
to his contempt for the literary and philosophical pundits
of the day of whom probably only Thomas Mann and
Rathenau are even names to the English public. The
vituperative power of these articles is considerable, and I
doubt whether anyone but Karl Krauss, in Vienna, with
whom Haecker later became friends, could have surpassed
him in violence. There was nothing reserved about
Haecker's style, and though he soon afterwards turned his
back on 'polemics' for very different fields, what he wrote
always had an edge.
The change came in 1920 when Haecker was received
into the Catholic Church. For the next few years he wrote
little, devoting himself mainly to translations from Kierke-
gaard and Newman. His introductions and postscripts,
together with a criticism of Scheler (which Scheler found
remarkable), were published under the title Christentum und
Kultur in 1927; it was only two years later that he wrote the
first short book, from which may be dated the beginning of
Haecker neither wished, nor had the gifts to become a
'figure'. His books were too distant from the German
academic tradition, and too wanting in airs and graces, to
gain him an audience quickly; they are not easy books
to label and it is difficult and dangerous not to be a specialist
in Germany. Strangely enough it was probably his grasp of
political and social changes and his alarm at the form which
the revolution took after the defeat of Germany that carried
most weight among Catholics. And here his friendship
with Karl Muth, the editor of Hochland, should perhaps be
XIV JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
mentioned. Haecker's work is not of the impersonal
schematic kind which provides the frame-work for a school;
and where style is an essential ingredient, the immediate
influence is often deceptive. How far his influence took root,
how far it may still stimulate and permeate his compatriots
remains to be seen.
Haecker had maintained from the first that the Treaty
of Versailles was a disaster for Europe, not least because it
weakened all the forces that had hitherto done something
to contain and limit the Prussian hegemony. And though,
as the Journal shows, he altered his opinion to some extent,
he remained acutely sensitive to the signs of the coming
upheaval. Haecker was among the first to discern the real
character of the Nazi movement, and his first article
attacking its philosophy was published at the time that
Hitler came to power. He was arrested a few weeks later
and was released only through the help of Karl Muth and
Cardinal Faulhaber. From that moment he was a marked
man; he was forbidden to speak on the wireless and refused
permission to lecture. The death of his wife in 1935 left
him very much alone. A letter written in 1939 from
Switzerland gives some notion of his feelings at this time.
I was able to lecture in St. Gallen (in Switzerland) yesterday. The
permission was given as a result of an oversight. And in my own
country I am not allowed to say one word in public, because my books
are having a success and are beginning to have some influence. I have
been declared an enemy of the State, a Staatsjeind* My name is
starred three times in the books of the Police, our tscheka, and my
safety is always threatened more and more. I have the feeling and
the belief that I am in the hands of God, but I am not on that
account freed from anxiety and worry about my children. In a
couple of hours I shall be back in Germany, and cannot tell what
may not happen. At any rate, once there I shall no longer be able
to write the truth.
In the last sentence of his letter is the germ of the book
here translated, and in fact Haecker refers in the Journal to
the change involved in adopting a new form, and compares
it to the change when he gave up c satire and polemics \
Looking back, it is remarkable how much Haecker could
say in his essays that the normally sensitive reader must
have recognised as directly applicable to existing conditions,
and which the obtuseness of the censors passed over. But
with the prospect of war, and of the general catastrophe he
foresaw, Haecker felt the need to speak out his whole mind.
And so, while nothing could at first sight seem less adapted
to his cast of mind than a Journal, it was forced upon him,
and he chose it as the perfect vehicle for the testimony he
had to give.
The Journal was written, like everything else he had
written, by night. As much as possible of the manuscript
was kept hidden in Karl Muth's house outside Munich,
for Haecker had every reason to fear a visit of the Gestapo.
When at last it occurred, and the police entered his flat,
the current pages of the Journal lay in a music case on the
sofa in his room. Only the presence of mind of his daughter,
who caught her father's whispered word mappe, saved it from
discovery. She ran into the room, called out that she was
late for her music lesson, and ran off with the case. Not
long afterwards, Hans Scholl, Haecker's friend and the
leader of the students who staged an abortive revolt in
1943, was condemned to death. Hans Scholl had noted
down a conversation with Haecker in which he had
said that above all things Germans lacked humility. This
had its humourous conclusion in the interrogation that
followed Haecker's arrest. He was asked what he meant
by his words, and when he said, literally what I
said', he was dismissed with the remark: Ach so, das ist in
Early in 1944 Haecker's house was completely destroyed
during the bombing of Munich. His health had already
begun to suffer, and he went to live in a village outside
Augsburg. There he was entirely alone. His daughter
visited him occasionally from Munich. His eldest son was a
prisoner in England. His youngest son Reinhard was sent
early in 1945 to the Russian front and was shortly afterwards
XVI JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
reported missing. His sight began to fail, and not long
afterwards, on 9th April, he died entirely alone.
Dire la ve"rit6, toute la ve"rit, rien que la ve*rite*,
dire btement la verite bte, ennuyeusement la
ve"rite ennuyeuse, tristement la vrit6 triste:
voil& ce que nous nous somme propose. Nous
y avons a peu pres re"ussi.
Le Triomphe de la R&piiblique 1905
Theodor Haecker belonged to the same generation as
Peguy, and both grew up in P^guy's 'monde moderne', the
world of c les intellectuels 5 , of socialists, nationalists, inter-
nationalists, in which poetry was an ivory tower and
civilisation was already in the grips of the new technology,
a world in which religion was wholly irrelevant. However
much they differed, they felt their situation to be the same,
their paths were in fact the same, their difficulties and
problems and even their destinies were not unlike, and in
the history of their two countries their places are analogous.
And more than that, it might be said that where P^guy left
off, cut off in the middle of a sentence, there Haecker,
unaware of P6guy's work, picks up the thread.
Charles P^guy's work was a series of discoveries, of
brilliant intuitions, set down with painstaking exactitude as
a process of 'approfondissement' in which the deepest feel-
ing was of C fid61it 5 to truth, and to his human condition.
'La revolution sera morale 9 he announced, purposely con-
fusing his own and the social revolution, *ou elle sera rien'.
His search for the truth at times concealed the goal from
him as well as from the readers of the interminable
Cahiers in which he noted down the world of tradition as it
came within his horizon. For it was himself and not
Descartes he described when he spoke of 'ce cavalier frangais
parti d'un si bon pas'. The stress which his method laid
upon his discoveries and he defined philosophy as the
discovery of a new continent lent a romantic colour to his
vision that falsifies its essential nature. Peguy was neither
a reactionary discovering the past, nor a progressive dis-
covering the future; the tradition he perceived was at once
older and newer. And if his work is deceptive in this, it is
because it was written during the process of 'approfon-
dissement 5 ; the moral and intellectual violence with which
he battled his way through the c monde moderne* left
its mark on his final point of view; his Verite 5 was not
only dull, obvious and at times sad; we see it as his
With the exception of the great unfinished Cahiers that
were published posthumously* Peguy J s work leads up to
his return to Catholicism which characteristically he refused
to call a conversion; and in the sense that it was the dis-
covery of himself, the understanding of his human condition
and not a change so much as a growth, an 'approfon-
dissement', he was right.
Haecker, on the other hand, emphasised the finality of
conversion, not so much as a break with the past, but as
the attainment of a lasting foundation, the starting point
in his life and thought. What he wrote before that date
can be ignored. He was received into the Catholic Church
in 1920; he published a collection of essays and articles in
1927 and his main work began when he was forty; a work
as compact and economical, ordered and objective as
P6guy's was straggling, diffuse and repetitive.
Haecker, no doubt, was as conscious as P6guy of having
been c long on the road, slow and obstinate 5 . c lt may well
be' he continues, c that there are men who find themselves
at once; but I am not among them; I had to go a long way
* Note sur la Philosophic de M. Bergson; Note Conjointe sur la Philosophic
de M. Descartes; Clio.
XVIII JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
round before coming to myself* The difference between
them lay in the fact that Haecker 'never prized the endea-
vour above the end, the search above the find'. Peguy
worked his passage; Haecker, as the violence of his first
articles shows, was more impatient for the goal, more
patient of the way.
At the end of his fine study of Peguy, M. Romain Holland
sums up, saying that Teguy's genius was to have been and
to have recognised in himself 'un bon fran^ais de Pespece
ordinaire, et vers Dieu un fidele et un p^cheur de la com-
mune espce 5 . As in everything, Peguy was at once struck
by his discovery and by his genius. Haecker neither was,
nor thought himself a 'genius' and gave an almost opposite
account of himself: 'I was very early struck by the thought,
and it has never left me, of how little I myself could con-
tribute to my being and existence; and I drew the con-
clusion that it was far more important for me to meditate
on the power which created me and sustains me ... than
upon the little which I can do. That is certainly connected
with the fact that, from childhood up, I was of a contem-
plative nature 5 .
P<guy was not the type to meditate on the little he could
do: he was frankly and naively astonished at his powers,
and when late in his career he became a poet, he was as
dumbfounded as his readers e ce sera plus fort que Dante 5 .
But there was a certain ethical strain in his make-up that
shaped his thought more than he understood and prevented
him from freeing himself entirely from the rationalistic
ethics in which he felt enmeshed. 'Contre la morale
catholique 5 he wrote in an early work, "seul une morale
socialiste, strictement Kantienne en sa forme 5 and even in
his last JVbto this element was not entirely eliminated. It is
*Preface to Satire und Polemik 1921,
this ethical turn of mind that gives his poetry its unique
When Peguy was killed in 1914 he had reached the point
where he could no longer have glossed over the question
of conversion; the search was at an end. And in fact the
unfinished Notes and Clio suggest a coming change more
radical than the whole process of 'approfondissement 5 as it
lies before us in the Cahiers. It is with that change, the
mature formulation of the contemplative point of view, that
Haecker's work is concerned. Peguy certainly saw the
problems of his time very clearly, saw the narrowness of
the rationalistic interpretations of 'scientific 5 history. He
saw, for example, the confusion that followed when Taine
ignored the different 'orders' and explained La Fontaine's
poetry in sociological terms and the 'man 5 in terms of his
material and economic existence. But although he criticised
and ridiculed the 'enormous conceit 5 of these 'explanations 5
he was weak in putting forward his 'humble 5 intuitive
method as the alternative. Having experienced the in-
adequacy of rationalism and reacted against it, he remained
to some degree influenced by its antithetical forms of
thought, so that the alternative sometimes presented itself
in a form that is not free from irrationalism.
"Apart from'the faith" 5 , Haecker writes in the Journal, "the
only choice is between the 'inadequate 5 and the 'absurd'.
Bourgeois Europe chose the 'inadequate 5 , and was followed
in this choice by the Fascists. Individual geniuses prefer
some 'absurd' or other, usually gnostic in origin, as in the
case of Schelling and Scheler, or else of a private nature, like
Nietzsche's 'Eternal Recurrence 5 , or Rilke's 'Weltinnen-
raum*. There is something one-dimensional about the faces
of those who chose the 'inadequate 5 ".
XX JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
For all their brilliance and truth, Peguy's discoveries are
his, and it calls for an effort of mind to disengage them from
his grasp and though he said with some truth to Lotte,
his appointed Boswell, c C'est un renouveau catholique qui
se fait par moi 3 , it was a reflection upon what he could do;
there was something 'private 5 about it which interested him
quite as much as meditating on the destiny in which he
was involved. P6guy had too much genius ; he was carried
away by his fantasy and his immense dexterity, and delighted
in his eccentricities. Yet even his eccentricities have an
ethical quality, and his eccentric, drumming, repetitive
style, with its angry or ironical emphasis on the obvious, has
almost nothing of the C 6crivain' about it. Haecker, on the
other hand, is never eccentric and always himself, the differ-
ence may perhaps be marked by saying, as Haecker says in
the Journal, that the paradox is almost always only a way to
the simple, harmonious (obvious) truth, though a very
significant way. What Pguy and Haecker saw was, in
essentials, the same; the way in which they saw it could
hardly be more different.
It is at their best that Pguy and Haecker are nearest
together, in their regard for the truth and in their faith.
'Sa vraie croyance', Mme. Favre said of P<%uy, e c'etait la
prifere'. That was the source of Peguy's fundamental theme
and principle: Tinsertion de F&ernel dans le temporeP
the fact or data of tradition
Et Farbre de la grace et Farbre de la nature
Ont li< leur deux troncs de noeuds si solennels
Us ont tant confondu leurs destins fraternels
Que c'est la meme essence et la mme stature.
For in the 'monde moderne' nature and grace were not any
longer different 'orders', they were an antithesis. There is
hardly a better example of Peguy's imaginative power, that
flowed from his life of prayer, than his capacity to see nature
and the supernatural once again in the harmony of tradition.
It was as a result of this antithesis of the antithetical form
of thought that denies the different orders in favour of a one-
dimensional world that religion had become irrelevant; it
had lost its roots and its links in nature and history and had
become something entirely 'supernatural' a ghost from the
past. This generally accepted notion was not only the pro-
duct of Bayle's rationalistic critique of Tradition, but the
consequence of the mechanical rehearsal of the 'evidences' of
Christianity, themselves encased in a rationalistic mould,
divorced (for the sake of convenience) from personal
religion and the life of prayer, and as such abstractions.
In their way the 'evidences' and Natural Theology were
the preserve of a cast as distant from Peguy's 'bon
frangais', as the 'intellectuals' whom Peguy and Haecker
began by opposing with all the vehemence at their
It was in this 'monde moderne,' where natural and
super-natural were separated by a gulf, that Bergson created
such a profound impression. c He will never be forgiven'
P6guy said, 'for having set us free,' that is neither by the
intellectuals nor by the ultras. To Haecker, who described
the philosophy of the period as a process of asphixiation,
Bergson was the man who 'threw open a window and let
us breathe'. But almost simultaneously there occurred the
decisive event in his intellectual development, the discovery
of Kierkegaard's work and if Haecker did not think in
terms of discoveries, it was not because he did not make
them. Twenty years later, in a critical essay on Kierkegaard's
Notion of Truth he wrote : 'I am still too strongly under the
impression which Kierkegaard made upon me as a young
man, to speak of him without gratitude and admiration'.
His conversion was not a break with the past, but the ful-
filment of his fidilitf, and none of those from whom he had
XXII JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
gained an insight into the truth were set aside or forgotten,
neither Kierkegaard, nor Hilty nor Blumhardt.*
It was hardly an anachronism that Kierkegaard should
have come upon the scene after Bergson, for although his
point of view is neither mysterious nor esoteric, his whole
mode of thought was obscured by the polemics out of which
it emerged. That Nietzsche's work of demolition helped to
prepare the way must be evident. But Kierkegaard's
delayed action is an excellent illustration of the continuity
of thought between the attempt to recover the meaning of
tradition which occurred at the end of the XVIIIth century
and the movement of thought that recovered itself with the
appearance of Bergson a movement which now acknow-
ledges its origins in Kierkegaard, at least to the extent of
adopting his term, existential.
The romantics with whom Kierkegaard had most in
common were the failures of the first generation, whose
truncated works and fragmentary thoughts were exposed
in a wholly misleading perspective by the appearance
of the successful and often massive 'inadequate' oeuvres
that followed. The immediate reaction to the Age of
Reason, with its artificial segregation of thought and feeling
and its capacity for dispensing with enthusiasm, had
released an intuitive perception of the common ground of
* Johann Christoph Blumhardt (1805-1880) whose life and writings made
a great impression upon Haecker as a young man. He studied theology
in Tubingen, and took orders. Mdrike and David Friederich Strauss
were among his friends and contemporaries. His extraordinary spiritual
influence in his country parish soon spread abroad, and can only be
compared to that of the Cur d'Ars. But his theology was displeasing to
authority, and his innumerable cures and miraculous powers were
discounted. Neither he, nor his son, who was hardly less remarkable,
have ever recived any acknowledgment. Carl Hilty (1833-1909)
Professor of Law at Bern University a writer who impressed von Htigel
and Haecker and apparently no one else.
tradition and imagination, which was so fruitful in new
vistas and forms of expression, that with few exceptions the
end outstripped the means and was lost in vagueness. The
great example, among these failures, of a mind equipped to
perceive the aim and capable of assimilating the material,
is Coleridge. Newman's 'failure' was to have worked
patiently at the same problem, refusing all the half-hearted
or pseudo-solutions elected by his contemporaries, and only
to have completed in 1870 a work well launched in 1830.
By a curious irony, being twelve years older than Kierke-
gaard, he lived on ten years after Bergson had begun
writing : no more unpropitious timing could be imagined.*
The aim of the writers who broke away from the ration-
alism of the XVIIIth century, in some cases hardly more
than an instinct, was the re-integration of thought and
feeling, a unity of life and thought which transferred the
accent from essence to existence. The fact that the XlXth
century fell back again into the same stale dichotomy,
enriched by its scientific discoveries on the one side, and on
the other by the poetic discoveries of the first generation of
* What Mr. I A. Richards says of the writers discussing Coleridge
might with equal propriety be applied to those who write on Newman:
they usually "put a ring fence round a very small part of his thought
and say, c we will keep inside this and leave the transcendental and the
analytic discussion to someone else. } '* Father D'Arcy has observed how
little attention Newman has received from philosophers and psycholo-
gists; he does not mention theologians, perhaps because Newman
emphasised his amateur status. It would have been possible for Mr.
Richards himself to widen his field of discussion, profitably I think,
for in the University Sermons Newman added a foot-note to the effect that
Coleridge had forestalled his argument; and then it is evident that the
Grammar of Assent is by no means irrelevant to Coleridge on the Imagination.
Recently, Mr. Herbert Read has pointed to the fact that Coleridge
was approaching Kierkegaard's either-or', though it would be still
better to say that Kierkegaard on the imagination (especially in
Sickness unto Death) is relevant to Coleridge the Critic. In any case
the 'either-or' is apt to be a rather sterile approach to Kierkegaard's
thought, 'Existentialism' is often regarded as a fashion; I hope the
connections suggested by this note wul dispel the illusion. Perhaps it is
only a fashion in its attempt to segregate the ideas of Coleridge and
Kierkegaard from their Christianity.
XXIV JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
romantics, concealed the importance of Kierkegaard (and
of those whose work had similar aims) for nearly a century.
Among the few who saw this clearly, at the time, was
Sainte-Beuve, so well situated and gifted to understand the
significance of these attempts to grasp the meaning of
tradition, and to assess the shortcomings of those who
bungled the work. In one of the outbursts in which he
excelled, he gave a definition of the mal du sikle as a lack
of will which is by far the best justification for the venom
with which he pursued Chateaubriand, and Hugo and the
successful romantics, and explains his penetrating admir-
ation of Senancour's "failure 5 .
"Parmi les hommes qui se consacrent aux travaux de la
pens^e et dont les sciences morales et philosophiques sont
le domaine, rien de plus difficile a rencontrer aujourd'hui
qu'une volont6 au sein d'une intelligence, une conviction,
une foi. Ce sont des combinations infinies, des impar-
tialit6s sans limites, de vagues et inconstants assemblages,
c'est-a-dire, sauf la dispute du moment, une indifference
radicale. Ce sont, en les prenant au mieux, de vastes ames
deployes & tous les vents, mais sans ancre quand elles
s'arretent, sans boussole quand elles marchent. Cette
croissance d6mesur<6e de la facult6 comprehensive con-
stitue une v6ritable maladie de la volont6, et va jusqu'&
la depraver ou & Pabolir. Elle aboutit dans le sein meme
de Pintelligence, qui se glace en s'6claircissant, qui s'eflace
et s'6tale, au del& des justes bornes, et n'a plus ainsi de centre
lumineux, de puissance fixe et rayonnante. On veut com-
prendre sans croire, recevoir les id6es ainsi que le ferait un
miroir limipide, sans Stre determine pour cela, je ne dis
pas k des actes, mais meme & des conclusions c'est
une mani&re d'epicur^isme sensuel et raffing de Pintelligence.
On ne s'y livre pas d'abord de propos deiib6r<; on se dit
qu'il faut choisir; mais Page venant, cette vertu du choix,
cette energie de la volonte qui, se confondant intimement
avec la sensibilite, compose 1'amour, et avec Pintelligence
n'est autre chose que la foi, deperit, s'epuise, et un matin
apres la trop longue suite d'essais et de libertinage de
jeunesse, elle a disparu de 1* esprit comme du coeur."*
Saint-Beuve was taken in, and attributed to Lamennais,
not only a full understanding of the mal du siede, but the
qualities and gifts, the integration of intellect, will and
feeling, that were to fulfill the promise of romanticism in its
search for the meaning of tradition. Within three or four
years he was obliged to retract, and the terms in which he
did so show how clearly he had seen the problem and how
deeply he felt the disappointment. Lamennais he admits,
was 'beaucoup plus ecrivain et poete que nous n'avions cru
le voir'. In fact he was not very different from Sainte-
Beuve's bStes noires, Chateaubriand, Balzac, Hugo. c Quelle
dommage', he wrote a few years later on re-reading his article
on Lamartine, c Quelle dommage que le sens du vrai soit si
souvent en defaut chez ces hommes en qui predomine le
talent'. That was the theme of Chateaubriand et son cercle
litteraire in which he so plainly marks his preference for the
truth and sincerity of Senancour. j In Port Royal he let
himself go for the last time on the subject of le mensonge de
la parole litteraire 9 , and the want of will to bring concept
and image together in the truth.
The importance of Kierkegaard's work, so often regarded
in its most negative aspects, in its polemic against rationalism
* Portraits Contemporains: Lamennais.
t As far as I know, Maine de Biran escaped Sainte-Beuve's attention
till much later, when his views had already hardened, though even then
he took Taine to task for his prejudiced account of Maine de Biran's
XXVI JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
and in its impatient dismissal of mysticism (as the antithesis),
lies in its attempt to find the meaning of tradition and to
understand the truth in relation to man as a spiritual unity
of intellect, will and feeling, harmonised or reflected, as he
says, in the faculty instar omnium, the imagination. This
attempt to 'say once again, if possible in a more inward way'
what had been handed down c by the fathers 3 was guided
from the start by a grasp of the irrelevance of religion in the
modern world in no sense inferior to Lamennais' Essai sur
^indifference. His own criticism of his work was that there
was too much of the farivain and the poete in it.
The greatest fault which a thinker can commit, Haecker
was never tired of repeating, was to leave out something,
for the errors of over-simplification result in a confusion far
more vicious because more radical, than that produced by
the mere muddler. At many points Kierkegaard was con-
fused; but he did not leave things out. His faults spring
from a different cause, from his often excessive repudiation
of the over-simplified alternatives that were proposed to
him. His suspicion of "mysticism' led him in his last pam-
phlets to take c honesty' as the final criterion, and almost
justifies his German translator in calling him a rationalist.
Better known is his sustained attack on rationalism (with
special reference to Hegel) and in volume after volume he
treated reason to the rough handling that Pascal so admired
in Montaigne. In The Instant he was 'inadequate'; else-
where very often 'absurd'. It would be difficult to find
these criticisms more forcibly or more justly put than in
Haecker's essays; but this did not prevent him from seeing
in the problem as stated by Kierkegaard, and in the
imaginative attempt to solve it, a world of thought still to
be explored. To Haecker, Kierkegaard's work appeared as
one of the great and original attempts in the history of
Europe to reconcile philosophy and mysticism and to
preserve the rights of both intuition and discursive reason.
"Kierkegaard's great existential thesis of *truth in sub-
jectivity' is one of the vital problems before man and will
remain the source of unrest even in the realms of pure
philosophy. Side by side with the 'philosophy of nature 5
and the 'philosophy of life 9 , Kierkegaard's spiritual and
existential philosophy is the task before the future. Its
essence is the life of the spirit, the energeia of the spirit, a
Zvy, a life which is not an anima mundi> the life of nature,
but a spiritual life, that of the person in a medium antagon-
istic to him, which is to say matter, lifeless in his body,
living in his soul. But the task is not what Kierkegaard
thought it to be himself the victim of a false philosophy
for he regarded the task as the realisation or actualisation of
a mere probability, and an uncertainty, and to the natural
understanding, even an absurdity; whereas it is an objective
truth, firmly established according to the classical definition
of truth as 'adequatio rei et intellect ', a certainty, however
difficult and painful its acquisition and retention".
What Haecker means by 'spiritual man' may be seen
from the following quotation:
"Spiritual man is indeed something other than the
intellectual man, though naturally presupposing him: he
has a whole dimension more, he is the complete man accord-
ing to the idea of God, a perfect unity, an incomparable
totality, desired by God and longed for by man as anima
naturaliter Christiana. Spiritual man is the antagonist of
gnosticism and of the idealism of German philosophy, after
all only a sort of watered down gnosticism. Only the
spiritual man understands the holiness of the body. An
embrace can never be holy to the gnostic. And those who
do not want to insult the creator should be careful not to
insult his creation. The Christian is the enemy of the
world, of the 'world 5 in inverted commas. And that is not
the 'pure' creation of God, but the product of fallen man
and fallen angels. The world in this sense, the 'world' in
inverted commas, and the man who belongs to it, one might
even say c man' in inverted commas, that ambiguous fudge
of good and evil, wanting in all decision, not saying 'no' to
anything, is consequently dangerous ; metaphysically speak-
XXVHI JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
ing this 'world' and this 'man' have evil in them as nihilism.
The 'man 3 corresponding to the 'world', sometimes imper-
tinently called natural man, as though he were the product
of uncorrupted nature, which exists only in the 'Immaculate',,
this 'man', outside Christianity, necessarily has in his art
a certain nihilism of the feelings. Even love sings and
murmurs a melodious Nothing, like Tristan', he has a
devastating, nihilistic philosophy once away from the
privileged philosophy of being as it is found in Plato
and Aristotle; he has a nihilistic politics, an apostate
politics, because his will is nihilistic and does not will the
true end, which is God alone. And it is quite in order
and perfectly normal that the three faculties proper to
man should have their part in the dangerous, almost
mortal sickness of being in the 'world 3 , this 'world' in
The 'almost mortal sickness 5 an echo of Kierkegaard's
Sickness unto Death is the disintegration of the 'individual',
the despair upon which Kierkegaard focussed so much of
his attention because he saw in it the opposite of 'faith' as
the moment in which man 'begins to exist': when all
his faculties are integrated. This despair and nihilism
Kierkegaard regarded as the evasion of the problem of
existence, a flight into a world of fantasy and a lack of
imagination, in which one or other of the faculties asserts
its autonomy at the expense of man's spiritual unity:
and it was against 'philosophy' in this sense, whether as
rationalism, voluntarism or irrationalism that Kierkegaard
The problem of this spiritual unity and its relation to
truth is the subject of many of the entries in the Journal^
some of which have been included although they were
incorporated in Haecker's last, and still unpublished book:
Metaphysik des Gefuhls, a metaphysic of feeling. The first
outline of the question, so important to a full understanding
of Haecker's work, occurs in Schopfer und SchSpfung (his
meditations: Creator and Created) in a section entitled
Analogia Trinitatis. A passage in that brief excursus gives
the aim of his last essay :
"Philosophy belongs by origin to the intellect; and its
proper sphere is the sphere of the intellect. Whatever else
it may master, it has first to conquer with the help, so to
speak, of foreign mercenaries. Its immediate sphere is pure
knowledge, and starting from there, it goes on to the know-
ledge always to the knowledge of that which is to be willed ;
and from there it must go forward, a thing it has hardly
begun to do, to the knowledge always to the knowledge of
that which is felt. But in the third case the difficulties
multiply owing to the new relation of subject to object. 55
It was in this way that Haecker understood the signi-
ficance of Kierkegaard's 'truth in subjectivity' as the aim
of man whose spiritual unity was not a desperate leap into
the absurd, but the attainment and actualisation of object-
ive truth. The problem, he continues, requires a complete
thought: *a complete thought, both abstract and concrete;
the thought that grasps knowledge and insight into the
universal, together with its knowledge of being and also
a thought that grasps the concrete and the particular, in
that it is forever moving between the image that belongs
to the senses, and the notion that is purely intellectual,
dematerialising the notion and spiritualising the image'.
In this emphasis upon complete thought is to be seen,
perhaps, the reflection of Haecker's deep admiration for
Newman. It is also noticeable that in his presentation of
the need for a new understanding of the relation of subject
to object Haecker is concerned with the question that is so
much to the fore in M. Gabriel Marcel's work. Perhaps
Haecker's position can be best indicated from his statement
of principles in the Preface to Was ist der Mensch?
"In the long, unnecessary battle between sensualism and
reason, between the image and the thought, between con-
templation and discursive thought, I am neither a sensualist
nor an intellectualist, but a 'hierarchist'. Starting from the
senses, and never without them, though not with the senses
XXX JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
alone, man reaches thought and belief. Thought is of a
higher 'order' and equally of a higher quality than the
image, for the spirit is of a higher order than the senses ;
and the marvel of the particular creation to which man be-
longs is that, from the beginning, starting from the bottom,
it is both time and space : it begins with matter. But he who
loves the order of hierarchy, the 'hierarch' we might call
him, is only such through love, even in philosophy: he
leaves the faults of sensualism on one side, and is not
ensnared by its weaknesses ; but he does not relinquish the
senses, without which he would not be, for he is not a pure
spirit, like the angels, and never will be! He flees the
impurity of the image, but not the image which he loves
eternally and to which he always lovingly returns from the
realm of immaterial being that he learns to know weakly
in and through the image, although he himself cannot pur-
sue being into those realms. He returns to the image, to
the image of his choice indeed, for he is master of the image,
and pours into it the power of thought and idea, holding it
up and sustaining it; for it is he who crowns the image with
power and gives it its rights in the spiritual sphere' *.
I will conclude this section with two more quotations in
order to illustrate both the traditional basis of Haecker's
thought, and the imaginative freedom which this gave him.
"Fides quaerit intellectum, faith seeks and stirs the intellect
to the utmost endeavours and assists it. The two are not
enemies who can never unite, nor are they two poles for
ever apart in stress and strain, as opposites. All such
notions are phantasms, woven out of centuries of poisonous
heresy, or perhaps just trivial comparisons, words without
thought. In any case, such is the sound and true teaching of
the Christian religion, as it has been handed down to us
in Holy Scripture through Christ and his apostles, and kept
alive by the Church."
"Whatever a man says of himself or of others is said by
his spirit but what is it precisely, what power or faculty
that gives to things their name?"
"Not his feeling and not his will, however much, however
powerfully and often decisively they may enter into it, for
the 'human spirit' is always a unity of the three faculties
but his intellect, whose guiding thread and goal is truth.
The intellect is the light of the spirit to such crude images
are we compelled, even though we may spiritualise them,
which is the secret of the mystics! for it is not given to
us to express in positive terms the real essence of the spirit,
and we do so in the abstract only by negation: it is not
material, immaterial; and then again we express it in the
concrete through images, upon which there always lies
something of the materiality of the sensual life of body and
soul, images which in their selectiveness and graduated
power are always straining, asymptotically, to capture the
'immaterial*; images such as spiritus, pneuma, breath, light,
sound. These images and others, are made more intellectual
through the spiritual life of man in that they enter into the
sphere of comparison and analogy as symbols of the Divine
Being. But the furthest limit of the material is reached not
in dead abstractions, but vitally through the concrete. The
essence of man's cognisant spirit is not immediate spiritual
vision, intellectual insight, but thought, which, however, has
this very intellectual insight or intuition as its starting point
and as its aim and end, spiritual sight and vision. And that
is why I said that the intellect is the light of the human
spirit, in so far as it is knowledge. The essential character of
the human spirit is therefore better defined, as far as its
being is concerned, as ratio. Man is a rational animal".
The distinctive feature of Haecker's contemplative cast
of mind is his sense of the hierarchy of being. No dualistic
philosophy, he asserts, is so false as a monistic system. But
what he calls the 'hierarchic 5 view is neither monistic nor
dualistic but trinitarian. And although the Analogia
Trinitatis first appears where Haecker considers the spiritual
unity of man's three facilities, man created in the image of
the Trinity, he regarded it in its bearing upon the analogia
entis, not only as an image with which to further our know-
XXXH JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
ledge of man, but as an extension and fulfilment of our
analogical knowledge of being.
Ad se ipsum. Never forget that you could only
write Satires and Polemics (1914-1920) because
you had promised break off when everything
seemed at its best, so to speak, when that path
pleased you most. You had to go a different
way, that pleased you less. And now the same
thing is happening again: You have got to go
a new way, one that pleases you even less.
The Journal is the new form and the new path forced upon
Haecker by circumstances, reluctantly if freely chosen, his
last testimony to the truth and a confession of faith that is
a spontaneous rejoinder to a particular moment in history.
Its uniqueness lies in the fulness of its confrontation of faith
and history and in Haecker's gift of fusing what is so often
separated. The Journal is the most direct expression of the
conception of truth which is the subject of his whole work,
The same approfondissement had taken place in both
Kierkegaard and P^guy, but their intuitions, their vision,
remained unfulfilled in a certain measure. This is quite
specially true of Kierkegaard whose last polemics off even
tend to obscure his prophetic insight. Yet from the date
of his conversion, in 1848, he was essentially concerned with
only one idea, 'the witness to the truth 9 whom whether we
call him martyr, saint or confessor he regarded as the
criterion of existence, since in him alone is to be found the
actualisation of 'contemporaneity with Christ*. The notion
of 'contemporaneity' occurs at the very beginning of
Kierkegaard's work as the criterion of the 'stages* or spheres
of existence (aesthetic, ethical, religious) and again as the
c either-or } , the 'choice' between living 'contemporaneously
with oneself or escaping into past or future and away in
fact from the engagement which brings time and eternity
This conception receives a wider though less deeply
anchored and defined form in Peguy's principle: Tinsertion
de Peternel dans le temporeP with its more direct and
conscious bearing on the meaning of history and tradition.
He was in fact among the first to relate the notion of con-
temporaneity, so intimately bound up with his life of
prayer, to the need of harmonising what he called the
Jewish and the Greek 'disciplines'. The real importance
of Haecker's work seems to me to lie in accurately per-
ceiving the relation of these two aspects of 'contempor-
aneity 3 though he had not, as far as I know, read Peguy.
(It is true that he greatly admired Bloy, whose view of
history is substantially the same).
The reconciliation of Greek and Jewish thought and the
resulting emphasis upon history becomes in Haecker's
hands the manner in which religion becomes relevant, is
given its context and its situation in contemporary history.
In that sense it would be true to say that the central theme
of the Journal is the relation of Christianity and culture, or
more accurately, a momentous instance of their divorce
the apostasy of Germany. The aim of the rest of this
Introduction is to indicate briefly and in Haecker's words
wherever this can be done, the constituent elements of the
point of view from which this theme is treated.
Kierkegaard, Pguy and Haecker are not in the ordinary
sense 'difficult' writers; as a general rule it is Tesprit de
XXXIV JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
geometric' which provides the difficult explanations. Their
works are, however, difficult to break into, their approach
is unfamiliar; for T esprit de finesse' is essentially inaccessible
because it tends at all times to reflect the writer's whole
vision or his sense of the c whole', the summa* Their works
are therefore like the islands of an archipelago, each personal,
distinct and complete, without links with the other, so that
there is no 'progressing' from one to the other (from
Coleridge to Kierkegaard) and yet forming a continuous
train of thought, a pattern in history. The simplest way of
breaking down their isolation is to concede this pattern;
and, above all, not to impose upon them the pattern of
history which it was one of their principle concerns to break
Once again, this can best be done by stressing the con-
tinuity between the reaction against the Age of Reason and
the existentialist volte face. The two chief points at which the
similarity stands out plainly are first, the emergence of a
preoccupation with questions explicitly or implicitly theo-
logical, and secondly, a marked indifference, or even
hostility, to 'historicism'. It is because the problems of man's
'human condition' are theological problems, that existent-
ialism is represented by two camps, the one atheistic, the
other Christian; and as though to confirm the truth of this
view, Marxism sees in existentialism the one vigorous
and possibly dangerous antagonist to its consistent anti-
theological conception of man and its 'scientific history'.
The sudden collapse of the romantic reaction into
'historicism' has always been something of a mystery. 'The
descent from these cloudy summits of the romantic Sinai',
Mr. Christopher Dawson writes, 'to the worship of the
Secular State, that Golden Calf in the desert of materialism,
is one of the strangest events in the history of European
thought, and the philosophy of Hegel remains as a mighty
monument and symbol to this spiritual journey into the
wilderness'. And in fact the incontinent flight of the
romantics, the dismal failure of their promise, is only to be
accounted for if we adopt Sainte-Beuve's analysis of the
mal du siecle and allow that the predominance of 'talent*
over the sens du vrai must ultimately be traced to a lack of
will. For what in retrospect appears as a descent from
vagueness to the clear and cogent arguments of the schools
of history, was a retreat from the real problems, the theo-
logical preoccupations of a Coleridge and a Kierkegaard.
There followed instead c the philosophy of history' still in
inverted commas to Sainte-Beuve that led to the worship
of the Secular State, first of all identified by Hegel as the
Prussian State, and subsequently by the interpreters of
Marx as the USSR; but it always led to the State as the
central problem, considered from the standpoint of 'pro-
gress' or 'reaction' and, as Burckhardt maintained, the
European crisis is a crisis in the idea of the State. This
return to antithetical forms of thought and to the battle of
progress and reaction is the paradox of the romantic
movement, a 'strange event 5 , for in the manner of its return
to history romanticism ultimately lost the meaning of
History became an abstraction, and events were appre-
hended in the laws and processes of culture, economics and
The best known account of this strange event is Acton's,
and it is specially instructive because he himself was
involved. In The German Schools of History Acton summarises
in masterly fashion the rise of 'the most arduous of sciences'
(the phrase is Fustel's). 'History' he goes on, 'was subor-
dinate to other things, to divinity, philosophy and law; and
the story worth telling would be the process by which the
servant of many masters became the master over them, and
having become a law to itself, imposed it upon others'.
XXXVI JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
That is an excellent definition of the 'history* against which
Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Peguy directed their polemics
and Jacob Burckhardt his irony. It looks at first as though
Acton had remembered everything except himself; but in
his article on Dollinger' s Historical Work he recounts the more
personal side of the strange event, and it was certainly
'Ernst von Lasaulx, a man of rich and noble intellect, was
lecturing next door (to Dollinger) on the philosophy and
religion of Greece, and everybody heard about his indistinct
mixture of dates and authorities, and the spell which his
unchastened idealism cast over his students. Lasaulx, who
brilliantly carried on the tradition of Greuzer, who was
son-in-law to Baader and nephew to Gorres, wrote a volume
on the fall of Hellenism which he brought in manuscript
and read to Dollinger at a sitting. The effect on the dis-
senting mind of the hearer was a warning; and there is
reason to date from those two hours in 1853 a more severe
use of materials, a stricter notion of the influence which the
end of an enquiry may lawfully "exert on the pursuit of it'.
Acton left Munich sometime in 1853; but the description
certainly reads like a confession, and if that is so, one might
date from those two hours, the birth of the later Acton, the
friend of Gladstone who found Newman so difficult to
understand. Lasaulx might indeed have provided the link,
and it is a letter to Newman that recalls how close was
the understanding between master and pupil. 'My old
master Lasaulx', he wrote to Newman in the summer of
1861, 'one of the greatest German students, died the other
day after expressing the wish that his library should not be
sold by auction, but offered first of all to me, and I have
bought it, both for his sake and for the excellent books,
It will greatly add to the confusion and value of my library,
which I continue to hope will one day tempt you to Alden-
* I owe this unpublished letter to the kindness of Mr, Douglas
There can be little doubt that the change which gradually
came over Acton, and the difficulties of the later years, the
tension between the scientific historian and the deeply
religious mind, can be traced back to, or at least understood
in the light of, his failure to carry on the original romantic
tradition that he had found so inspiring in Lasaulx, who not
only inherited it from Baader and Gorres, but was one of
its last representatives; instead, Acton capitulated before
Dollinger's accurate dates and carefully checked sources.
By a coincidence, which in this context is illuminating,
it happened that Lasaulx, who lost a pupil in Acton, gained
the one admirer who was not influenced by the rise of
'scientific history 5 , Jacob Burckhardt. Though not men-
tioned in The German Schools of History, Lasaulx is referred to
above twenty times in the Introduction to Burckhardt's
Reflections on History, where there are hardly any other
references quoted at all. Burckhardt, in fact, found in
Lasaulx 5 s Essay on the Philosophy of History no 'authority 5 , but
a view of history strikingly similar to his own, which
recognised the frontiers of history and the rights of religion
and natural theology. For it was because the view of
history accepted by Acton threatened the continuity of
Europe the tradition which made room for an organic
relation between religion and culture that Burckhardt and
Nietzsche, as well as Kierkegaard and Peguy, rejected it.
Nietzsche's second Unzeitgemasse Betrachtung, *Vom Nut&n
and Nachtheil der Historie jilr das Leben\ he called elsewhere
'We Historians. A history of the sickness of the modern
soul 5 Nietzsche's 'sickness unto death 5 , in fact. It was
written in the last months of 1873 in Bale where Nietzsche
had come under the spell of Burckhardt. Perhaps 'spell 5 is
not altogether the right expression, for unlike Wagner,
Burckhardt was not inclined for the role of Cher Maitre.
It was, however, almost the only case in which Nietzsche's
admiration did not end in ressentiment. His debt to Burck-
hardt is certainly very difficult to estimate, but it seems
fairly safe to say that where 'scientific history 5 is concerned,
XXXVUI JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
he learnt a good deal from Burckhardt, though without
grasping Burckhardt's point of view. 'This very extra-
ordinary man' , he wrote, 'does not indeed falsify the truth,
but certainly tends to conceal it'. It is tempting to suppose
that Nietzsche never grasped the implications of the refer-
ences to Lasaulx without which, no doubt, Burckhardt
might be said to conceal the whole truth as he saw it. No
doubt Nietzche's mind was already too far formed for him to
understand a point of view that allowed for the reconcili-
ation of Greek and Jewish thought and the meeting of
Christianity and culture. It will be the aim of the last
section to consider very briefly how Burckhardt and Haecker
understood the question that Nietzsche answered with the
opposition between Dionysius and Christ.
The Christian and History ', published in 1935, though not,
I believe, so much read as Haecker's other essays, is in some
respects the most important, forming as it were the coping
stone of his work. e An inward reflection upon the essence
of history' he wrote in the introduction, Vas no part
of Christian Mediaeval Philosophy, and it is therefore all
the more important a task at the present time and that is
the apology for this short book'. Its importance for the
Journal needs no emphasis, and I will begin with some
.quotations which, I hope, will indicate Haecker's point
"Eternity and time can only come together truly,
that is to say in a genuine fashion, corresponding to their
nature, and can only be fused in the mind of man, in Dogma.
This fusion, this e meeting' can never be achieved by
philosophy and metaphysics alone. In them there is a gulf
between the eternal and the temporal, and wherever
the restraint and reserve before this mystery (which is the
mark of the mind's aristocratic origin) is relaxed and
abandoned in favour of some democratic or demagogic
opinion, there follows the most murderous nonsense, the
fruit of unenlightened feelings with their shameless lack of
rhyme or reason The fact that such a thing as history
exists is a great mystery to metaphysics, greater even than
'being' which illustrates how far natural metaphysics is
from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who, to the
man of this aeon, is in the first instance a God of history
and of faith, for faith belongs to history. The creature
always desires timelessness, but never achieves it by flying
time in a metaphysical way, in a Hegelian way, but only
through the painful assimilation of time the occasion for
which is not wanting nowadays. That was the central
personal experience of Kierkegaard an experience, more-
over, common to all believers such is the fundamental
significance of the category 'existence' which Kierkegaard
threw into the arena of philosophy".
"Can one base one's eternal happiness on an historical
fact? Lessing's question, taken up with such passion by
Kierkegaard, and answered with the despair of the absolute
paradox, was the ultimate historical formulation of the
antagonism between metaphysics and history, between
Greek and Jewish thought, which are only harmonised in
exceptional circumstances, for as a rule the correct relation-
ship is upset at the cost of one or other, so that it even seems
as though the one excluded the other and that has its
The 'fatal consequences', as Haecker notes, follow, not
from a failure to reconcile Greek and Jewish thought (which
is rarely achieved), but from the lack of restraint and
reserve in face of the ultimate mystery of existence, in this
context the fusion of eternity and time which is to say
dogma. Once this restraint and reserve are relaxed, some
XL JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
'democratic' form of the 'inadequate 5 is allowed to explain
everything, or some 'demagogic 5 form of the 'absurd 5 denies
all meaning to history. It was the romantic recognition of
the role of the imagination (however unclear and cloudy
at first) which perceived the mystery and with it the possi-
bility of the reconciliation of Christianity and culture; and
it was only when the romantic lack of restraint opened the
way for the predominance of talent over the sens du vrai that
this belief and the will to bring about the fusion, collapsed.
It was towards this conclusion that Peguy's intuition was
leading him when he discovered the relationship between
the Greek and Jewish 'disciplines' and the principle of
T insertion de Teternel dans le temporeP.
There are three conditions, Haecker maintains in Christen-
tum und Kultur, in the absence of which the organic relation
of Christianity and culture is not possible. First, he says,
there must exist a relatively sound and healthy intellectual
tradition; second, this must be accompanied by the will to
conceive; and third, there must be present, in those who
believe, a real strength, the power, that is (and I should say
the imaginative power) to communicate their beliefs. These
conditions are precisely those which Sainte-Beuve lays down
in the passage quoted at the beginning of the introduction.
But all these conditions are subject to the central point,
restraint and reserve of mind, which might perhaps be
translated as integrity.
'One thing', Haecker writes in the Journal, 'one thing
has come to full maturity in me, the understanding that I
do not understand God, the sense of the mjsterium. That is
what prevents me misunderstanding the things of this
world'. It is Haecker's reserve his 'silence' that makes
him speak of not misunderstanding the things of this world;
and that double negative establishes the frontier between
the mystagogue, who argues directly to a positive knowledge
of things, and Haecker's different claim. The distinction
is by no means new, for it is at the very core of tradition
itself. In his Reflections, Burckhardt marks the same difference
when he distinguishes between true and false scepticism.
The ground common to both Haecker and Burckhardt lies
in the parallel so often used by Kierkegaard between
Socratic ignorance and faith, and in his strict identification
of (false) scepticism and superstition. That is the first
step in grasping the rational basis which Haecker and
Burckhardt regarded as the meeting point of Christianity
and humanism. The ultimate mystery of existence is the
safeguard of truth and knowledge, the only safeguard
against the inadequate attempts to explain everything, and
the absurd denial of meaning. *
"The theologian is alone in a position to be certain, from
the beginning, that the absolute inconceivability of God
must, in a sense, be expressed in the relative inconceivability
of the world".
Theology, thus understood, is the safeguard of the Summa,
of the totality of knowledge, and of the independence of its
various fields, for otherwise the various sciences all tend to
usurp the primacy and, going beyond their charter, try
to explain the various 'orders' from within their own
'order'. That is the meaning of Peguy's insistence upon the
'humility' of his 'intuitive method' and his criticism of the
'gigantic conceit' of Taine and Renan who seriously enter-
tained the notion that our knowledge was almost complete
'Mais on voit le bout', Renan said.*}"
This does not of course mean that theology is the master
of history in the sense in which Acton supposed; but the
misinterpretation is so ingrained that it is important to
reaffirm Haecker's standpoint. The Journal is, I think,
clear in its rejection of this stout pretension, but I will
* The point of view in question is the subject of Sermon XIII in
Newman's University Sermons.
f Introduction to Uavenir de la Science.
XLII JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
quote some of the many entries in which this rejection is
"There is a tendency, and God does not seem to be averse
to it, to explain the things of this world almost 'totally' and
entirely and purely from the immanent laws of nature, from
the causality of the causae secundae; and what is more to do
so on the whole field of created being, from physics and
chemistry to politics and metaphysics. There is nothing
incomplete about it. And in a sense that is a good thing.
And then, moreover, it surely makes natural theology a
matter of quite tremendous importance?' 5
In the past, and even in the present, theology has fallen
into the error which Acton thought endemic :
"Even in the West, Christian theology has shown a certain
cowardice, and a miserable want of understanding of the
munificence with which God has endowed created and
creative nature and the world with power and energy of its
own; and the testimony of history to the fight of the Church
against the natural sciences and its representatives and their
great discoveries is one that shames us. It arose from a great
fear that the natural laws might lead to a proof of the non-
existence of God. That is its only, all-too-human excuse".
Ultimately, the weakness comes from attempting to meet
rationalism on its own false ground :
"At times the Zeitgeist is overwhelmingly powerful.
Rationalism for example, was so powerful that it even
compelled men who were in essence antirationalists to
think and speak rationalistically, at any rate up to the point
beyond which it was no longer possible or permissible;
for example Pascal and St. John of the Cross, whose
mysticism, in so far as he renders an account of it and
a justification of it, is the end of rationalism, exhausts it".
The collapse of theology, the failure of the romantic
movement (and Hegel began as, and to some extent
remained, a theologian), though not endangering scientific
investigation immediately, led to the loss of the summa, and
nowhere is this more evident than in history. When Mohler,
the great Munich theologian died, and was succeeded by
Dollinger the summa which had been before the minds of
men like Coleridge and Kierkegaard was in the process of
being sacrificed, unconsciously no doubt, to 'universal
history'. And though Ranke's history became universal
in some measure, it was primarily a quantitative 'Uni-
versality'. What was being lost was the unity of history,
and within a short time the universality of outlook, deprived
of the controlling force of unity, decayed into relativism,
and history was deprived of meaning.
It is here that the importance of Burckhardt can hardly be
exaggerated. Burckhardt composed no universal history,
though his Reflections have been included under that heading.
But in everything he wrote, and particularly in his Greek
Culture, he is concerned with the unity of history framed, as
it were, between the alpha and the omega, between the
origins and the end. 'The philosophers' he says, 'encum-
bered with speculations on origins, ought by rights to speak
of the future. We can dispense with theories of origins, and
no one can expect from us a theory of the end'. Burckhardt
had, in his way, understood as clearly as Haecker the role
of theology; the Jewish conception of history is dom-
inated by origins and end, creation and eschatology;
Burckhardt's study of Greek culture did not lead him to
usurp that function. His 'great theme of contemplation' is
easily defined: 'We, however (unlike the philosopher of
history, whom he dismisses as a centaur) shall start out from
the one point accessible to us, the one eternal centre of all
things man, suffering, striving, doing, as he is, was, and
ever shall be. Hence our study will, in a certain sense, be
pathological in kind'. His study is in fact concerned with
man's feelings and his imagination.
Burckhardt's view of the immediate future was as dark
as Haecker's, but their point of view cannot usefully be
studied within the framework of optimism and pessimism,
progress and reaction. The spirit, Haecker concludes,
bloweth where it listeth, and to Burckhardt man's creative
XLIV JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
faculty the imagination was essentially free; both be-
lieved in man's capacity, to build himself a new house 5 *
To Haecker, the harmony of faith and reason however
difficult to attain and retain was the basis of his belief in
the possibility of an organic relation between religion and
culture which, to be consistent, rationalism and irrationalism
would have to deny. This harmony is the achievement of
'spiritual man' in whom all the faculties, intellect, will and
feeling are integrated. Only this integrity allows of no
premature reconciliations and Haecker was harsh in his
dismissal of the 'Europe and the Faith' theme c an object
lesson in how not to bring Christianity and culture together',
untrue in fact as well as in theory.
Burckhardt's Reflections are, at this point, at one with
Haecker' s, and he saw in the Middle Ages a period when
religion 'occupied all man's highest faculties, particularly
the imagination' so that it is not longer possible, he held,
to say whether religion influenced culture or culture religion.
But at the Reformation 'religion lost touch with a powerful
faculty in man, the imagination' and was forced to etherealise
itself (the word is Burckhardt's). Whenever that happens,
and he notes in particular the disintegration which followed
upon the Carolingian renaissance, religion becomes 'ration-
alism for the few and magic for the many'.
Perhaps Haecker's view of the relation of Christianity
and culture in Europe is best expressed in the entry in which
he says that a conscious apostasy from Christianity is only
possible after a prior return to barbarism* The Journal is a
record of his meditations on that event. P^guy's religious
'approfondissement' occurred to the accompaniment of his
reflections on the relation of Socialism to Catholicism in
the Third Republic* ; Haecker's faith was tempered during
his last years as he listened to the 'extinct' voices of the
Third Reich. And his sense of the harmony of faith and
reason was so deep and strong that, as he felt himself plunged
into a new dark ages, he described his own state as being
'the dark night of faith', for his faith had become wholly
The Journal is Haecker's most personal work, though not
perhaps his most representative. Haecker's importance is a
different matter; and in conclusion I will note briefly
wherein, as it seems to me, it lies.
It is a fact, curious at first sight, that for a long time past
the relevance of Christianity in the modern world has almost
invariably been brought home by those writers who are
furthest from the traditional defence, who overlook or
disregard or even deny the harmony of faith and reason.
Tradition, in that sense, is itself irrelevant. Once again,
Kierkegaard is the classic example. It even appears as
though, in modern times, men desired an irrational religion,
or were content to despair of the possibility of the harmony
of faith and reason.
c Dieu est mort, mais Fhomme n'est pas pour autant
devenu athee. Ce silence du transcendant, joint a la perm-
anence du besoin religieu chez l'homme moderne, voila la
grand affaire aujourd'hui, comme hier. C'est le probleme
qui tourmente Nietzsche, Heidegger, Jaspers.' f
Does it even torment M. Sartre? What this seems to
mean is that our rational, notional apprehension of God
is dead and fruitless, and that the scientific demonstrations
of natural theology are 'irrelevant' because they do not
elicit from 'transcendence' anything but silence. That is
certainly inevitable, for an impersonal question cannot
* Le mouvement de dfrtpublicanisation de la France est profondement
le meme mouvement que le mouvement de sa dechristianisation C'est
ensemble un meme, un seul mouvement profond de ddmistification.
f Sartre Situations I. pp. 153.
XLVI JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
elicit a personal 'answer'. Haecker notes in the Journal
the difference between a philosophy whose starting point
is doubt and one whose starting point is wonder, and
that difference might be stated epigramatically in the form
that doubt being impersonal receives no answer.*
It is writers like Pascal and Kierkegaard, like Bloy or
Peguy, who convey to the modern world the relevance of
religion because their arguments and apologies, though
the opposite, at times, of traditional, are led by a strong
gust of feeling: the paradox, the 'choice 5 , the 'leap' concern
the whole man and involve all his faculties: intellect, will
and feeling, in a word what Kierkegaard calls 'spiritual
man'. They are primarily concerned with 'the communica-
tion of the truth' and not solely with its demonstration,
and consequently with the problem of style in its widest
sense, with the image as well as with the concept.
Haecker's importance is to have treated this 'grande
affaire' methodically from a variety of angles, always from
the point of view and upon the principles of the philosophia
perennis. I say methodically to avoid saying systematically,
and yet to emphasise the fact that while he by no means
rules out the paradox, he gives it its proper place within
the truth. The 'grande affaire 3 is the reconciliation of
philosophy and mysticism which, regarded as rationalism
and irrationalism are, of course, irreconcilable; and it is
perhaps the characteristic of Haecker's work that it con-
sistently refuses to be drawn into the whirl-pools created
by these alternatives: 'Apart from the "faith" the only
choice is between "the inadequate" and "the absurd" *.
L Joy untouched by thankfulness is always suspect.
2. Rejoinder: The most powerful means of forwarding
the events of the world seems to be stupidity, the stupidity
of the Fiihrer, of the Leader, and the stupidity of the led.
3. The extinction of thought is quite horrifying. Someone
remarks that man is changeable, but that the German is
eternal. And he is quite incapable of drawing the conclusion
that in that case Germans are certainly not men.
4. It takes a certain vulgarity of mind, an intellectual
coarseness, that is of course moral as well, to believe that
the means do not matter, that the e how' makes no difference,
and once that vulgarity loses its sense of shame, people
openly declare their belief.
Tugend und laster
Scheidet der Knecht
Alles ist Recht*
In fact it is the c how j which decides the value of a man or
of a policy. The revolution brought about by Christianity
is in the 'how'.
5. November. The stone of offence, in natural meta-
physics, is the mystery. And the danger is either not to see
*Between virtue and vice
The serf distinguishes
Everything is right.
2 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
it or to wish to explain it, and thus disturb the hierarchical
6. Even the profoundest truth looks flat beside the abyss of
revelation. In the last analysis it misunderstands the nature
of the understanding.
7. I really have to like an author before I can take up
his faults in any detail: all that he might have done
better, and so on. In most cases I leave them entirely
8. I have been horrified latterly at the capacity of the
human voice, quite apart from what it says, simply in itself,
to express the spiritual extinction of a whole people ; and
not merely individually, but to betray, to express and
proclaim it typically, representatively. The voice of the
9. 18th November. A loss in time and for time is a loss
one gets over. 'Too late', in this context, comes under the
rubric 'humour'. It is quite a different matter when one
acts unlovingly towards someone. If that can not be made
good in time, then it lies as heavily on one's heart after
twenty years as it does after two; for love is a res aeterna,
and nowhere, if I may say so, is the need for eternity so
compelling and so insistent, lest we render existence mean-
ingless. At this point, even the rights and the power of
humour are abrogated; and to maintain them obstinately
is either a mere pretence, or a sign, of depravity.
10. Hypocrisy and shamelessness are the two poles of
depravity between which men move. But although Christ's
anger over the shamelessness of the money-lenders in
the temple was so great that he gave it outward expression,
perhaps his anger over the hypocrisy of the Pharisees was
11. It is probably true that the longest stretches of history
are marked with the sign of mediocrity; but then again,
mediocrity has few heroes and few geniuses. In modern
times, one of the heroes of the half-educated, at least as far
as the German nation is concerned, was Houston Stewart
Chamberlain. He concocted a soup that wrecked the brains
of a whole generation of constitutionally enfeebled minds.
And with what results in every day life! Good God!
12. It is only natural that Physiognomy should achieve
considerable results in the natural order, and in the hands
of a person of gifts and experience should yield a considerable
accuracy of judgment. But once a man is out of the ordinary,
and is exposed to demoniacal powers, or even becomes their
tool, Physiognomy misfires not of course in principle, and
in respect of the natural 'being' of the man in question, by
no means. But it goes grotesquely wrong with regard to his
influence or the role that he may play.
13. A certain longing to be forgotten and hidden is the
mark of the contemplative; he alone might take as his
maxim, Ad BL&T. The natural impulse of the man of
action is towards fame and reputation and 'publicity 9 .
14. The moment when an hour is worth a million years
or is as worthless, because they are not eternity! For the
spirit desires eternity. That is its home. And until it has
realised that, it has not really come to itself.
15. The profusion of nature is surely a want, or the sign
of a want, or a very inadequate remedy for a deficiency.
Thousands of blossoms yield a few fruits, millions of men
hardly one genius.
16. 'Will and Truth': what a theme it is! or rather:
Truth and Will'. It is curious how the will asserts itself
against the hierarchical order! Just as though in fact,
4 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
'by nature 3 , the will came first: How finicky, doctrinaire,
and scrupulous to say: Truth and Will'. Only listen:
'Will and Truth 5 , how final and masterly it sounds: The
World as Will and Concept. (Schopenhauer).
17. Rejoinder: If God is all-powerful then it is an unfathom-
able mystery that a just cause should be defeated. And if
that fact is evaded in a sermon on the subject, it does more
harm than good. Rationalism is the great enemy of belief,
and thus the great falsifier of being.
18. Absolute and continuous satisfaction in a man would
be the image of the nothing out of which he is created;
an absolute and continuous dissatisfaction, an image of the
hell he has chosen.
19. The ends and objects which men set themselves remain,
by and large, the same. Revolutions are about the means.
God's revelation is a revolution concerning the means which
man is to use in order to achieve salvation. Aristocracies
are always constituted by the 'how' of life, that is by the
means which are, and which are not allowed, by what is
and what is not e done'.
20. When he prays to Christ, it is the privilege of the
Christian to be able to pray to the true God by name. That
is the 'sign' for today. When anyone nowadays says God,
he may of course simply mean destiny, or some awful cari-
cature of 'providence'. But if a man prays to Christ, then
he necessarily prays to the Father, who is God, like Christ,
and to the Holy Spirit who is God, like the Father and
the Son. He cannot do otherwise. Nothing, nowadays, so
defines and separates men according to the spirit, as the
21. The mystical and symbolical interpretation of Scripture
is only possible by virtue of the substantial similarity of all
being, by virtue of the formal principle of analogy. Allegory
too, which is as a rule a curious mixture of infantilism and
rationalism is only possible on that basis.
22. Nominalists, who say it is ultimately a matter of in-
difference what one calls the divine, are dangerous people.
In Revelation, God gives his name : I am who am. Who else
shares this name? Can anyone else claim it? Is it the dis-
covery of man? Could a man discover it? And could any
man have foreseen that this name was to be illuminated
in the Trinity: Father, Son and Spirit? Really, the nomin-
alists are ridiculous!
23. It would be terrible if God were not the God of the
24. Rejoinder: You Christians are so proud that your God
is the God of all men. But on looking closely one is more
likely to come to the conclusion that he is the God of few,
and in a terrifying way: of few! The God of the most
rare 'exception', the God of the chosen, of the elect. If God
wishes a man to search for him, and to find him, he does
not give the key of that man's heart and thought to any-
one, not even least of all, to anyone who loves the man, or
is loved by him. Then a man really has to search in all
seriousness, for not to be understood is to be unhappy. But
God permits himself to be found, and the certainty that
one will be understood by God and indeed of being under-
stood by him, is a flicker of the happiness to come.
25. Problema: In the darkness there was a light that
became night. He woke up, his eyes and his cheeks wet with
tears. He could not remember the dream, though he knew
that he had dreamed. And yet from that night on, his life
was different. He had received a light, which let him see a
whole new dimension of being. But the source of this light
is in complete darkness.
6 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
26. 26th November. The simplest words are often the
most moving :
Ich hab einen falschen Weg gemacht,
Ich kenn mich nicht mehr aus
Ach, immer dunkler wird die Nacht,
Ich find nicht mehr nach Haus. *
The child's complaint in the fairy story is that of the soul
lost in life. The lines came to my mind at my first reading
of 'The Ascent of Mount CarmeP by John of the Cross;
I was so astonished at the moving simplicity of the poem
which, at first sight, gives one no inkling of the depths of
the interpretation which is to follow.
27. The apotheosis of physical strength and health leads,
first of all, inevitably to contempt of old age, and then,
to contempt of wisdom. Such a thing has never jet happened
in European culture, either before or after Christ. Nor in
the East for that matter! It means devastation to the souls
of men; that, God will not permit; we may rest assured of
that, assured by our faith, for it is the 'Fathers' of the
Church who suffered for us and taught us.
28. 3rd December. The great pride of the children of this
world is not to be children any more; and for this reason
alone they despise the Christian, who is always, necessarily,
something of a child. And how could it be otherwise? When
one of God's names, revealed by him, is 'father'.
29. O. thinks that the result of all that is now happening
will be to show how irrational all being is, and how severed
from our thought. But that is too vague. I think that the
Germans will perhaps learn two things, two things which
*I have taken a wrong road,
I no longer know my way,
Oh, the night grows even darker,
I'll no longer find my way home.
are only superficially contradictory: first, that the dis-
regard of 'reason 5 , provided it rests upon a foundation of
wisdom and experience, never goes unpunished, and that
consequently the world is not in this sense irrational at all;
secondly, that the purely materialistic rationalism which
rules in Germany today leads to the most gross errors even
in the field of elementary psychology, and fails completely
where the spiritual life is concerned. Bismarck was not a
great statesman, any more than Napoleon, yet he recognised
'imponderabilia', which though far from being 'the in-
visible' are nevertheless on the borderland. But nowadays!
30. It is safe to assume that the Germans will do everything,
both consciously and unconsciously, in order to forget as
quickly as possible all that is now said, written and done.
The memory of a guilt weighs heavy, it 'depresses*. If he
can, man throws it off. But in the success of the operation
God, too, has a word to say.
31. 4th December. There can be no question for the
Christian but that the significance of outward events varies
in the most terrifying degree. By significance is here meant
the relation, closer or more distant, of the 'history* of the
world to the 'history' of the Kingdom of God. A Christian
cannot be of Ranke's opinion, that every age is equally near
to God. Or could he, then, deny that Rome under Augustus,
Judaea under Herod and Pilate stood in a more decisive
relation to the history of salvation than, say, Europe under
Napoleon not to speak of lesser things? The proximity or
distance in the relationship does not depend upon the
consciousness of men, although it is not to be denied that it
could not be entirely excluded from the consciousness of the
men of that time. That events now stand in close relation
to the history of salvation, is something upon which many
will agree with me. And from this it follows, moreover,
that the outward events in the life of the individual come
under the category of 'decision.'
8 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
32. Except for that which is, there is nothing. That is a
metaphysical proposition which no one can deny. And if
anyone, nevertheless, does so, there is no sense in talking
with him. The puff which blows out a candle has more
significance than his flatus vocis. But then begins the labour
of interpretation, then the never resting world of dialogue
begins, the dull, distorting mirror of the world of being.
Mundum tradidit disputationi eorum. (Eccl. 3, 11).
33. The use, as synonyms, of 'to be mistaken 9 and 'to err'
completed by the pleonasm 'to go astray', is one of the many
examples of the impoverishment of language which results
from muddled speech. Lack of imagination leads to a
weakening of thought, and this, once again, prevents the
discovery and recognition of this lack, and language be-
comes ever poorer in images and thought 'to be mistaken'
comes before 'to err 3 . First of all he made a mistake, then
he erred. I make a mistake standing, and going along I
therefore go on the wrong path : I err.
34. 7th December. Superbia: 'I was predestined to the
greatest sins 5 said the devil, and grew even prouder. 'Who is
like me'? Perhaps the 'Lamb'?
35. Ad se ipsum
From my childhood
When I was imprisoned by the beauty of poetry, where
light and water, sufficient unto themselves, were full of
brilliance, all the springs dried up, and the eternal melody
itself fell asleep. I no longer recall who or what awoke me.
36. Ad se ipsum Never forget that you were only allowed
to write 'Satires and Polemiks' * because you had promised
to break off, so to say, when things were at their best, when
that particular path pleased you most. You had to go
another way, that pleased you less. And now the same
* Satire und Polemik, 1914-1920, published 1922, Haecker's first book.
thing is happening again: You have to take a different
path, one that pleases you even less.
37. Curse the image that denies you the word ! Pass on !
But I want the rest and peace, which are only to be found
in the image, and not in thinking. You are a stranger, a
wanderer, a pilgrim on earth, so flee the image, that
renounces the word.
38. One's astonishment, half tragic, half comic, at coming
across a good sentence that one has completely forgotten
having written. Poverty and wealth!
39. The measure of confusion will be full to overflowing
when sophists write the history of philosophy, Catalinas the
history of states and nations, and heretics the history of the
Church. In the past, hardly more than a tendency in Europe,
it has now become a serious matter.
40. 9th December. On the wireless today a star fell from
the firmament of German literature, "their eyes were opened
and overflowed." My God, eyes opened long ago might
have flowed, when it fell and was extinguished on a swamp
of abuse from a political robot consisting of a baritone voice
41. I have finished many a song, and been the first to
sing it. And now they sing it after me, as though it were
anonymous. That is as it should be. Let me thank God,
that I am that far. And let me complain to God that I
am only so far, and can even think of such things.
42. Second Sunday in Advent. When all is over, then of
course even Physiognomy will claim to have been right. And
indeed God would not condemn the nature which he
created, to lie. He is a faithful God, and 'true 3 They will
be able to point to the photographs and say: How could
it have been otherwise, it simply had to happen! And isn't
10 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
everything on the surface? How could people be deceived.
And they will make everything appear much simpler than
43. God has spoken in many words through his prophets
and through his 'Word'. No man is free to alter these words,
but he is free to use them on suitable and, alas, on unsuitable
occasions. That was the whole risk. For it would be impos-
sible to calculate the misfortune which is brought about by
using a divine saying at the wrong moment, and not using
it at the right moment.
44. All the thoughts that keep on breaking through the
principal theme are only of evil when they block the way
and make it impassable, not when they make for more
space or even make it infinite.
45. Christ also died for 'barbarians 5 , but he did not become
man as a barbarian, nor did he live among them, or choose
his disciples among them. The relapse of civilised nations
into barbarism is moreover not possible unless they first
46. Psalm 73
You have shown us, O God, the essence of evil, its pride
and its triumph in excess and to the point of despair.
O Lord, many are falling into unbelief; let us ask you, in
a spirit of faith, now to fulfil and illustrate the other truth
of the psalm, for the consolation of your servants and to
47. The sun shines upon the just and the unjust. These
great primary blessings, the laws which determine and hold
creation together are or seem to be indifferent to good
and evil. Good and evil deeds (corn and weeds) both fall
under the law of growth and ripening. These categories and
laws do not belong beyond good and evil, but belong to
the primary goodness of creation, which no power, how-
ever diabolical can change.
48. 1 7th December. All our knowledge is received, in
the first instance, through our senses, but we soon begin to
suspect that things and truth are originally in the spirit.
And according to Revelation (Eph. 3, 15) we are told that
all fatherhood is in the image of God, that all fatherhood
takes its name from God, who alone is really 'father'. I was
thinking today, how can one compare the hardness and
the hardening that is in the senses, to the hardness and
hardening of the heart and the spirit? And all the presenti-
ments of my youth, and its unconscious, but deeply felt
platonism, suddenly awoke. It seemed to me almost a
revelation when I wrote : How impoverished is your spring,
a miserable image of the heart within me; but then you
do not know the winter of despair in my soul.
49. The Germans too want to be a nation c like others*.
But without success. They can only be much worse than
the others. They are the abhorrence of the whole world.
The Prussian leaven has soured the whole nation and
falsified its mission.
50. Looking with a certain contempt upon Christianity,
you observe that it has no philosophy, no metaphysic. But
is that not an error? The Christian's metaphysics is that
he eats God.
51. In order to do justice to the spirit of Europe a philoso-
pher must know the chief European languages, ancient and
modern, and their different images, in order to free his
thought from them, and in order not to lose himself in any
52. 15th December. To equate 'impulse* and 'instinct'
with the will, as though it were a conscious impulse only,
12 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
is vague, confused. No instinct can be dominated by itself,
though even the strongest instinct can be dominated by the
will. Will is spirit. There is no sense in saying: will is
instinct, to which spirit (consciousness) is added. It is some-
thing completely and absolutely new in itself. Will is
spirit its flame, just as intellect is its light.
53. Nietzsche, Wagner and Houston Stewart Chamberlain
are in fact mainly responsible for the present condition of
the German mind. It is they who move the doers, and the
evil-doers. Wagner as a musician, is the least guilty, the
54. After the war, the aspirations of 'socialism' will un-
doubtedly be strengthened, yet still without attaining the
really decisive strength and power of nationalism. A
compulsory solution of the social problem, namely through
impoverishment, is ambiguous. Everything depends upon
spirit. As men are, some form of enslavement is probable;
ingenious or shrewd, or both, favoured by men's inclination
to deceive one another as well as themselves.
55. The greatest and bitterest enemies of Christianity,
those who hate it most, fail completely to see one thing:
that Christianity arose and always arises anew, differently,
utterly differently from their Kingdoms and institutions.
A man, an animal, a plant, a machine can only go to pieces
or be destroyed within the Order in which they arose. The
same is true of the kingdoms of this world, and of the
Kingdom that is not of this world but is in the world.
What the deadly enemies of Christ's kingdom can destroy,
is everything about the Church which is of this world. That
may be an astonishing amount, a disturbing amount; so
much indeed that it looks like everything. The Kingdom
of Christ, stripped of everything, rests upon faith, hope
and love. Those are not powers which play a part in this
56. Third Sunday in Advent. Gaudete Rejoice,
and again I say to you: rejoice! Once again, as always,
astonishing words. The ever new, original and yet identical
explanation which the saints of God give of their 'joy* is a
proof of its genuineness, even for those who do not or have
not known it. And so, O God, I rest satisfied with the pale
and distant joy that your saints know, joy such as the apostle
has described it : Gaudete . . .
57. The man is playing for high stakes. Let us not deceive
ourselves! Indeed, the game is so high that only the
words of the psalmist fit the case: 'The Lord laughs at
them 5 . But it will fail or pass away unless it breaks into
the laughter of insanity But human laughter is not equal
to the task 'God laughs at them 5 . And then one must
remember that Germany is not exactly the country in which
the ridiculous kills; on the contrary, the ridiculous acts as
a sort of preservative.
58. To Konrad Weiss* on his 'Konradin von Hohenstaufen*
Whose song but yours returns unto itself
As oft as yours, till all that's lovely must
Perforce into abundance overflow,
And lose itself where naught is never lost?
None struck so true into the heart of pain
That it still beats while making fair lament.
Yes, falconry's a Hohenstaufen art!
A marvel in lean days! Hail, Konrad Weiss!
Will nevermore this world's deep wound be healed,
Is there no peace in God? Must he still rock
The cradled world? Was not Christ born for us
And rose again? Alas, O Konrad Weiss!
* One of the most important contemporary poets, who died in 1940.
Konradin was his last work. Die Kleine Schopfung published by the Insel
Verlag is probably his best known poem.
14 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
59. Anyone who is not horrified by the man has nothing
in him either of God, or of the devil.
60. It is normal that a Nobody should want to become
Somebody in the world. There is nothing to be said against
it; it is nature. But how seldom it is that this Somebody
should then strive to become Nobody before God, although
that is the only path if one is to reach God. The same thing-
is true of this Nobody, as of the 'nothing' of the Summa.
There is a difference between the nothing before the Summa,
and the nothing after the Summa. Only a sophist can deny
it. Someone might perhaps say that this is the very place
for the most diabolical superbia. Perhaps, but it is a danger
one must take upon oneself.
61. The proper distinction between genuine guilt and
innocence is one of the great and unavoidable tasks of the
future. To say that natural necessity is guilt may produce
just as much misfortune as the contrary, and may lead to
the absolute denial of guilt. It must be admitted that we
live in great ignorance and uncertainty.
62. Once Again: Konrad Weiss
Whose song but yours returns unto itself
As oft as yours, till all that's lovely must
Perforce into abundance overflow,
To lose itself in nothingness, its aim?
None striked so true into the heart of pain,
That it breaks out in lovely loud lament.
Yes falconry's a Hohenstaufen art!
Music of home, and of the Swabian, Weiss.
Will God's deep wound, mankind, be never healed?
Has God Himself no rest, must he still rock
The cradled world because it will not sleep?
Was not Christ born for us and rose again?
If he comes not today, will he not come
Then at the last? Is this some tragic mime?
Must we remain without a holy hymn
Because we wait and no Redeemer comes?
Does faith lie dead, and withered all our hope?
Are hatred reason, love delusions then?
63. A "Grammar of images' is a philosophical undertaking
worthy of a young man, if he could carry the burden of
knowledge already accumulated. The first thing to meet
our eyes is boundless confusion, and the first requirement
would be to bring about order, perhaps with the help of the
co-ordinates : body, soul, and spirit. (That in itself is an
instructive example of an image which is substantially
inadequate, but helpful by analogy). The images derived
from the sphere of the body are naturally far from being the
most numerous, although nowadays augmented by the
quasi-images of technical thought. The broad middle is
occupied by the rich images of the soul, that is to say
64. 27th December. The most aristocratic contempt is
undoubtedly the philosophical, that is to say intellectual,
contempt of Heraclitus. Political contempt is as a rule only
the contempt of the greater for the lesser scoundrel, because
he is the lesser.
5. To 'dispute 5 with God is either the beginning or the
end of faith. But it always presupposes a tendency to faith.
66. The most primitive attitude in a great war is this:
that one side is absolutely right and the other absolutely
wrong. The thing becomes more difficult and problematical
as doubt allows us to see that right and wrong may be
shared. But it does not really carry one much further. It
stops short at a more or less clever objectivity and neutrality,
16 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
which is practically harmless if one lives in the eighteenth
century, and the war is in Turkey or China. But nowadays
things have come much closer to us and to one another.
And here begins the distinction of principles and teachings
and theories. A nation whose centre is a miraculous image
of the Mother of God may commit the most horrible and
horrifying atrocities, but after bitter expiation it will be vic-
torious over a nation whose centre is a rationalistic heretical
capital, whose fidelity and honour is thoroughly hypo-
critical and false. As a private individual, Constantine the
Great may well have committed more sins public and
private than Julian the Apostate. But the Christian had
every reason to wish victory to the former and destruction
to the latter.
That is the last thought of the year.
67. The world in its being is beyond the power of human
understanding to survey clearly. Anyone who does not see
that, or denies it, can only be left alone, to go his own way.
Yet many who, at a pinch, agree, nevertheless demand that
the system of a philosopher should be absolutely clear in its
survey though it is only the spiritual image and repre-
sentation of the world, itself impossible to survey. Still,
they are not entirely wrong: To be able to survey clearly
is one of the essential demands of the mind, and to this the
philosopher must do justice. Only he must recognise his
boundaries as human and keep to them.
68. There is a deal of pride in the demand of Kierke-
gaard's thought, to be faithful always, in all circumstances,
to his idea. The idea may only be human, after all and
then how weak and how untrue the demand would be.
And perhaps when he is no longer true to it, in pain and
shame, he is pursuing God's idea. Then he will have learnt
humility, and through it reached victory.
69. There is an honourable irrationalism which is ulti-
mately just the capitulation and respect of human ratio
before the divine. But there is also an ignoble irrationalism
to which the youth of present day Germany tends which
tries to use 'destiny' to conceal and stifle the voice of con-
science and to deny that there is logic in the consequences
of crime. It is all very easy, and does not come within
measurable distance of the sophoclean conception of tragedy.
18 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
70. 2nd January. There is only one sermon to preach
today, the triune God; do not get involved in anything else.
With that alone you will be able to discern the spirits of
men, and compel them to reveal themselves. Never tire of
repeating it: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Christian
God is the Trinitarian God. They call their devil or their
idol God, too, and sometimes ven e the all-powerful'. But
they do not call him Christ, whom they hate or despise,
and they do not call him 'Spirit'. How should they, since
he proceeds from the Father and the Son?
7L Immortality is in love. It is love which first makes it
intelligible and, what is more, desirable. Without love
immortality would be frightful and horrible.
72. Loneliness. An image .... in the night he dreamed.
An angel called the name of all those remembered by one
single soul with love. That lasted an infinite time. At first
it left him indifferent, it disturbed him, he yawned, he
laughed contemptuously. Then he grew restless, and he
began to wait for the sound of his name. He grew un-
speakably sad, and he wept. That lasted an infinite time.
His name was not called, and the voice became silent.
The sudden silence was like a clap of thunder, and
woke him. He found his pillow wet, but his eyes were
hot and dry and burning as though his tears had dried up
73. I am often uncertain and almost blind where things,
events, books, sciences are concerned. I only begin to see
their worth, or worthlessness again when I look at the people
whom they influence.
74. In that part of the history of Christian Europe which is
the history of Germany, this war might, and I hope will
be the end of the hegemony of Prussia, which had in fact
reached its height at the beginning of the war.
75. To the perfection of being there belongs its knowledge
of itself, and so too, to the 'perfection 9 of evil. It is good
that evil should 'know itself'. It is certainly difficult to attain
clarity at this point, and perhaps impossible. Thought
76. Indiscriminate work is a very uncertain remedy against
ennuL The one sure means of dealing with it is to care for
someone else, to do something kind and good.
77. No one is master of the effect of his sentences, and
often one is not even responsible for their good or bad
effect. Often enough what is right has the reverse effect
upon the perverse; and what is perverse in itself acts rightly
on the right-thinking.
78. Man, it seems, is not equal to setting up a just social
order on his own. He is hardly able even to perceive the
two principles upon which he has to build, namely that men
are equal and unequal^ and consequently that he must be
true to both principles. As a rule he prefers the easier way
and takes only one as his starting point: either equality,
or inequality. The result of this one-sidedness is always a
catastrophe. But even if the necessity and the validity of
both principles are recognised theoretically (and this is still
far from being the case) the immeasurable difficulty only
begins in applying the principles in practice. And I am of
the opinion that at this point man cannot, of his own
strength, reach a satisfactory conclusion. He needs illumin-
ation, the immediate help of God in prayer and in leadership.
79. Christians are once again becoming the minority that
'does not count'. Undoubtedly they will distinguish them-
selves from other minorities that c do not count' by the fact
that they will be persecuted nevertheless.
80. To many, war is a satisfactory alibi before the world,
even though not before one's conscience or before God.
20 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
81. When one thinks how difficult it is even for a Christian,
even in thought, to leave revenge to God, one can imagine
what is going to happen soon in Germany, What will the
victor of this war do? Unless he leaves revenge to God,
both war and victory are lost.
82. Intercession is difficult and in fact impossible to man,
without grace. Two things are necessary for true inter-
cession. If I am to intercede for a man before God, I must
love him. Otherwise it is mere empty formalism. But in
the moment I intercede for him, I must not want anything
from him for myself. And that is difficult, even if I love him.
83. Variations on one and the same theme, that Nature
brings off times without number, so happily, so surprisingly,
and so perfectly that the boredom of the semper eadem is
drowned in the astonishing idem per aliud, come very hard to
the conscious artist, man. They are rare, and most often
found in music. There are two rocks between which the
art of variation has to navigate : the theme in its original
form should be neither too apparent nor too obscured.
Furthermore: the variation must itself be something new
and surprising in a deeper sense. On the other hand the
theme in its identity must be contemplated (heard) immedi-
ately (by one who is trained, of course), and not merely
painfully arrived at.
84. I am not in the least afraid of playing with words
that are free from the Word, or of killing time that is without
85. Why, when they hate the Cross, do they talk of a
crusade against plutocracy, why not a Hakenkreuzzug, a
crooked-crusade? Why not a new language for a new thing,
if it is new?
86. I came across the following sentences in a 'thriller':
"Now, instead of everything going right for him, everything
will go wrong for him! And he, too, will begin to make
mistakes 5 . (In English in the original). Could a certain
aspect of what is happening today in the history of the world
be made intelligible in words clearer than these?
87. It is difficult enough to know one's way about in one's
own thoughts; how much more difficult where one's
feelings are concerned.
88. Many men find it difficult to believe that God can
forgive. The Prophets were always having to repeat this
very thing. David was a man after God's heart, not least
because he quite simply accepted God's forgiveness of sin
as a fact, nor did he on that account overlook the seriousness
of sin and the necessity for penance. The intellect as such
is absolutely unable to bring us understanding of the for-
giveness of sin, and the will can only do so in a political
sense. It is only with love that it can be conceived.
89. 2nd February. A letter from the Franciscan who gave
the last sacraments to Konrad Weiss and who talked with
him on St. Stephen's day shortly before his death, about
my verses thanking him for Konradin. What a pleasure to
have given pleasure!
90. My eyes are skinned for men who could make peace
after this war, but I find none. The peace of death is what
they can all make, but the peace of life! If God can no
longer guide men's hearts as he guides the raging torrent,
then all is up. Am I without faith, hope and love? No!
But it is night, a night, however, which is both salvation
and asylum, sent, as it were, by light. A complete lack of
understanding, and yet one which is sent, so to speak, by
the understanding. Not one which it disavows, or is dis-
avowed by it.
91. The religious man wishes to know the God he has to
serve and who helps him, by name. The 'philosophical
22 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
mind' believes that this is unnecessary and unneedful. He
is content, or only dares to speak of anonymous 'divine
powers'. That is what Pascal meant by Dieu d' Abraham,
d' Isaac et de : Jacob non des philosophes! The Christian knows
the names of God : Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
92. What is the most difficult thing for men? Measure:
'the golden mean'. And this is true in theory, in teaching
as in practice, in doing and acting. And that makes one
despair that things will go better after this war. Those
with a sense of measure will not have the power to make
the peace, and those who have the power will make peace
93. The Germans have a 'natural' disposition for religion.
And for thav very reason they can only be united religiously.
They could only be so in the Catholic faith and its unity.
There is corisequently something painfully unreal and
untrue about public invocations of God on official occasions.
It is something done with a bad conscience. And we shall
never get away from that, though ever so many among us
were to be true friends of God, or even followers of Christ
as individuals t
94. Propaganda: In spite of a gigantic weight of lies the
things of this world still function for an astoundingly long
time without breaking to pieces; they almost seem to be
strengthened. It is a mysterious and awful fact, and a great
temptation to the spirit, to doubt the decisive significance
of the truth in regard to the events in this world. But it is
only a temptation : deep inside the spirit of man there is an
assurance that lies destroy a man, and also a nation.
95. It is a serious business to form a doctrine, a view of
the world, a Weltanschauung, out of the average 'natural'
aspirations of this c world'. Nor is the seriousness of it lessened
because the world is comic and ridiculous in its new
'teachings' and its new styles. Anyway, to be ridiculous is
no danger in Germany, and certainly not fatal; and then
everything 'false' is essentially ridiculous! Even the Devil
is in certain respects comic and ridiculous. The most
important thing, and this is what is new, is to construct a
e doctrine' inductively upon the factual practice of evil men,
and to provide it with authority and sanctions. For example,
justice without love, complete mercilessness and so on.
96. 13th February. What strikes coldest in one's heart is
the spiritual state and the behaviour of the German Judges.
They condemn a man to prison for standing a Pole a g : ass
of beer. That is really frightful.
97. To make God responsible for all and everything may
of course be the blasphemy of a sinner and a demon, or it
may be the praise of an angel or a saint. In fact, a creature
must ultimately reach the point at which he throws every-
everything upon God. On the other hand there is the
inescapable demand of the free spirit to be autonomous and
consequently to bear the responsibility for everything he
does. But how can the two aspects be harmonised unless
the created spirit becomes divine?
98. The spirit of man that always longs for a new expression
of the old, remains in the direct line of God's creation that
unceasingly creates new individuals, new expressions, that
is, of the same 'kind'. The mechanical copy is just about
the most inhuman, and what is more the most ungodly thing
that can be imagined.
99. 20th February. Altmark: Running amok in lies.
How childish it is to want to save Europe from destruction
by changing governments and economic policies. Only a
complete change of sentiment and conviction and of heart,
a Meravoetv can help us. And 'Prussia', certainly, is the
24 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
100. The inconceivability of God lies before my silence
and behind all my words. Could I but express it in my own
words, I should be a great writer.
101. Patriotism lies in the nature of man and is something
so self-evident that any exaggeration or emphasis is only
painful or ridiculous, and smothers it instead of sustaining it.
102. There is no one who cannot imagine something more
perfect than he is and than he was. That may be one of
the proofs of his imperfection. But is perfection necessarily
capable of imagining something less perfect? And would
that be a proof of its perfection?
103. Ultimately, after all, we are made for happiness
which is, so to say, the normal and the certain. The Church
declares that certain men whom she names by name her
saints are, with unquestionable certainty, in heaven. She
does not say of any man, that he is quite certainly in hell
not even Judas, the betrayer of the Lord. She says it only
of the Devil, over whom she has no jurisdiction.
104. Rejoinder: God created the grass-hopper and the
shark and the wasp (a beautiful animal) and the flea and
the louse and the bug (more beautiful animals!) Would he
have created them if he had not taken pleasure in them?
And you expect to understand this God? How silly that is!
He places the world's destiny in the hand of a gipsy, a
knife-grinder, a ham actor, a buffoon, or, in case I am going
too far (and I don't want to say too much), he uses him as an
instrument. That takes some understanding! The only
explanation would seem to be a certain constraint upon God!
105. Woe to the poor man who has no other prayer but:
Lord help thou my unbelief!
106. 'Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words
shall not pass away'. If anyone believes that to be true, then
he believes at the same time that it is God who said it.
Those who know anything about words know how ridicu-
lous it is for a man to appeal to the everlastingness of his
107. If anyone were to have doubts about God because
he could not conceive Him, he would simply not have faith.
For that is the beginning of faith when a man cannot
108. 24th February. The voice of the Wolf as the voice
of providence. That is how it proclaims itself, shouting
about the Herrgott, the favourite word of the German
blasphemer. And it ends with a quotation from the great
German heretic, Luther: And even if the world were full
of devils .... Oh 3 how he mocks his own, and knows not
how. A German destiny indeed. But only wait a year! A
whole long year in blood and filth!
109. There are writers, unlucky men, whose quills adorn
others, but not themselves.
110. 25th February. The German Herrgott-religion for so
we may call it after yesterday's speech begins to take shape,
vaguely of course, because that is what it is. It undoubtedly
has something in common with Mohammedanism, for at a
pinch it is monotheistic, and absolutely anti-trinitarian. It
is much less universal than the religion of Islam, makes no
claim to be so, and could make no such claim; on the other
hand it is 'fanatical', as dervishes ought to be, but then again
unimaginative, dry, Prussian: *A fanatical sense of duty*
its ideal, the most frightful and horrifying that mankind has
ever seen. The principles of the German Herrgott-religion go
far beyond those of the English 'plutocrat 5 s-religion 9 ; it
accepts the success of a deceit, a betrayal, of murder or
violence as a proof of the blessing of the German Herrgott.
Success alone makes any action, however monstrous, blessed.
26 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
'By their fruits ye shall know them'. In the German Herrgott-
religion Christ's words are given a different sense. It is not
the tree which bears good fruit which is good, and the tree
which bears bad fruit which is bad; but the tree which
bears fruit whether good or bad is good, and the tree which
bears no fruit is bad and what indeed is the purpose of
the fruits which are visible only to heaven, which an adherent
to the German Herrgott-religion does not, and cannot see.
111. The temptation of those of little faith: Terhaps he is the
instrument of God, and we are disobedient, rebels against
God's will'. Seven years of success are after all a sign from
God!' Patience, patience, and in this hour, read the psalms,
in this long hour, which is granted with such sublime
generosity to evil, in this anxious hour.
112. The interlarding, combining and mixing of the lowest
personal interests and the highest vital interest of public life
lias surely never before been so successfully managed by a
party, both consciously and unconsciously. The solution in
fact was a super-human task. Only war, after all, which is
certainly something of a divine judgment, could solve the
113. One must be careful of asserting that such a thing
has never been, excepting as regards quantity, and mass,
for that may well be true; but in other things one must be
careful. And so I cannot tell whether there was ever a
time when such great power was granted to evil. However
that may be, it is a curious age. As for the means of poweV
in this world, everything is in the hands of evil. God has
given it a free hand on a grandiose scale. Yes, to the very
limits, beyond which even the just would despair.
114. Because the fulfilment of mankind will only be com-
plete in an unknown period of time, in an objective con-
tinuity certainly, though the continuity will not always be
conscious and subjective, nor in a direct line, but zig-zagging
and spiralling about, it follows that individual races, and
individuals themselves experience things and have to adopt
an attitude towards them for which there is neither analogy
nor comparison in the immediately preceding years, though
no doubt in earlier times. We today, in Germany, under-
stand the first Christians much better than the Christians
of the Middle Ages at their peak. We also understand them
incomparably better than the Christians of the Middle Ages
could or did understand them.
115. I am to be master of my thought, my will and my
feeling! In all truth, is there anything more mysterious than
such an /? What is it then? With what, through what is it
to be master over thought, will and feeling, if it is to be with
and through thought, will and feeling? Or is there something
else above these three, something simply indescribable? The
inaccessible essence of being, the person, having 'power 5 , who
is 'powerful 5 ?
116. 28th March. If a man paints Christ, he paints the
second person of the Trinity who became man. That is the
first principle for a Christian painter. All other questions
are to be considered in that light. The first person of the
Trinity is not to be painted. That one may make no image
of him remains true, now as formerly. The third person of
the Trinity the Holy Spirit, is represented in the form of a
dove, according to revelation, for reasons which to us are
inscrutable. The second person really became man. So that
the image of the second person must be the picture of a real
man. That allowed and allows for many conceptions.
Signs and symbols belong in a different order. We are
speaking of images.
117. None of Christ's contemporaries appears to have felt
the need to possess a drawing or a painting or a statue of
him. But undoubtedly the desire soon awoke and was
28 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
satisfied, and so it has gone on from that day to this, in ever
changing styles and conceptions. Nor will it ever cease.
And I only note it for the painter's sake, and because of his
difficulties the painter of today, in the west, who not only
has to bear the weight of a tradition two thousand years
old, but has to come to terms with it. In no instance is he
any longer a 'naive' artist, that is out of the question.
Anything attempted in that direction bears the stigma of
unreality, and of untruth if not of mendacity.
118. The gospels and the letters of the apostles moreover,
do not give the artist the very slightest hint about Christ's
outward appearance, except perhaps for his age and the
indirect information that he behaved like other men of his
time and certainly did not stand out as original in any
outward sense or desired to draw attention to himself. The
first reason for this is that it was not in the character of the
time to attend at all to the eyes or the hair or the nose of a
person in a story. Nor is anyone so described in all the
gospels. The one exception is, to a certain extent, Christ
himself, since he talks to one of his disciples, quite in general
of course, as a typical Hebrew, even externally. And that
presupposes that one was quite clear as to what the type
of a true Hebrew was.
The second, deeper reason why nothing whatsoever is
said about Christ's appearance in the gospels, is that his
spiritual being put his physical appearance in the shadow
for those who were moved and believed. Naturally it was
there, even in its effect; and that spiritual being, action and
speech did not have just any appearance, but had a quite
definite one, of that there can be no doubt. The writers of
the gospels were deeply moved and believed: it was the
spiritual aspect which penetrated, outshining the psycho-
logical and the physiognomical effect. Though it was there.
Men who were not affected, who did not believe, of which
there were many, many more, could more easily have
observed the outward man. They could have 'made a
report', they could have registered a photographic impres-
sion. But more on this point later: I have a theory of my
119. 31st March. I often wonder whether the world
would not be more understandable if there were no animals
in it, for it seems to me that they are the most un-under-
standable of all things. Writing at night, I have often
contemplated moths and fantastic green flies for hours,
gazing as into an abyss. I can stand for hours in front of
an aquarium with my understanding motionless. And then
there is the suffering of animals. But what does it really
mean: 'understanding'? For I always have the impression
of being much further away from a thing I 'understand' than
when I don't understand.
120. When I think back to the hours spent writing, and
all its happy side, the curious mixture of unmerited inspira-
tion (brain-waves) and most intensive personal activity, its
quite incomparable joy and pleasure, then it almost seems
to me that it is a life worthy of eternity and unendangered
by the disgust that would certainly follow the prolongation
of any other mental or physical pleasure.
121. A world catastrophe may serve many purposes. As
an alibi before God, for example. Adam where art thou?
C I was at the world war'. Only it's a coarse excuse. Others
search for an alibi in their own consciences. Adam where
art thou? 'I was with my conscience does it not belong to
me' ! That is the subtlest way of all of avoiding action.
122. Many a man thinks to satisfy the great virtue of
moderation by using all his shrewdness and bringing all
his experience to bear upon limiting his pleasure to
his capacity for pleasure. But simply by the fact of
setting enjoyment as the end, he has radically violated
30 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
123. When dare a man say everything about God and
ibout his ordering of the world? When he loves God
hat, the Old Testament teaches us. When I see a man do
t without love, it sends a shiver down my spine.
124. The attributes of God in which a Christian believes
ire hard for the human understanding to acknowledge.
[t is well that he should freely recognise this. The difficulties
lo not always remain the same. God's allpowerfulness and
ove are, as a rule, the points in question. Certain facts
mown from our vision and knowledge of this world must
:>e used, in their analogical sense of course, and that right
:arefully. In a darkened room, shut in, I cannot see the
sun-lit earth. From a height I perceive things which I
doubted on the level. My natural knowledge grows and
matures, and with time I acquire insight and so on.
Why should a man, better, more blessed than me, not
have less difficulty in the matter of allpowerfulness than
125. Beware of the terrible light-hearted simplifiers both
theoretical and practical. They create the most hopeless
:onfusion imaginable, in the long run. Omit something,
md you bring about a disorder infinitely more disastrous,
;han that produced by the mere muddler.
126. The belief in an evil power, in the devil, in the Prince
)f this World, has much declined in the last centuries. It
s the remedy for many distorted forms of belief, but its
ise is a delicate matter, for inevitably it leads people to a
alse view of the world. The state of this world simply
:annot be understood if we omit the power of evil. This
langerous conception has slipped in even among Christians
as a result of an omission. Evil is forced back into
nature', and becomes c comic' (a war, for example, is a
;omic event), and even into the 'demoniacal 5 powers of
lature, this side of good and evil and there conceals itself.
Then the state of this world is seen to depend on the all-
powerfulness of an all-loving God, and on original sin and
the sins of mankind. But that is not an adequate basis;
man, in this case, is over-rated, over-valued. He simply
has not got the power to disrupt the world, to make it as
it is. A man to whom this sort of faith has been taught, and
it is certainly not the Christian faith, might justifiably fall
away upon a closer and clearer consideration of it, or again
his soul might sicken. He would have to look upon God
as either without power or without love. Man cannot get
away from good and evil, either by the most violent ana-
themas, or by watering it all down something always
remains, even when good and evil are degraded into useful
127. The most radical denial of the need of redemption
in this world seems to me to lie in the phrase, 'the eternal
recurrence of the same 3 (Nietzsche) . Logically it represents
a fantastic confusion of thought, since quite evidently every-
thing points in the very opposite direction. Theologically,
it is at an infinite distance from God, and it turns everything
upside down. At this point discussion is no longer possible.
128. One of the more difficult things to determine is the
degree of corruption and the number of false principles
with which the nations put up and the length of time they
endure before the catastrophe conies. Usually, it lasts
longer than one thinks. Comparisons with individuals and
with families easily lead one astray. And those who further-
more believe that God has the destiny of nations in his
hand, will take the greatest care.
129. How I started, when the deadest voice of the Reich
(Goebbels) ended his speech with the words : Traised be . . .*
He even paused could he have forgotten himself, have
dropped back into memories of childhood? But he continued
'Whatever hardens us*. That, of course, is in line. The
32 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
religion of the German Herrgott is the religion of the 'heart
of stone'. They will be beaten, they will be ground to
powder, and then they will once again desire a heart of
flesh and blood,
130. 5th April. The eternal recurrence of the same 5 .
Psychologically it is precisely his fear of a repetition that
fascinates a man's spirit, hynotises him, so that in order to
attain peace, he throws himself into this abyss of nonsense.
A hellish affirmation of the horrible. I thought at one time,
light-heartedly, that this matter could be answered with
scorn and contempt. But at this point ridicule loses its
power. The world is very much deeper. Ridicule does not
go deep enough. It is a form of rationalism, and it, too, is
131. 6th April. To the man who believes that there is
such a thing as a blessing, and that it is of the greatest
moment, and is linked, by and large, to certain conditions
which the recipient must fulfil, by fulfilling the laws of God,
to this man the immediate future is shrouded in darkness.
For things are happening upon which God's blessing
132. Rejoinder: 'And so one may say that ultimately you
only believe in God because you are convinced that the
devil exists, and that he has power' Yes, that is how
things stand, although you express yourself rather
crudely. In point of fact, I should deny the existence of
God if anyone were to insist that there were no evil spirits,
infinitely more powerful than man, and that the whole
frightful misery of mankind lay purely and simply in its own
sinfulness and in the imperfection of nature.
133. One begins to philosophise with wonder. But
then, too, philosophy ends in wonder. . Is this wonder
perhaps a sign that the spirit of man is created? For
why, otherwise, should being be in wonder at itself,
134. It seems to be reflective rather than immediate
thought and knowledge, that lead to doubt and to
rebellion against God. I have suffered much both spiritually
and physically in my life. But only once did it end in
doubt about the righteousness of God and in an attempt at
rebellion; and then it was the mercy of God which restrained
me, so that instead of the curse that was on the tip of my
tongue, I stammered out the blessing of Christ: Blessed
art thou, Simon son of Jonas, for thou believest. I can
remember the night and the room well. But it was the
presence of a reflective element which brought things to a
head. For weeks I had been expecting the unbearable pain
(I had no narcotic at the time, not even aspirin); and so,
too, on that night. It is quite another matter when it comes
to seeing the misfortune of others, children suffering, for
example, or hearing reports of concentration camps, battle
areas and so forth. Then my understanding is brought up
against quite other difficulties. When my son Reinhard
was a year old, and for weeks on end had attacks of croup
every night, almost choking to death, everything became
dark before my eyes, for I could not and cannot see in this
the faintest glimmer of reason, it is utterly unintelligible.
Man has no immediate consciousness of the innumerable
generations that preceded him or of those that are to follow.
Ten or a million are all one. Everything that a generation ex-
periences in the way of misfortune happens, where immediate
consciousness is concerned, just once. And yet it happened
and happens probably for millions of years. That is reflective
knowledge. And it creates difficulties. It puts the unanswer-
able question: why this endless repetition of unspeakable
misfortunes through thousands of generations? That is
where faith has to fight its hardest battles. And it can be seen
that reflection, where the stream of knowledge always runs
thin, is its greatest opponent, and its most dangerous one.
34 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
135. 'Mockery' has many levels. It can even be affec-
tionate, but it can be as poisonous as hell. It does not exist
in the fullness of love, except possibly as a means of education
and aimed wholly at the good of the object of laughter. But
that is rare. A healthy pride and an honest contempt for
what is base may make use of mockery, even though they
may prefer to remain silent. Mockery is the favourite
weapon of Schadenfreude, a sign of its base origin. And
sometimes it is only a mask, concealing a poor, sad, unhappy
and broken countenance. Man, unlike the angels is so
changeable. Weakness is one of mockery's favourite targets,
man's real weakness, and God's apparent weakness. God,
in all three persons, was and is mocked daily. Why do the
great and powerful of this world fear mockery and the
mocker? It would be inexplicable if they were certain of
their power. But they are not. There is a weakness in them,
and if none other then in this at least, that they are anxious
lest they lose their power.
136. c On the seat of the mockers', as it is called in scrip-
ture, sit the lost souls, those who hate God and man and
themselves. But even there, nothing is final. One day they
may stand up in order to fall down on their knees and adore
what they once mocked.
137. The fame of this world vanishes like smoke. That is
true enough. But this, too, must be realised, and made
real. That is to say, a man must acquire and possess this
fame and then recognise that it is nothing and leaves his
soul empty. Only then is the saying true. Those without
fame only say half the truth, and the other half is a lie.
Even a nothing in this world must, so to say, become body.
In this world every truth must have a body or receive one.
138. There can be no neutrality towards God. That is a
simple and intelligible proposition. Now, if man is God,
or the immediate emanation of God, then sooner or later,
he will say, according to the measure of his power: no one
can be neutral towards me.
139. 9th April. The Germans stand by the words of their
beloved teacher, Martin Luther, pecca fortiter mentire
fortiter. And since the whole of Europe lies, and they lie
fortiter, they are successful, at least until someone no longer
140. The most hopeless misunderstanding: he does not
see what I see, and I do not see what he sees.
141. There are many people who do not deny that the
things of this world are symbolic, but they hold that that
which things signify, that which they symbolise is nothing real
or capable of determining our actions. Is that not poor
142. It is of the nature of things that they might equally
be other than they are, and that is more astonishing than
they themselves. And that is what makes time and not space
the inmost problem of our being.
143. Kierkegaard's thesis that the prevailing category of
the demoniacal is the 'sudden' has been demonstrated to
the full in recent times.
144. c To be master of one's fate' is a crude expression which
needs first of all to be interpreted in order to yield its truth.
How should I be master of something which as a rule is not
in my hands?
145. Being presupposes nothing but itself. That is both
clear and revealed: I am who am that is certainly true.
And so it is not a will without being, so to speak, which first
creates being. Will is in being, so that one can undoubtedly
say: being wills itself. That is true of absolute being and
36 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
of God. It is otherwise with created being. As being it
presupposes the divine Logos and as existence, the divine
will. Only in the case of created being can one speak of a
primacy of divine will.
146. The truly philosophical spirit is a contemplative
spirit. It is not captivated by the things that one can
change, but by those, precisely, which cannot be changed.
147. Love is the fulfilment of the Law, not its destroyer.
It is hierarchical, not anarchical. And because it is the
fulfilment, its violation is the real sin. A man will be
measured by his love.
148. "Science" (Wissenschaft), necessarily uses a positive,
historically developed language from which the element of
'chance 3 is not excluded, * on a level of general understand-
ing. Not so 'wisdom. 5 Wisdom has a much more inward,
deeper 'language', mysterious in its essence, and related to
silence. But what has the scientific method to do with
silence? It must speak in the simplest sense of the word.
More than the half of wisdom, however, is in silence.
149. In this world and in this aeon evil is often cured by
evil, provided only that one is careful that Beelzebub who
drives out the devil does not remain behind, doing his work.
Hypocrisy can be expelled by shamelessness, and human
nature can once again find its balance in the slow labour
of salvation. Hypocrisy is of all conditions the most hated
of God, according to scripture. And in the last centuries
hypocrisy has ruled European politics. It looked as though
the various dictators intended to supplant it by shame-
lessness, and so bring men to their senses and set them on
the right path. That was an illusion. For in the meantime
hypocrisy and shamelessness have signed a shamelessly
* For example, the word Academy, derived from the name of a
garden where Plato taught.
hypocritical pact in the name of these dictators, against
which only a martyr can be victorious. Perhaps the great
outpouring of grace is to come that Blumhardt hoped
for in his old age, longed for, prayed for and perhaps
150. All great gifts are one-sided and pretty well exclude
the others. As always, human nature is limited. The man
who possesses the highest gifts in the hierarchic order, does
not necessarily possess the lower gifts. On the contrary!
Because they were the chosen people, the Jews had the
highest gift in the hierarchic order, the gift of religion, but
to the exclusion of all others, with the one exception of
poetry, and then only in the service of the divine. It was
only later, and after they had crucified Christ, that they
became 'artists' in the pagan sense, in the sense of the
gentiles, the peoples, gentes: and then they were only
'talented', though they often had very great 'talents' and
that is a very curious fact, worthy of note. The Jews have
never been philosophers, poets, painters, sculptors, archi-
tects, not even technicians in an original, fundamental
primitive sense, like all other peoples. There, too, they are
151. 'He was one of the most widely read writers of Ms-
day, and today it is quite impossible to read him, one cannot
even understand his success'. That is the hardest thing
that can be said of an author, and reveals what time is as
a counterpoise to eternity.
152. What is the secret of German military power? Who
can say? The incapacity for leisure and enjoyment? The
complete adaption to the 'world'? The extinction of every
metaphysical need, so clearly revealed by every official
German voice? Does it belong to the providential vocation
of the Germans for the Reich, which remains theirs even
though they ignominiously betrayed their trust?
38 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
153. 13th April. Snow and rain. What about the Ger-
man Herrgott, the 'stony-hearted God 5 ? Is he really a demon
scorning his adepts, not allowing a single blade of grass
to grow in this extraordinary spring? Or are the slow mills
grinding, are the mills of the true, eternal, trinitarian God
grinding more quickly?
154. Rationalism and irrationalism are both the fruit of
pride. Where the one sees the other is blind thus do they
contradict one another. Rationalism sees, rightly enough,
that ultimately things must be understood, and are reason-
able, but in its pride, thinks that reason itself, that is to
say human reason, is the measure of all things : and that
what it cannot understand is simply non-existent. Irration-
alism sees very well that things do not fit into reason, and
yet they are. But thinks, in its pride, that things are
irrational in themselves, even to the divine reason.
755. The worst of poverty today at any rate the most
galling and most difficult thing to bear, is that it makes it
almost impossible for one to be alone. Neither at work, nor
at rest, neither abroad nor at home, neither waking nor
sleeping, neither in health, nor what a torture in sickness.
756*. Lead us not into temptation! What can this prayer
mean, since God certainly cannot tempt any creature to
evil? And yet a request simply cannot be so utterly un-
intelligible to us as to have virtually no meaning at all.
We may and must try to give it some meaning. Personally,
I interpret it in the following sense: that God should not
conceal himself entirely, or for too long, in the ordering of
things public and private, in order that the believer may
perceive the outward covering of the thread, that is hidden
to the VorkT. If God were to withdraw himself entirely, who
could keep the faith? According to his promise, he will
not do so; but in order to avert this temptation, into
which, unlike all others, God himself can lead us, it is taken
up into the great world of prayer : c Lead us not into temp-
tation! 5 Show thyself! That thy mills do not grind too
slowly! Show us thy love and thy justice. Let no one doubt
that thou art the Lord, let no one despair! Psalm 42.
157. Our first comprehension of the world and of things
through human reason and the human senses is far from
having been fully explored. We comprehend a great deal,
at least as a whole, that needs to be analysed, but must not
be 'constructed', for this may lead to the most serious errors.
Now, no investigation of any kind can begin without
presuppositions. And this is the supposition: first, that what
is given contains very much more than appears at first sight.
And consequently, no premature simplification! Secondly,
that which is given is ordered hierarchically; thirdly, the
relation of the parts to the whole is full of mystery.
158. There is no longer a god of war, and in consequence
no fortune of war! Mars and Fortuna have been thrown
out and the machine has been brought in, working to a
fraction of an inch. Man has been so dehumanised that his
capacity for error has also been reduced, and may, in
practice, be overlooked. 'Lead us not into temptation 3 !
159. The blossom of a cultivated cherry tree is quite as
uncompounded, and direct, and indivisibly 'blossom* as
that of the wild cherry. 'Culture 3 does not destroy immediacy
and directness, but enriches, ennobles, and beautifies it.
Indeed the immediacy as such is more plainly revealed.
160. Of no individual thing can one 'say* what it is. Our
very first comprehension implies this. We comprehend that
the understanding never gets to the bottom of things.
16L One belongs to the world as long as one is more
ashamed of & faux pas, a display of ignorance, a wrong turn
of phrase, a misquotation than of an unloving action.
40 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
162. One of the most arrogant undertakings, to my mind,
is to write the biography of a man which pretends to go
beyond external facts, and give the inmost motives. One
of the most mendacious is autobiography.
163. About an author: He gives the appearance of wanting
both in his writings and in himself, to hold the balance
between faith and doubt, to stand above both and to wait
and see who is .right. An attitude, indeed, which is only
possible to such a strange being as man. God protect him!
164. Rejoinder: The contrary of faith is unbelief, not doubt.
Faith and unbelief cannot be in a man at the same time.
Faith and partial scepticism may well be present simul-
taneously, at any rate superficially. A sounding, however,
then gives the one or the other: faith or unbelief.
165. A clean and tidy classification which awakens a
sense of completeness and of a proper emphasis upon the
individual parts, is an intellectual pleasure, though it must
not be allowed to cloak the danger of arbitrariness and
subjectivism. How difficult it is, in fact, to interpret in
any detail, even the most certain, universally valid, objective
classifications of being, life and death for example, good
and evil, ugly and beautiful, will, reason and feeling!
How almost impossible it is to penetrate their inter-
166. Spiritual life and spiritual thought does not mean
living or thinking without the body or even against the body,
it means living and thinking hierarchically. The new
slogan about educating man on c a physical basis' (vom Leibe
her) is of course anti-Christian, since Christianity aims to
educate man spiritually: it is hierarchical. That it has made
many mistakes in education is not to be denied, principally
when it became bourgeois and, losing all sense of elevation
and of the traditional hierarchic doctrine, fell into indolence
and heresy. But education c on a physical basis' only
167. To do one's will leads to satisfaction and to a joy
of a quite particular, incomparable kind. It is said: 'Man's
will is his paradise'. To do one's own will and to be auton-
omous is essential to happiness. It is the happy union of
God's will and the creature's own will, of the man adopted
in Christ. And freedom then is not impaired. To do one's
own will belongs to the essence of freedom.
168. Man cannot deceive God. That is not too difficult to
perceive. Nevertheless he always tries to deceive Him. And
so one has always to repeat that one cannot deceive God.
169. Can anything really be done by man unless he does
it of his own will? If not, then one would have to distinguish
between willing and willing. Many a man has to do work
which he does not 'will' to do, and that he only does in order
to earn his daily bread, or to avoid punishment.
170. Stars that as things are, are infinitely distant, are
flying away from us, so the astronomers tell us, with a speed
of 20,000 kilometres a second. Why? They can't say.
Some aver that the only alternative would be for them to
move in our direction, for they cannot remain where they
are, motionless. But why not come nearer? Or are they
uncertain of polishing us off as long as the strongest military
power in the world gives them to think? Or is it just simply
a matter of taste to fly before this planet?
171. What more perfect image of the New German than
modern military music? Respectable warlike sounds mixed
with a dull brutality and a smarmy sentimentality.
172. 20th April. How little truth man needs in order to
live, and how many lies! Nescio, mi fill, quam multis mendadis
42 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
regitur mupdus (I do not know, my son, with how many lies
the world is ruled).
173. Their voices, my God, their voices! Again and again,
I am overwhelmed by all that they betray. Their deadness
is the most frightful thing about them. The stinking corpse
of a vox humana\ Death, disease and lies, and a solitude
proud of being deserted by God.
Under the hegemony of Prussia, today at its peak,
the Germans have always been driven back more and more,
whether they wished it or not, upon the motto : oderint dum
metuanL (Let them hate, as long as they fear!). That leads
to a bitter ending, for the fear will disappear, and the hate
174. The world's knowledge is never without pride. And
so its mouth is ever full of contempt, scorn, rejection, and
unfriendliness. And always without joy. It is not as though
knowledge itself were without joy, but the pride embitters it.
175. 21st/22nd April. Everything was so dark in my
life, and God illuminated it. Do not forget it, O my heart!
Do not forget it!
176. Might a just man put God to the proof? which is
not the same thing as tempting God. The Bible tells in
favour of it. But he may not do so often.
177. I can at any time so sink myself in a thing or an
occurrence that its initial intelligibility is swallowed up by
its essential uninteiligibility to my reason.
178. 24th April. During long years of suffering, perhaps
I too have been an occasion for someone to doubt the
righteousness of God, and perhaps at the very moment
when I myself was most inwardly assured of the justice,
and of the love of God.
179. The assurance with which some men draw practical
consequences from theoretical truth, as though they were
the only possible ones would be enviable, if nothing depended
upon it (it so simplifies life) but as things are it is more
nearly a misfortune and even frightening, for so much in
the end depends upon it. It makes a difference, naturally,
whether a heretic is burnt or celebrated as an original
genius. There are periods when men are sceptical of the
deductions which their reason is capable of drawing. Today
that is not so. The consequences deduced from the most
threadbare 'scientific' hypothesis are looked upon as though
they were eternal truths.
180. If the possibility, indeed the probability of a personal
immortality could or had to be imparted to men simply
through arguments addressed to their reason, then the
Christian faith today would be in a desperate position, for
it presupposes that we live on, or again one might say that
personal immortality is an integrating aspect of the Christian
faith. But the probability of a personal future life is not the
discovery of reason ex nihilo, but is on the contrary based
upon a sort of instinct in man, which may certainly be
silenced at times, but always comes to life again. It may be
drugged by the intoxication of life, by great successes, dis-
coveries, inventions, conquests and by the fog that so easily
rises within a man, produced by a certain animal health.
When disappointments of every kind, and illness and the
infirmity of age and the certainty of an early death lead a
man back to that instinct, and he consciously orders his
thoughts, and returns to 'the faith 5 then the proud and
unbending onlookers have a habit of saying: it is their
enfeebled understanding which makes them capitulate. But
that is an undergraduate argument, a superficial and careless
way of thinking. In any case, one might with quite as good
grounds say that a path which had been closed or blocked to
thought had been opened and made free. And furthermore
that the eye now sees things that were formerly in mist and fog.
44 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
181. This age is not favourable to the eternal. There is
no doubt of that. But is that not the rule? So that the men
who live in an age favourable to the eternal are exceptions
and live in an illusion if they do not know the rule. The old
words of wisdom: No rule without an exception, but the
exception proves the rule.
182. The German Red Cross has as its badge an eagle
puffed up with pride, a Hakenkreuz for a heart, sitting on
and digging its claws into a cross, the red cross. They
have to reveal themselves!
183. Short dialogue: It must be a dispensation of Provi-
dence that the gramophone record should have been
invented for an age when the human voice is of such great
significance and betrays so much. By their voices ye shall
know them! How easy it will be for the future historian to
judge, if only he has the records at his disposal, and plays
But to whom, my friend (to how few), is given the gift
of discerning voices. (Karl Krauss possessed the gift in a
remarkable degree). And then is it given to Historians?
Do not overrate it! At the present time the gift seems
hardly to be widespread. How would it have been possible,
otherwise, for it all to have happened?
That is no doubt true; and yet the disease in question,
resulting from a reversal of the hierarchic order, was the
reason for the sudden appearance of these voices, their
success and the failure to recognise them this specific
disease, I maintain, can and will disappear (to be replaced,
no doubt, by another) and then everyone (even the
historians) will suddenly hear the horrible disease and
the depravity of the voices, their emptiness and their
'possession' and that is no contradiction the spiritual
stupidity and dumbness in the bellowing mask. Only
believe me, it is the work of Providence that there should
184. Compassion without love does exist. It is certainly not
worth much, and is often paired with baseness and deprav-
ity. It is often the 'fury 3 whose 'heart of gold 5 beats loudest
for "our dumb friends". But there is also love without
'compassion', in the ordinary sense, for physical suffering.
This may make a man seem cold and hard and even cruel,
although he may show great compassion where spiritual
misfortune is concerned. And .naturally, that too is not
right. The most difficult thing of all for man, is a sense of
185. The gods of the Germans decorate themselves, roll
their eyes and bellow no wonder they are called bar-
186. 27th April. The Germans will not be conquered by
the strength of man. They are the strongest and most fright-
ful people on earth. They will be conquered by God himself,
alas, and probably without noticing it.
187. Athanasius the Great said of the Emperor Julian,
who was persecuting him to death, and whom he barely
escaped, that he was 'a cloud which would soon pass by'.
Less than two years later the cloud had vanished. Today
things are different. Perhaps because there is no Athanasius.
We must wait. Watch and pray!
188. How sad age would be without the joy of the young
over which to rejoice. But that, too, is only melancholy
without the hope of salvation.
189. What the preachers of Christ's words need is surely
a new voice, and a different manner. A c style' is always
necessary. Neither Peter, nor Ambrose nor Augustine nor
St. Thomas, nor Newman can have spoken just as they
thought, or without thought. But the style current now has
surely become a quite shapeless, rusty old container? Both
46 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
unnatural and contrary to nature, as well as unspiritual.
A painful, false note, enough to make a man of the present
day run away. Is there not a correlation between evil will,
erroneous thought and forced or false feeling (and what
may it be?) But my sight is feeble; I cannot follow the
threads, I only confuse them, or lose them.
190. I have long maintained that to find out where a
concept or a word really belongs is properly speaking a
philosophical task. It is something much more than etym-
ology as it is usually treated, which is only a valuable
scientific help towards a properly philosophical knowledge
of the different elements.
191. 29th April. Richard Wagner, 'Siegfried's death' on
the wireless. What a magician! Genuine barbarism, shaped
to the ears and moulded to the style of the bourgeois salon
of 1880 (they still exist today, in 1940). No wonder he is
regarded as the musical prophet of the incomparable
barbarism that rose up out of the decaying bourgeoisie.
192. Short dialogue: A: Good and evil undoubtedly cor-
respond best to the sphere of the will, true and false to
thought; that is where they are at home. But what about
feeling? At the moment I do not see any attributes that
corresponds to it in the same way. Perhaps the nearest
would be genuine and sham, only they go with true and
false; or friendly and unfriendly, which again, are related
to good and evil. How curious it is. Feeling is the most
difficult sphere of man's being to penetrate.
B: That is perfectly tcue, simply because feeling is so
inward, and in spite of its wealth, so inarticulate. It is the
'mode' of the very heart of being itself. Willing and thinking
are more distant, and are directed outward in the very
manner of their activity: they always have an object.
Feeling is, so to say, the first primary mode of being, of
complete being as spirit. It refers to being itself, and to the
condition of being. Everyone knows that immediately.
Only the reflective philosopher could make a mistake and go
astray as you seem to be doing, my friend. True enough, as
you say, good and evil belong immediately to willing, and
true and false to thinking therein you are undoubtedly
right. And then, you maintain, feeling has no such
immediate attributes, and by looking far afield you fail to
find what is so near at hand, all too near, as it would seem.
What then does being want to be, being in its highest
manifestation, in the person, what does it want to be? It
wants to be happy, and God, the source of all being is
happy and blessed.
Indeed, just as good and evil refer to willing, and true
and false refer to thinking, so happiness and blessedness
refer to feeling.
193. A scandalised question: Does God let Hitler do his
or His will?
194. 30th April. There is one thing that has come to
full maturity in me: the understanding that I do not
understand God : the sense of the Mysterium. That prevents
me from misunderstanding the things of this world.
195. The darkest hour of faith: when every human
standard and example fails one. Everything is nonsense.
196. The one holds he is guilty of everything, another
that he is not responsible for anything. Both are wrong,
nevertheless the former is nearer the truth.
197. 1st May. The right of what is established seems to
be relatively simple. Seems, I say; at least that is how
men behave, even though in truth it is far from simple.
But it is not so easy to formulate the right to conquest
and the right of the victor. There is disagreement upon
the very first principals. Has every man who is alive
48 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
the right to live by the mere fact that he is alive? Or is this
right determined by his situation, or by his capacities, or
his qualities? Do men and nations, in principle, exist for
one another or are they against one another? Does the right
of the stronger take priority over the right of the weaker?
If the concept "stronger 9 were simple, and that of 'weak'
too, then one might erect the proposition upon the basis of
nature, where it seems to hold good, at least as far as appear-
ances go. In actual fact, however, both concepts are so
ambiguous, that it is possible to grant a certain meaning to
paradoxes such as 'strength in weakness 5 and 'weakness in
strength 3 . In this aeon there is an impulse to conquer, and
from this it follows that there is also a right; but who can
formulate it? It cannot be formulated, except prophetically.
Of course, as long as a conquest happens peacefully, the
right of conquest creates no difficulty; and where there is
no wrong, there is naturally right. Only when, in addition,
it involves war, do the problems arise, and man alone
cannot answer them. The Jews were given the right by
God to conquer Palestine and to wipe out nations or deprive
them of their rights. We may take it that these peoples
were degenerate, and had forfeited their right. The same
might be assumed of the Inkas of Mexico, and even of
Carthage, or the Abyssinians of today. But the proof does
not always hold good. A great war is certainly always a
sort of judgment of God. And the right of the victor resides
in the fact that he puts through His will. That appears to
be his purely formal and absolute 'right 5 , no matter whether
his will is just or unjust.
198. 2nd May. Kierkegaard's category 'the sudden' came
to my mind all at once, today, in the garden. Quite sud-
denly, like lightning, a big black bird (a blackbird) flew
into the bush of brilliant white blossoms, at which I had been
gazing for some minutes sunk in thought. And then,
suddenly, my contemplation was disturbed, and my thoughts
759. With practice a man can accustom himself not to
deceive himself any more and to be honest with himself.
He may even be able to bring it to the point at which he
can deceive himself as little as he can deceive God. And
then, certainly, no one can deceive him.
200. Perhaps the Germans have made themselves into a
sort of spiritual cul-de-sac as a result of their apostasy. So
far and no farther! A blank wall in front of it a little music
still flowers, a few nature lyrics, some family affection, and
above all a perfectly functioning bureaucracy, hard work
and worst of all military efficiency.
201. Separated from the mood in which they are spoken
and from the voice that speaks them, words often lose half
their power and significance. Some poets, indeed, have the
gift of bringing the mood to life again, but the voice, the
lovely or the hideous voice, they cannot recapture. The
historian of the future, however, will find in the gramophone
record a source of primary importance for European history
at the present time which formerly only the contemporary-
historian possessed when he himself could hear the active
202. Old people often say and write things which they
look upon as wisdom and profound teaching, while others,
not indeed always the hearers, but the readers, speak of
commonplaces, banalities or even twaddle. Very often both
are right in their way. The e words of wisdom 3 of old people
may be banal in themselves, but they are wise because of
the depths of feeling and memoria from which they spring,
and because they themselves are wise. But they are easier
to see or to hear than to read.
203. It has always been recognised that the crown is
an essential part of the Imperium. That has been understood
in modern times by England, by Napoleon, by Wilhelm
50 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
and by Mussolini. The gipsy seems not to know it. But
perhaps it will occur to him later. He will design one for
his own use, and as impossible as himself.
204. Consider well that if we Christians were so wrong
that our religion meant nothing real, and was nothing but
invention, imagination, phantasy, nevertheless after two
thousand years we ourselves would be a reality by reason
of our intellectually complete system, through the power of
our faith and the life in our saints, which made us into Gods.
205. The proposal of a 'neutral aesthete': Why not let those
thorough Germans build the motor roads in Europe, and
organise the post and the railways and the fire brigades?
We will look after art and the things of the mind! For of
course we must remain neutral.
206. The strongest and most immediate unity is created
not by the same thought or the same will even, but by the
same feeling (the same memoria), in and upon which thought
and will rest, from which they spring and in which they
leave their traces.
207. The choice between falling into the hands of God
and into the hands of men, costs me no agony of indecision.
I wish to fall into the hands of God, however frightful it
may be. That is how I have understood every serious
sickness, full of thankfulness in suffering. What it means to
fall into the hands of men, I tasted for just half a day on
20th May 1933*
208. Hilty maintains that a German world hegemony
could only be justified upon the basis of the innate virtues
of fidelity and purity (he appeals to Tacitus). Fidelity and
*On this date Haecker was arrested by the Gestapo for the first time
and interrogated about his article on the Hakenkreuz which was about to
appear in the Brenner, a periodical published in Innsbruck.
purity 1940! Fidelity? How in the world is fidelity possible
after the apostasy from Christ except as a farce and a
caricature, as a horrible sort of gangster fidelity full of
nauseating romanticism. And parity? In a state proclaim-
ing a naked stud morality in the place of marriage.
209. c lf the Hottentots were to become Christians today,
they would still not be able to build the German Cathedrals 5 ,
says Herr Rosenberg, and thinks it is an argument in favour
of the racial doctrine and against Christianity. My God!
There has not been such a depth of idiocy in the west in
two thousand years. Indeed we are agreed, Herr Rosenberg:
the Hottentots would not build any German Cathedrals,
nor French ones for the matter of that certainly not.
Not even the Letts could do that, Herr Rosenberg: but a
Hottentot, and even a Lithuanian can become a saint and
210. 10th May. The invasion of Belgium and Holland:
yesterday the Frankfurter ^eitung wrote that strategically an
attack on Holland would be a mistake and nonsensical!
Why did it write that? From conviction? Simply out of
ignorance and stupidity. How can there be conviction in
Germany, when it is a sea of lies and is lost. Was it said
tactically? Strategically a mistake and nonsensical! Is there
a single idiot in the whole of Europe who does not know
that Germany wants the Dutch coast? And so why?
211. In the wars of this world, man fights against man,
not good angels against bad; even though it sometimes
seems, and perhaps really is so, above and beside men.
But the principal thing is : man fights against man, and as
men they are roughly alike, but they may be very different
where their mission is concerned, and as instruments.
212. Not every war is a judgment of God. But one can,
for example name the following: Greeks against Persians,
52 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
Rome against Carthage, the West against the Huns and
the Turks. And today, what are the Germans after their
apostasy? Are they not ?
213. Insults are thoroughly human because there are
things which are human and insulting. Insults can only be
misused because they can be rightly used. They are rightly
used when language does not otherwise do justice to the
thing, when the thing simply cannot be fully recognised
without an insult. The Son of God, made man, used the
most terrible insults of his time and people against the
214. The man who strikes the balance of the virtues is by
no means mediocre. The rifleman who hits the centre of
the target is no mediocre shot. And when he hits the bulls 3 -
eye doesn't he hit the middle of all the rings?
215. The German Herrgott-religion must, nevertheless,
distinguish itself from the religion of law of Jehova, for
better or for worse. For worse, without a doubt: today
the announcer with the dead German voice on Deutschland-
sender (O what the Germans have sent us, what a mission!)
made known the will of the German Herrgotfs elect. It is
not : an eye for an eye, a bomb for a bomb, but : five bombs
Technical progress has made man's two weapons super-
human and consequently inhuman: it has transformed the
word into the press, and the sword into the cannon. The
frightful thing is, that (without the direct intervention of
God) this necessarily favours the wicked, who make un-
scrupulous use of them.
21 6. It can now be seen that it is precisely the claptrap,
which seemed so harmless as such, that calls forth, supports
and maintains crimes and horrors on an unprecedented
217. Whit Sunday. 12th May. The fate and thus the task of
the German Christian is without parallel in history to which
he might cling, it is even without the remotest analogy
which, on a different level indeed, might serve as a guiding
thread. He is alone! Everything that he feels, thinks and
does has a question mark to it, questioning whether it is
right. The leadership of Germany today, and of this there
is not the faintest doubt, and it cannot be evaded, is con-
sciously anti-Christian it hates Christ whom it does not
name. We are making war against peoples and States which
although often only euphemistically Christian could not in
any single instance be called definitely anti-Christian. And
one cannot therefore avoid recognising the fact, that over
and above being a war of power it is a war of religion.
And we Germans are fighting this war on the wrong
side! We are, as to the majority, making war as willing
slaves, and as to the minority, as the unwilling slaves of a
government that has apostatized, strong in the passion of its
despair and in its despicable subjects, and all of us, the slaves
of slaves without honour ruimus in servitutum (are rushing
into slavery). From the very beginning, the repeatedly suc-
cessful trick of these inhuman beings, sent to plague Europe,
has been to combine, more or less, the special interests of
their basely impulsive, greedy natures, intellectually speaking
soulless and half-educated, with the true and genuine wishes
and claims of the German people, combining them by an
unprecedented skill in the art of lying. The climax of this
hellish art has now been reached. Who does not love his
country and his people by nature? There are innumerable
people who love it more than their fathers or their mothers,
their wives or their children, their brothers or their sisters,
which is why it is always dangerous and almost a crime to
over-excite this love. And who, then, will not instinctively
wish his country to be victorious in a war? But: we Germans
are on the side of apostasy. That is the German position.
Today is Whitsunday, but my spirit is heavy, and the shadow
of affliction is upon it. For I must live, whether the
54 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
apostate is victorious or defeated, and with him no,
that is not true: the German people will be beaten, but
not struck down and wiped out. The one ray of light in my
mind is this: it is better for a people to be defeated and
to suffer, than to win and apostatize. But if it were to
be victorious? I should not then give up my faith. I can
always pray: Lord, help thou my unbelief!
218. Almost everyone loves their country, and I have not
the slightest regard for those who are proud of it, like our
Fiihrer. But how many love God at all, not to speak of
loving him with their whole heart and their whole soul?
That is what makes it so easy for the seducers to lead a
people into the sin of apostasy; to turn the phrase, my
country right or wrong, which at least recognises the difference
between good and evil, into the simple apostasy: 'what
serves the nation is good and right'.
219. If a satirist were to imagine that he had to carry on
his work for centuries, endlessly, then he would be in hell. I
am speaking, of course, of the satirist who is a real man.
Karl Krauss once said to me: there must be an end; I
think he wrote it somewhere. And he meant it in all
seriousness. I think he did not wish for immortality in the
Christian sense. Hence my fear of satire; though I was not
without gifts for it and, what is more dangerous, enjoyed
it and took pride in it.
220. The uniqueness, the natural election of the Greeks,
manifests itself among other things in the fact that in
theoretical philosophy there will always be Platonists and
Aristotelians, and in practical philosophy stoics and epi-
cureans; for they incorporate attitudes of mind which exist
and will exist at all times, among Christians as well. On the
other hand, there will not always be Cartesians, or Kantians
or Hegelians, or even Schopenhaurians, and Nietzscheans.
They have had their day.
22 L 13th May. God will give victory to those who best
subserve his end, which is the Kingdom of God, now, but
above all in the future. Who that is, only God knows
beforehand, and those in whom he wishes to confide. Who
knows, perhaps God will decide in favour of the empire
which once again allows the martyr to stand out in his
original, visible form. And that would not be the democ-
racies. We know nothing. In the beginning of its existence
the Church was set in an empire that created martyrs.
Whether the German apostates are to take over this
task once again, and assume all the consequences, we do
222. Rejoinder: We must learn to keep every eventuality
in sight. To say, if this, that or the other happens, I should
despair, is certainly not a Christian standpoint. No doubt,
Kierkegaard knew perfectly well that it does not lie solely
in the power of man's will not to despair, but in the grace
of God. That is certainly true. Prayer then, is always the
223. There were probably many believers in the 16th
century who believed that the hope of the Church stood or
fell with the fate of Spain. And perhaps many despaired
when the Armada was defeated, and heretical England
triumphed* That is not of course comparable with what is
happening now, any more than Napoleon's victory would
have been comparable with Hitler's victory. Those are not
comparisons, one must work on a much larger scale. In
antiquity the victory of the Greeks over the Persians, the
victory of the Romans over the Carthaginians (the victory of
the Romans over the Greeks is secondary, the main decision
had already been reached), and in Christian times, the
victory of the Christian west on the fields of Catalonia over
the Mohammedans. No other analogy stands up to it. It
is no longer a war within the religion of the West. It is a
war against the religion of the West on one side, on the
56 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
German namely, O, but do we know that so clearly? Is
that, too, not known only to God?
224. A 'general rejoicing 9 and a 'general sorrow 3 , by which
is meant the joy and the sorrow of the 'nation 5 or of the
'State 3 , can never satisfy more than the middle region of man's
soul. It has heights and depths which are untouched by
this feeling, unless it is sick and has fallen away from God.
225. A friend of Scheler 3 s said to me: I have always
thought you were unjust towards Scheler. It is true that he
said that you had the art of saying things publicly to him
which were meant only for him, and which he alone under-
stood rightly. That is, of course, something I cannot judge.
But I think that you sometimes come very near to impugning
his bona fides as a thinker. I hope you will not question
mine, if I explain the following to you. I always find
your priests just about as stupid as possible, and using
expressions and phrases that do not deceive my ear, when
they announce that 'God permits evil 3 and what evil. I
always regret that I cannot put these priests before a con-
crete case, and study their faces. A child is slowly tortured
by its parents and dies. And since God sees all things,
does he not also see that he has permitted it, to use your
terminus tecknicus, in order, perhaps, to achieve something
good thereby, which would not have been possible pre-
viously. What would a powerful man be (and, to you, God
is allpowerful) who stood by and permitted it? A monster,
don't you agree? And God is love! You and your religion
have never been able to explain this and so many other
frightful things for example the absolutely useless suffering
of animals which according to you do not have immortal
souls and are guiltless more humanely and divinely, more
ethically and rationally, more soothingly to rebellious feel-
ings than Scheler: namely that God permits such things
because for the time being at any rate, he is still powerless.
Can't you see that you are the slanderer of God, you who
maintain that he allows a child to be martyred, lets millions
of animals suffer, although he could prevent it; and not us,
who say God cannot change things, because he is imprisoned
in a divine process, which some day perhaps will attain its
end in the omnipotence of the Good.
226. It is not only in an objective sense that the voice
which is Deutschlandsender is inhuman ; it is a mockery of the
supernatural life and the trinitarian God. That is for the
moment (18th May) the only reason why I think that God
will not let this pest win; but his Will be done! I believe,
I can no longer lose my faith, but: God, help thou my
227. It may be that the monumental cowardice of some
German Catholics and Protestants, trying to get rid of the
inward pest by means of outward events, will lead, as a
punishment, to hundredfold increase of this Pest, and what
is more through outward events. Then it will be a case
of mourir pour Dieu seul!
228. The faces of our Generals and officers reproduced
in the papers are all of a thoroughly uniform vitality,
clean, and stigmatised so to say, not by passions but by
thoroughness (Tiichtigkeit), often enough handsome in a
disagreeable sort of way, and in an absolutely terrifying way,
metaphysically empty. I have only to look at those photo-
graphs to hear their voices, identical with the voice of the
announcer of Germany's 'mission', and that is the only
thing which makes me doubt their victory, for in fact they
have the faces of conquerors.
229. Qua soldier, the German soldier is the strongest and
most frightful in the world because he does not need to
know what he is fighting for, and in point of fact, under the
Prussian hegemony, never has known. It does not occur
to him to ask. He is simply hypnotised by his favourite
58 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
calling, for which he has an immense talent. And even the
most depraved creature can catch his imagination at this
point, and lead the nation into the direst suffering with
absolute certainty. But it doesn't matter. The German
soldier will continue to function immeasurably better than
his machines, themselves quite good enough.
230. The paradoxical state of the world can be seen from
the fact that scoundrel helps scoundrel more than the
good, the good.
231. 19th May. Today the voice of the automat pro-
claiming the 'German Mission 5 announced one of the
thoughts of its Lord and Master. The verve and the fighting
spirit of the German soldier, as he overran Belgium and
Holland can only be compared with the power of the
Revolutionary armies that overran the whole of Europe and
spread the ideas of the French Revolution. These ideas are
antiquated; the future belongs to National Socialism. It is
very strange what can be said in times such as these, and it
seems as though it were a matter of complete indifference
what was said, at least in respect of the truth. Let us see :
the ideas of the French Revolution were liberty, equality,
fraternity. These ideas were stolen from Christianity, and
in some measure falsified and poisoned. But in themselves,
they were ideas capable of arousing enthusiasm, and rightly
so, understandably, for they are human. But now what are
the ideas of national-socialism? Without any doubt, the
exact opposite. Inequality in the place of equality, for the
whole movement goes back to an Essay by Gobineau on the
Inequality of Races. Unfreedom instead of liberty, for the
Fuhrer decides everything, even in science and art and above
all what comes first in man, in religion and faith. Not
fraternity, but enmity, for there is one race, which is superior
to all others, to whom it certainly cannot show fraternity,
and there are even races, like the Jews and the Poles, which
compared racially with the 'Arians 5 are sub-men^ certainly
not brothers. These then are the ideas which we are
bringing to the people of the world. And in their en-
thusiasm they will hardly recognise themselves. Though to
pretend that our soldiers are good soldiers where these
ideas are concerned is a fantastic contention.
232. Everything seems to be topsy-turvy: and it is harder
to bear victories than defeats. But what is upside-down and
who? That too is difficult to say. For if one attaches a
disproportionate weight to external things, it robs them of
weight and balance, and everything is topsy-turvy.
233. Nations, it is said, are just big children. True, but
they are also evil! And with leanings towards great crimes,
which is why they so often follow great criminals. They are
'naturally 5 stupid, and feel uncomfortable in the presence of
great cleverness. Their favourites must indeed be shrewd,
but at the same time stupid.
234. Vergil, the friend of Augustus, the greatest Emperor
of the Empire that is the model of all Empires; Vergil who
was so often able to express his horror of war, would today
be silenced in a concentration camp. That is one of the
characteristics of this accursed Reich, which by its express
apostasy from 'the Faith 5 , has fallen infinitely below an
235. Tantum die verbo say but the word said a Roman
Captain to the Son of God made man. And now the
Prussian Generals say it but to whom! Even the standard
of military honour is contained in the standard of Christ.
236. Victory and defeat are categories of human life in
this aeon, and correspond to joy and sadness. But the
victory of the good is not the same as the victory of evil, and
the defeat of good is not the same as the defeat of evil. In
the joy of the one lies perhaps the justice of God, and in
60 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
the other case, the hatred of hell. In the sadness of the one
there lies perhaps the peace of God, which is above all
reason; and in the other the despair of hell.
257. Does not the Gross of Christ stand threateningly
before every Christian in this form: that in the end Christ
was looked upon as the enemy of his people? This war is
the end of all National Churches desiring to be Christian.
238. The Catholic Church is very far from having recog-
nised the treasures of knowledge (and above all the know-
ledge of time in so far as it is related to the Kingdom of God),
and still less has it assimilated all the knowledge that has been
brought to light by men outside the Church, who loved
Christ with their whole heart. Catholic theologians have
behaved very poorly towards men like Blumhardt, Hilty
and Kierkegaard. They cannot even see the pure gold
shining through the dust of heresy they only see the dust.
And that is a great pity!
239. 22nd May. France has many saints, which is to say
that it is a country of prayer, for only a country where
many people pray produces many saints. At the present
time there must be many praying in France. But perhaps
it is laid down that they will not be heard for the present!
The Church knows that in most cases public prayers are
not heard, but she seldom ventures to say so.
240. How peace is to come, in any sense resembling the
pax romana, I do not know. To me, that is utterly obscure.
The most probable thing, it seems to me, is a state of ex-
haustion. But no peace!
Culturally a frightful desert. Everywhere. Most of all
in Germany. Southern Germany and Catholic Germany is
prussianised, irretrievably perhaps, and so destroyed. In
Italy, Fascism is a roller that levels everything flat. Will
England and France follow? America is unfortunately, as it
seems to me, too young a country. But I may be mistaken.
Ultimately that is a matter of indifference ; for the decision
does not lie there. Perhaps there will be none, none at all.
Lord, help thou my unbelief!
241. 23rd May. The unalterable law of 'the world 9 is
that evil is fought with evil, and that the devil is driven out
by Beelzebub. And so long as that remains unaltered,
Christianity is not victorious.
242. It is often said that the mark of the German is his
refusal to compromise. But up till now I have asked in
vain for examples. What about religion? There is no such
thing as German atheism in the uncompromising form in
which it exists in latin countries. The Germans still have a
sentimental divinity of woodland and stream, a lyrical,
rutting divinity. In the same way there is no such thing
as frank materialism in German philosophy it is all
second-hand though there has always been a halfway-
house philosophy, a 'biological' philosophy, a Lebensphilosophie.
In the Christian life the religious Orders have always been
uncompromising. Yet not one of the great religious Orders
was founded in Germany, not to speak of the really strict
ones. It is something quite different, I think, which has led
to this undoubtedly false assertion. It resides in the main
in an inebriated sense of the vast, and this prevents thought,
hinders right thinking based upon a natural and super-
natural sense of measure and proportion, given to us by the
philosophy of Aristotle and Plato and in the supernatural
by the Church. Hence the fiasco of German mysticism in
Eckhardt. And on a different plane, in the field of political
struggles, the reason why these struggles are so poisonous
and violent is not because there is purity in this will to
realise an idea recognised as true, without compromise, but
because there is an incapacity, clouded by feeling, to see
or to hear the right on the other side. It is very often
stupidity, and nothing more.
62 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
243. Are the Germans not lacking in two great and related
yet not identical qualities, and is this not the reason why
their history is wanting in the very deepest colours? Gfa-
erosite and magnanimitas! For the first we have no German
word at all, it is a specifically French thing. For the second
we have a resounding word; grossherzig, large-hearted. But
it is more a matter of German longing than of a German
reality. The German is not gtnereux, or at least very seldom;
and then it is a miracle. That is why there are no great
lovers in our literature and history for generosite is the gate
to great love, to natural as indeed to supernatural love!
With us it exists neither in reality nor in poetry. The only
exception might be Goethe, and he is a great European
rather than a great German. We have not got the great
lovers that all other European nations have, though they
make our hearts beat faster. Nor have we the great saints;
there were no saints at the Reformation, such as Thomas
More and Fisher; and they were both genereux. Magnani-
mitas is a political virtue: Augustus is its great representative
figure, and Vergil its incomparable poet. I think that some
of our Mediaeval Emperors shared in this virtue; and later
the Habsburgs knew it. The powerful Prussians, and
what comes from them today, are all 'small-minded 5 , the
opposite of large-hearted. And France dishonoured herself
in Versailles because it was small-minded, and is at this
moment doing penance for it, though probably only Tor
244. It is not every man who can be the 'scourge of God 3 .
Even Attila had to be chosen. The vanity of mankind is
mysterious and indestructible. The "scourge of God 3 is
proud of it, not so much of being 'the scourge of God 3 as of
245. Behind the frightful grimace of this world, there are
so many unhappy men. And now that you are old, you
should never forget that!
246. The Tower of Babel is always being built, and after
its destruction those who were building it will always say,
to the end of the world : 'We only missed by a hair's breadth.
It was only a very minor mistake, otherwise we should have
been successful' or: c lt was sabotaged, the Christian
poison . . . .'
247. The little whore called history in Germany today,
for sale to the feeblest individual, exploited by those without
honour who support the ruling clique, is not 'history'.
Although one might at a pinch, say that history was c made'
in Germany today, history is no longer 'written* in Germany.
That will happen elsewhere, or if it happens in Germany,
then it will be written by others.
248. Ever since men ceased to believe in eternal life, we
have had history in the place of the Judgment, history
which is not finished but flowing on, and which, if there is
no Judgment, will flow on for ever, into nothingness or the
Eternal Return of all things history, then, is the last court
of appeal. And the paradox is that history is suddenly to
be truth itself, justice itself, honesty itself! But history is
written by men, who either speak the truth, or lie, are just
or unjust. That is why history, humanly speaking and
without the guidance of God, is a very questionable matter.
The Gospel narrates the betrayal by Judas and the denial
by Peter with absolute objectivity. That is something quite
impossible in a purely human Party. Present day history,
an episode let us hope, certainly lies more than was ever
the case before. If God did not have other ways and pos-
sibilities, despair nowadays would be an understandable
way out, assuming always that man was concerned about
the truth. The most painful experience of those who seek
the truth is : that to the majority of men, the truth is just
about the most indifferent thing of all. Yet that is not quite
right. They do, in a way, desire the truth, but they are
afraid of the effort it requires. And so they believe the lies
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that are told them, not as lies but as the truth. That is
249. A propos the 'uncompromisingness' of the German.
I do not believe in it. Not at least in any failure to com-
promise where the development of a clear idea is concerned.
"Clear 5 is the operative word. That is where my principal
objection arises. Uncompromising and clarity are related,
and that is what the German mind lacks, except in the
relatively low sphere of technical matters. Though even
now, everything is not quite clear. What characterises the
German, what he has in a pre-eminent degree is : Eigensinn,
self- will, obstinacy. The history of the Reformation is only
too full of it. And Michael Kohlhaas is a purely German
figure. And his creator!* Self-will is the absolute enemy of
love, and above all of the love of God. Self-will and sanctity
are utterly incompatible.
250. 26th May. If I were to die today (and since the
14th March"]* I no longer fear death as such, on the contrary,
how welcome it would be!), were I to die today, replete
with sadness and melancholy, like all those of this world who
are mellow and ripe with years, seeing only darkness ahead,
the return of the dark ages in fact I should not die in
despair. It seems as though nothing could now rob me of
faith. May it remain so! O God, may it remain so! If I
were to die today, in complete disagreement with the ruling
spirit of the people to whom I belong, I should not die in
despair, and might not that be a temoignage? For today
one may surely be sad, may one not? Is that not so?
Difficulties I may have, and live under a cloud, but I also
have an infallible method: when the difficulties become too
great I throw myself upon God who is inconceivable. The
inconceivableness of God hides me. Not it alone, of course,
* A story by Heinrich von Kleist the motto of which might be fat
justitia pereat mundus.
t The day of Haecker's arrest.
but God's grace. It bears me up upon the abyss. I should
not die in despair. More I will not say, for I would not lie.
And I also see the hour when I shall no longer be able to lie.
251. When I am told that the German youth of today, the
official youth, know nothing of two thousand five hundred
years of Christian and adventist history, know nothing of it,
do not wish to know anything of it and cannot be moved
by it, I know it is true and I am sad. But when I am told
that there is none among them who in his inmost being
is moved by it, then I feel cheerful once again, for I do
not believe it, and it is not true. They exist, and they
are the aristocracy of the youth of this country. They will
live under a cloud, as I do. But they will stand in the glory
of an eternal light, as I shall do. And they will know it,
as I too do.
252. I never cease to wonder at our capacity to wonder;
My wonder is inexhaustible for wonder. Why do we feel a
sense of wonder? Does it not presuppose that the mind which
marvels is in a sense a stranger to the 'being' in the presence
of which it marvels? A perfectly normal man may fall to
wonder at things which are strange and unusual to him; but
he does not wonder at everyday things and the customary
things with which he has grown up. Philosophy begins with
wonder at the usual, everyday thing, but does that not imply
a gulf between 'being* at which I wonder and me, who am
in wonder? Me! Who and what am I? Do I not belong to
'being'? So that what is it that makes me wonder, ulti-
mately, if not I myself? Who is it then, that wonders. And
one's thought is engulfed in a sense of giddiness. Is it being
that wonders at being? Does God, in fact, wonder? And
these are but the reflections of the impotence of our under-
standing, in face of the inconceivability of being.
253. Rejoinder. One can never tire of wonder O, yes,
I do, when I receive no answer.
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254. Pain sometimes pulls a man together, so that he
should not dissolve in pleasure; for just as in the end
pleasure is a solvent, pain draws one together. And looking
round one often finds that the naturally pleasure loving
individuals are exposed to the severest physical pain. There
must be a certain natural compensation at work here.
255. Rejoinder: Whatever makes you complain that Justice
is wanting in this world? Is it not perfectly just that, when
it has dominated long enough one nation's lie should be
exchanged against another nation's lie? And so it goes on.
That is e jusf, and the world needs nothing more.
256. After the war certainly, perhaps even during the war,
the social Revolution which is moving towards the complete
extinction of the bourgeois order, will no doubt keep
nationalism down to some extent. In any case, it had passed
its zenith with the German madness of a natural, racial
Elect. Even were Germany to be temporarily victorious,
it would relinquish the principle of nationalism still further
in favour of the Imperial principle.
257. 29th May. In the heart of which nation has God
placed the mysterious, hidden certainty and expectation of
victory? I do not know. And yet this is the nation which
will be victorious, so that it does not matter what it may
portend in other respects.
255. Ultimately it is the Kingdom of God which is at
stake, and the war is about the Taith'. And to which
people, factually, will the commands of the Trinitarian God
be given? It will receive the leadership of mankind from
God, quite regardless of what race it belongs to.
259. 31st May. It is because the ultimate and the highest
cause of this war is the hatred of Christ and the Kingdom
of God, that Mussolini's f policy is so disgusting and
despicable. Simply for the sake of his romantic Imperium
he supports the Reich of Antichrist. Mussolini, it is said,
will attack today or tomorrow. His European name is
260. Who takes the sword shall perish by the sword.
Every Reich will perish by the weapons with which it was
founded and sustained. The weapons of Christ's Kingdom
were, in the beginning, and must remain: faith, hope and
love. Go to it, then, all of you who wish to conquer
the Kingdom of Christ, and you are many today, go
to it: with the weapons of faith, of hope and of love: the
Kingdom of Christ will lie at your feet. You will have
261. Nowadays, can anyone in Germany who is not a babe
at the breast express his immediate feelings directly? Are
they not immediately snuffed out at their very birth by that
frightful apparatus called Propaganda? Are they not
deformed, or better still twisted out of the true with lies
into a National feeling', an artificial product, claptrap!
What inhuman results are bound to follow!
262. If this war is just a war between 'Plutocrats' and
'Have-nots', between Capitalists and Socialists for the goods
of this world, or their division, then in an insane way it is
laughable, and of course criminal, to heap up mountains
of corpses for such a matter. But I do not believe it. Wars
like this are fought for higher things.
263. The man who explicitly does not believe and does not
will to believe (for the will to believe belongs to believing)
in an eternal life, that is to say in a personal life after death,
will become an animal, an animal being which among other
things, man is. Man is 'planned as spirit', as Kierkegaard
puts it, but that includes the immortality of the soul. Who-
ever relinquishes that also gives up the spirit of man.
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264. Those who give up all spirituality and consequently
life after death, can only regard marriage as a stud. And
that is what the German state does officially, without any
shame whatsoever. And they think the hegemony of the
West will fall to them? But, my friends, then it would
simply not be the West any more!
265. One is constantly allowing oneself to be impressed
by German thoroughness and their superficial decency,
forgetting the German Herrgott-religion that lies behind it,
that is certainly an abomination to God! I martyrise a
whole people and then call heaven to witness, and shout
on the wireless, when a couple of my people are oppressed
(perhaps! it may of course be a lie), and I believe in my
right to do both (the average German does). Has the like
ever happened before? I don't believe it. It is an appalling
degeneration, or is it perhaps c our norm 5 ? Then let each one
of us do penance! Mea culpa!
266. That things first of all sound right, and that dis-
sonance comes afterwards is the first principle of my
philosophy. And so : Good comes before evil, Truth before
the lie, and the beautiful before the ugly. That is my whole
267. 'Terror 5 is the discovery of fallen spirits. It is a
spiritual weapon of the soul aimed by evil against good and
evil, a weapon which is not, consequently, like material
arms, indifferent in itself, but which is evil in itself. It
may not be used by good men, it cannot be used by them,
because it makes them themselves evil. Terror is the dis-
covery of anarchical spirits. It is the weapon of anarchists,
using this word as the opposite of those who believe in hier-
archy. For those are the two poles : Anarchy against hier-
archy. The kingdom of antichrist is essentially anarchical.
The 'organisation' of Anarchy and Terror is sometimes
deceptive. At the present time, in Europe, Terror is
organised by the 'Germans'. (It is difficult nowadays to
speak of Germans and not of the 'Germans'). The gift of
organisation is to a certain extent 'natural' to the German :
it must be related to their vocation (betrayed) for dominion
and for the Reich. It is really the German organisation of
Terror which makes it so frightful.
268. Tear ye not'. Almost all the messages of the angel
of God to man begin with these words; and today they
have acquired a special significance. 'Abyss calls to abyss',
the hellish abyss of organised terror awakes in us a sense of
the heavenly terror, of the divine 'fearlessness 5 . We live in
the night of faith, and it is our only light. To him that is,
whom God has led so far that he grasps it in prayer and peace,
which is above all reason.
269. Everything has its time, but in the same time; that is
much more difficult to grasp or even to perceive in general,
than that everything has its place, though in one space, for
that is only a weak analogy of the first, a flat, one-dimen-
sional analogy of the depths of the individual rhythm of
time within 'contemporaneity'. Every musical time has its
time, but within the time of the rhythm and the melody:
another feeble image.
270. 1 /2nd June. Newman's theory respecting the strange
coincidence of natural events at particular moments, as signs
of divine providence, came to mind as I read that the
weather was misty. That is how the Cardinal, were he
still living, might have understood it: an angel smoothed
the channel which is normally rough at this time of year,
and spread the darkness of mist and fog over the sea at the
same time. And so ten thousand were saved.
271. To the German Herrgott-religion: Your Priests are
lyrical, emotional, or technical in their activity rather than
theological. From time to time one must explain their Credo
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to oneself. The German Hengott-religion does not promise
eternal life or the resurrection of the body. That much is
certain. It appears however to promise the eternal con-
tinuance of the German people. And that of course, is pure
nonsense. This planet had a beginning, and it will also
cease to be. It is really astonishing that the Germans, so
proud of their science, should swallow such nonsense. I
can believe something, the ultimate sense of which is con-
cealed from me. And as a Christian, I do so. But I cannot
believe something that has no meaning at all. The German
Hengott-religion proclaims that whatever serves the people
is right (law). This proclamation is affirmed in countless
speeches and written works. It is not, of course, so meaning-
less, new and original as the first proposition. It is quite in
line and consonant with the Human, the All-too-Human.
What is new is the radical way in which this self-evidently
false axiom is put into practice, the undiluted shamelessness
and the boundless hypocrisy. In all other cases, nations are
either shameless or hypocritical. The combination of the two
was not to be foreseen, but it has been achieved. In his own
sphere the German Herrgott is not illogical. For example in
the teaching on marriage and sexual morality which he
imposes upon his believers. This, too has been made per-
fectly clear by its preachers, both in public and secretly,
as clearly as the conception of law. The best one can say
for it is that it reduces man to an animal, it is a stud-farm
morality. The soul of a spiritual man, it consumes with
disgust. It remains to be seen if there are any spiritually
minded men among the Germans. The Catholic Church will
have to watch out that the fruitfulness which its teaching on
marriage inculcates, is not confused with the animal fertility
of the German Herrgott. They mix like fire and water.
272. It is quite conceivable (a subject for comedy) that a
man who alone, among many, correctly foretold a disaster,
in which he himself is involved, should get pleasure from his
suffering because he was right, because he knew it. It is
curious how universal man's will to be right is, to have been
right. How does it arise? Perhaps it implies that he
values knowledge, simply as knowledge, a fact which does not
otherwise come to light among men.
273. The Germans will not, like the Greeks and Romans,
write their own history. The Germans have made it im-
possible for themselves to write that history. Since the
Reformation, and still more so since the apostasy, they can
only write party histories, necessarily full of lies. I have
always said that Prussia is a provincial thing, even though it
develops for a moment as it does now, into a monster. And
being provincial, Prussia does not write its own history itself.
274. Le mieux est Vennemi du bien 'The better is the enemy
of the good', is a sentence concealing great suffering and
very many difficulties. This epigrammatic, this almost sad
expression of the objective situation, and of the fact that
there exists at the same time a good and a better between
which a man is free to choose, may easily lead to confusion
and to misunderstanding. The better is not, in itself, and
in the sphere of pure being, the 'enemy' of the good (they
are ordered hierarchically, peacefully, compatibly, one
beside the other), but only in the transposed and com-
parative language, which is the language of the will and its
struggles, where man can rise from 'the good 3 to 'the better 3 .
There are many to whom this represents the very essence of
tragedy, indeed of 'Christian' tragedy; but that is only a
confusion of terms. The young man who did not follow
Christ's invitation to seek the 'better' in the place of 'the
good' is not a tragic figure. The mystery goes deeper, and
lies beyond the conception of 'guilt' which belongs to
tragedy, lies in the sphere of 'love 3 itself and its unfathom-
ableness, in the growing sacrifices through which it descends
into itself. God would have been c good' even though the
Eternal Son had not become man, God would have been
'good' even though the Eternal Son made man had not been
72 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
sacrificed on the Cross. And the man who discovers that the
better is the enemy of the good is on the track of this divine
love and not of tragedy.
275. German idealism, in Kant and Fichte, is a Prussian
affair. Schelling belongs elsewhere; he was a spontaneously
speculative mind and a gnostic. Hegel too was originally
a great speculative mind, but as happened again and again
with so many south German minds, he became infected with
Prussianism and was corrupted. Prussian idealism took the
heart of flesh and blood from the German and in its place
gave him one of iron and paper. The German heart is now
a material all of its own, of paper and iron, claptrap and
act. That is really the 'inhuman 3 quality of the German
as a Prussian product.
276. The association of duty and claptrap is what really
dehumanises man. It is a characteristic Prussian-German
discovery. It is twofold in its consequence: a man does his
duty for the sake of claptrap, or: his duty is no more than
claptrap. Both things happen today. But there is still some
sound sense in the world and it will defend itself with both
hands against this inhuman conception. Even Frederick
IPs words about being the servant of the state was a mere
claptrap. He was much more honest when he admitted
that he fell upon Silesia out of vanity and longing for fame.
As far as Prussia is concerned, it is enough to make the
very concept of duty hated, to make people forget its truth
and its justification.
277. Dictatorships are always a 'feverish* condition. We
know from the life of the individual how long a fever can
last* The same thing is true of the moral life of a people.
It is not the norm.
278. My impression is strengthened as time goes on, that
the Germans and the Jews have something in common
which is not found elsewhere among European peoples.
Only a German Christian can cut himself off from the
immediate destiny and the immediate history of his people,
as the Jewish Christian has always done, from the beginning
down to the present day, without cutting himself off from
it spiritually and in respect of the history of our salvation
on the contrary : the importance of this cannot be exagger-
ated. But it is hardly noticed. Even on the natural plane
there is an analogy to this fact. It is only among Germans
that so many thinkers of distinction, on the purely natural
plane and that is to say without the Christian love of the
true Christian have taken up an attitude violently antag-
onistic to their own people, beginning and how signifi-
cant that is with Luther, and continuing with Holderlin,
275. This war confirms my thesis that quantity creates a
kind of quality. Twenty thousand tanks are not merely
arithmetically more than two thousand tanks, they are
something other, and they act as a quality. It is as a result
of this quality that the Germans are at present winning.
Only one ought to recollect that no other quality is so easy
to imitate as this one, even in its effects. It is the lowest
form of quality, somewhere between quantity and quality.
280. It looks as though victor and vanquished were alike
intoxicated with the thought that this is the greatest battle in
the history of the world. Never was the primacy of quantity
in this technical age more clearly demonstrated ad oculos, nor
indeed the meaning of vanitas vanitatum more clearly shown.
281. The hour of evil is the hour in which the devil does
greater 'miracles' than God.
282. A curse on every wish that blurs the sight, paralyses
the tongue, cramps the hand and prevents the truth being
seen, said and written.
74 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
283. Apart from e the faith 9 the only choice is between the
'inadequate 3 and the 'absurd 5 . Bourgeois Europe chose the
'inadequate' ; and was followed in this choice by the Fascists.
Individual geniuses prefer some "absurd 3 or other, usually
gnostic in origin or nature, like Schelling and Scheler, or
of a private nature, like Nietzsche (the Eternal Recurrence)
or Rilke (Weltinnenraum) . The faces of those who chose
the inadequate as a religion are, so to say, one-dimensional.
They themselves talk of health and harmony. One cannot
deny .that at the moment a tremendous effort is being made
with the help of the religion of the inadequate, the religion
of 'this world 3 , to master the life of man and to lead it.
Ultimately the attempt is a battle against God, and the most
terrible decision He could make would be for the attempt
to be allowed to succeed that would be the end of Europe.
284. 14th June. Entry into Paris. If the Germans were
real pagans they would surely feel something like fear of
the envy of the Gods. But they are worshippers of the
'inadequate 3 and find it perfectly in order. Or am I mis-
taken? Has God not yet deserted us?
285. 'To say what is 3 is difficult indeed when being is
transitory. And what being is not except the being of God,
that we do not know? The most lasting, the truest, and the
nearest expression of reality is ultimately: everything is
transitory and its variations.
286. I entertain no doubt that the religion of the most
primitive peoples is of a depth unplumbed by comparison
with the German Herrgott-religion, which has never been
equalled for blasphemous shallowness and simple brutish-
ness. Behind every primitive religion there is always some-
thing, a fullness that has not been plumbed, through which
man has not seen. Behind the German Herrgott-religion there
is vacuity, emptiness and nothing else, the same unending
nothing which was, moreover, at the back of German
idealism, only that its facade made a finer impression. And
of course the German Herrgott-religion has its own voice, the
voice of the announcer of the 'German mission' the
287. It is always a good thing to meditate from time to
time on the commandments, general and particular, of the
Herrgott-religion. Thus: Whatever is useful to the German
people is Right; cannons rather than butter; the individual
is nothing, the people everything; there is one race, of which
the German people is the mind and the heart, a race that
has created out of itself everything that is great and good
in the world. That is the gospel which the heavily armed
missionaries of the German Herrgott-religion have to bring
to all the peoples of the world.
288. Nothing is so successful, visible, direct, quantitively
calculable, and consequently capable of being foretold, as
technical progress, the daughter of mathematical science.
'Success' is the accompaniment of technique. The nation
which devotes itself to technical progress is successful.
Probably, or even certainly, it can only be bought at the
cost of the loss of one's soul. Man is quodammodo omnia (in
a sense all things) and so too a machine. Theoretically and
philosophically Fhomme machine is a French discovery, but
it has been realised in practice to the furthest limits of
possibility by Prussian Man who was victorious over the
289. 'Success*, in so far as it can be calculated, included
in one's reckoning, and is therefore a 'gain 3 which has been
earned, is the exact contrary of God's blessing, which is, in
an absolute sense, gratis. No worldly, or demoniacal copy
is possible, or can ever hope to replace it. A blessing is
visible, even naturally, but it appears as it were visibly out
of the invisible, whereas success is the result of something
visible. While success is explained away in the reckoning,
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a blessing is always a mystery. Success is part of nature, it
is almost the product of nature, prepared and arranged
by man as technique. A Blessing is divine. The least
successful of men and peoples may be blessed by God, and
the most clamorous success may be a curse. And the
confusion of these two things and concepts has today
produced the most terrible confusion of mind. The 'pro-
phetic 5 voice of the Church is dumb, as though her prophetic
office were suspended. Does that too belong to the hour of
evil? And every individual man is left to fumble his way
through the night. Success is not simply a blessing, nor is
failure simply a curse. Nor is the reverse true, as Christians
have often thought.
290. If Christ did not rise from the dead, then Christians,
in the words of St. Paul, are fools. That is the brutal
formulation given by the Jew, who cannot imagine happiness
without relation to the body. And with that he is probably
nearer the reality of being than the idealistic European,
who as a Christian would naturally also regard himself as
lost and deceived if Christ did not rise again from the dead.
Yet he would no doubt express himself differently from the
fleshly Jew: If Christ did not rise from the dead, then God
does not exist then Christ is God, and we too are Gods,
and better than all those who have been held as such
to that extent we are not deceived, for what is the pleasure
of seventy years compared with our idea? Or again, he
might say : even though God were still to exist, he neverthe-
less treated Christ shamefully, and so Christ is greater. But
how despairing it all sounds, tie Jew as well as the Greek
if Christ did not rise again. Et resurrexit!
29L The German Herrgott-religion is a 'Weltanschauung'
this side of every true religion, and of every true metaphysic.
In this it is nearest of all to Islam, although Moham-
medanism had a primitive belief in immortality. The Ger-
man Herrgott-religion is also a child of German idealism,
which in its turn was an offspring of the German heresy.
In Kant it immediately reached a high point, and continued
with Fichte, Hegel and their lesser followers. Schelling, a
gnostic, and Schopenhauer, a disciple of Indian thought,
were both metaphysicians. But they are both without
influence on the Herrgott-religion. As a substitute for the
first principle of religion (which is the love of God) it has a
conception of honour run mad, and as a substitute for true
metaphysics, the first principle of which is Being and the
primacy of the spirit, it has an infantile mystical conception,
Blut und Boden, blood and soil.
292. 23rd June. The soul of the man who only has ears
for the noise of these times will soon be miserably impover-
ished. He will soon be found to be deaf to all reasonable
293. Rejoinder: The men of today, my friend, feel the
need of salvation far less than the man of two thousand years
ago. They even find life in hell quite bearable, because
they do not see that it is hell, do not feel the need of salvation.
How should they feel any need for salvation? Who still
thirsts after justice? They drink injustice like water, they
even taste it like good wine. Who still hungers after truth?
Lies are their daily bread, and they cannot live without it.
And as with truth and justice, so with purity and love.
And then: they only believe in this life, they do not
believe in the immortality of the soul. And in the last
extremity salvation is immediately to hand: death, freely
chosen death, or as it used to be called, self-slaughter.
The age, my friend, is not propitious for a religion of
294. To taste the happiness of an hour, and the hour itself,
as time, as duration in the past, is a thing of age, and not
for youth, unless it is that a man is predestined to an early
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295. When a man perceives that the person he is talking
to simply cannot see the things about which he is talking,
then he should stop talking.
296. Man's power is great. Wherever he goes, he alters
the face of the earth. He cannot certainly put out a star,
or set another alight. But I am careful in denying the
possibility that some day cosmic forces may be used. There
is a great deal to be awaited from that quarter.
297. Two thousand years of Christianity ought finally to
have inculcated the lesson that power, of whatever kind,
is not the means by which to make a man a Christian. It
is contrary to the will of God, though he may at times wish
a man to seize the kingdom of God by power. In the first
instance violence is done to man's freedom; in the second,
a man exalts and magnifies his own freedom. And freedom
is what is in the balance! It is in the mode of freedom that
God created man, and how much more so the Christian,
the homo spiritualis. How gently God, the all-powerful, handles
the free will of his saints! Until he has led them to an
inexplicable union with Him. And he can only lead them
once they have given him their will. God desires the
Will of man.
298. The richer Bemg is, the more images it requires for
its description and the more inadequate every particular
image is. The art of rightly using images is indeed rare.
Some writers are all too logical and rationalistic, the
image is drawn down to the last detail, as though an image
(of speech) had to coincide in every detail with the thing it
purposes to represent. A great error in the language of
imagery, for often just a couple of strokes, one or two
colours of the appropriate image are enough, and express
the whole genius of an image. Others, inferior writers, are
just bunglers producing a daub: a donkey serves not only
as the image for a horse but for a lion.
299. The command to love: thou shalt love God with
thy whole heart .... creates such great difficulties for the
philosopher of this world that there are many who hold it
to be nonsensical. Love cannot be commanded, compelled,
they say, and of course they are right. If anything must
come Trom the heart 5 , must be free and without cause, so
to speak, it is love. It is driven away rather than enticed by
a command. But the obligation of the first and principal
commandment is above all else an objective command, at
least in the first place; it demonstrates the divine order, it
asserts : the right and true relation of man to God is love,
and indeed love from the whole heart, with the whole mind,
with all one's strength. And in fact an obligation may be
understood in several ways. On the basis of this eternal
order and of this eternal being as it should be, the individual
man can do a great deal subjectively without doing the
impossible, or doing under compulsion what can only be
done freely: loving. The commandment does not say:
thou shalt love under compulsion, which is impossible in
the sense that one can work under compulsion; the com-
mandment is that thou shalt love. That is perfectly in order,
it is an order which can only be overturned because it is
based upon freedom. It is certainly to be observed that if
love without freedom is neither possible nor real, neither is
freedom possible or real without love. The love of God is a
spark in the heart of man, a natural disposition, something
in fact which he does not make himself. c To have to' do
something always implies that the will is directed either
towards c willing* or towards willing something in par-
ticular. In the sphere of freedom, in which love belongs,
e to have to' means that I mast make room for freedom,
'prepare the way'. Love itself comes freely, like grace, to
which it belongs.
300. Am deutschen Wesen soil die Welt genesen The world
shall profit from the Germans and it is not said for the sake
of the rhyme, it is said in all seriousness, it is really meant.
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In any case the contrary, so much more probable, also
rhymes: am deutschen Wesen soil die Welt verwesen they will
corrupt the world. Solus ex Germanis, that is what is meant.
Not salus ex Judaeis. The history of the world, or rather
sacred history, is to be overturned. I am horrified when I
see and hear to what an extent people underestimate this
apostasy. Their attitude to the Christian religion is not
simply machiavellian, or napoleonic, or fascist, a purely
political attitude, bent upon bringing Christianity under
their dominion; no, they mean to destroy and supplant it.
Salus ex Germanis: A German saviour and bearer of light
is to replace Christ. What a good thing he has been photo-
graphed so often and that his voice has been recorded. They
will bring a moral, a religious, and what is more a material
misery upon the world that we can only imagine with
difficulty, that only the apocalyptic author on Patmos and
here and there one of God's saints has seen in the spirit;
all that will be fulfilled, if God wishes to wait. How dark
everything is before our eyes.
301. It is not easy to take the principles of Christianity
and to deduce how a Christian should behave in a concrete
case in order to be, without any doubt, a Christian. For
Christianity is not a philosophical problem composed of
lifeless, abstract principles. It is, on the contrary, of its very
principles that every individual can always be under the
living providence of the living God in every particular case
and then there is nothing to deduce, for God is freedom.
Nevertheless, it is easier (since deduction is in any case
easier than induction), than to argue from the life and acts
of, say, our present governors, to their faith. What sort of
a faith can these men have? Perhaps one can get behind it
by adopting the via negaiionis. They cannot believe in an
eternal life, for then they would have to believe in an
eternal judgment. Their lives and acts, however, show
clearly that they do not do so. Or else they act thus and
coerce their real inner belief; that may of course be so.
All that I can and wish to say is that their public life and
acts presuppose a belief which would lead a man who thinks,
and who recognises the demands of logic in the right place,
into a lunatic asylum or into some agonising intellectual
inferno. Their belief is wholly limited to this world, and with
this belief they believe they will prosper, that with it one is
the strongest and can command all others, and that to this
end everything is allowed except the breaking of a certain
arbitrary, chance code of honour, changing according to
circumstances, and with the exception of a few generalities,
applicable to every warlike people: a romantic, barbaric
form of infantilism. The metaphysical kernel of their belief
in this world, as a substitute for religion, contains the
following absurdity: the eternity of the German nation in
a world which is not itself eternal. If we believe that, then
we shall exactly fulfil what the German Herrgott demands
of us. That is the belief which is offered to the German
people as a substitute for Christianity. Those who do not
confess this belief are, at the very least, unworthy of taking
part in public life. Our pre-Christian forefathers did not of
course believe in any such nonsense. And that is only made
possible by the semi-education which sets the standard (if
one may use the word) today.
302. Certain words and phrases are acquiring a psycho-
logical usage which quite prevails over the original, purely
logical, sense. For example, a man says : I heard footsteps and
tried to interpret them. But the man who made them was not
the one I expected. I was disappointed. Logically that means
he was in error and was then freed from it. But in present-
day language he says more, namely that he would have
preferred the man who, in error, he expected, to the man who
actually came. In the opposite case he would have said : I
made a mistake, or possibly: I was agreeably disappointed.
30 3. 7th July. The dove! Companion of the oracular
gods in the first dark advent. Messenger of Salvation and
82 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
sign of the Holy Spirit shall I fashion my Ode, impres-
sionist in its beginning, theological in its end? Eternity
must be morning, noon, evening and night, for how should
I do without any one of them? And the voice of the dove :
bless us, O powerful Spirit and say: Amen. The clear
sayings and the dark contradictions betray the night of my
thought and my weakness. Through hearing I came to the
word, and through the word to the form: and out of word
and form there arose the poem.
304. How sovereign is Pascal's observation which came
to my mind as I listened to the announcement of a victory :
One could overlook the fact that the youth, Alexander,
wished to conquer the world, but at his age Caesar should
have known better. We are now in the process of learning, if
it does not drive us mad, the infantile assumptions concealed
behind this kind of Gloria Mundi. Still, perhaps that is to take
the world trap cavalierement. Perhaps God loves those simple
minds that give their lives for 'wealth and honour 5 rather
than the proud man who despises the normal life of this
world, to which belongs war and conquest. In that there
is no doubt some truth, but where the Germans of today are
concerned the thing is : what does it profit you to win the
whole world and to lose your soul! It is no longer a matter
of childishness and youthfulness, but of a sickly infantilism
which is at once guilt and punishment.
305. Not every grape is capable of fermenting nobly. A
'culture 9 is presupposed. Thus in literature there is a certain
aristocratic boredom. It presupposes a culture, and its
greatest name is Adalbert Stifter.
306. 10th July. And so after all it is possible that a man
knowing that he will fall into madness, should nevertheless
acquiesce beforehand, and commend his spirit to God
before collapsing into the abyss: Lord, into thy hands,
into thy hands
307. There is the dew of tears on all beauty in this aeon.
308. How difficult it is to imagine what man can have
been before the fall, not so much, of course, in the abstract,
but in the concrete. Moreover the difficulty lies in the fact
that the whole of nature would be different, and even in
this aeon it can sometimes be different for the Saint:
309. There can be no doubt: whoever is convinced that
only this world exists, that there is no eternal life for the
individual person, then as ruler he must see to it that
Christianity is stamped out, for it presupposes all that. He
must also fight with all his might, with poison and deafening
noise, against the merely natural longing of mankind for
eternal life which was fulfilled through Christ. The doubt
remains, however, whether a man can be as absolutely con-
vinced that life is wholly and entirely of this world, as of
the fact that England is an island, for example, and whether
he does not merely wish it so for some reason or other (often
transparent enough). In that case it is not his judgment
which is in question, but his intention and his will that
decides the matter.
310. Spernere sperm (despising contempt) is only possible
in God. Every unbaptised (and in the ultimate sense)
unredeemed spirit is proud. The subtlest pride is in the
humblest. The man who does not want to be noticed,
nevertheless wants this to be noticed. And here I can only
praise the politicians; they are not so refined.
311. Nature is stronger than culture as soon as culture
relaxes its effort for a moment. How quickly a cultivated
rosebush goes back to its wild form, and how vulnerable
and breakable is the culture of man. And this is the fact
that the politicians of today overlook with incredible levity.
The very fame they desire presupposes the culture they are
84 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
in the process of destroying. And what then of their fame?
O 5 if only they suspected how quickly men will not only
despise them but forget them. They are fed to the teeth
312. A politician who knows his job catches men (leaving
aside the crudely material basis of which he is not absolute
master) not so much through honour, which presupposes a
moral person, whereas he needs a mere instrument, 'num-
bers', but rather through the desire for honours or ambition
which is among the lowest and most childish of passions.
An ambitious man, desiring honours may perfectly well
be so distant from any conception of honour that he is
capable of the most contemptible and disgraceful actions
towards others. Honour is based upon the hierarchic order-
ing of the human 'being 5 , that is to say upon the recognition
of that order. If the order is perverted and truth falsified,
then honour is reduced to a miserable and dangerous
caricature of itself. There is a'positive' honour, just as there
is a positive law, a natural honour and a natural law. If
I falsify the natural law with the proposition 'what serves
the nation is right', I falsify honour at the same time, for
honour is necessarily bound up with the preservation of
the law. Whoever subscribes to that false proposition
enjoys the highest honours in the State which proclaims it,
but in truth, in the true and indestructible order, he is
without honour. The State which turns marriage into a
stud must in this matter, order the man to seek his honour
in being a bull, and the woman in being pregnant as
often as possible, and in leaving the man who cannot
make her pregnant. Both must commit the most dis-
honourable actions when judged by true standards of
313. A note on the word 'disillusioned 5 . The usage of
this word is most instructive philosophically. It assumes
that as a rule a man prefers to be deceived than to be
disillusioned. In a truthful world there would be no such
thing as deception, and in a world in which the love of truth
came before everything a deception would always be looked
upon as a misfortune and disillusionment regarded as a
blessing because it means literally that one is taken out
of an illusion. But custom shows that the illusion is nearly
always preferred, and the disillusion that follows is un-
welcome. The old saying is confirmed: mundus vult decipi,
the world wants to be deceived.
314. The colossus of mediocrity who himself produces
colossal effects, was produced by the German apostasy, is
maintained by it, and will be brought to end by it. The
password of the archangel Michael is: Who is like God!
Basso the Prince of mediocrity asks: Who is like me! He is
a colossus, colossally destructive, the engineer of a colossal
Reich, and of a colossal culture. He uses the language of
mediocrity, unending superlatives.
315. In c an evil hour 5 everything is falsified by over-
simplification and false comparisons. Good and evil are
alike, success is the criterion of the good and every means is
316. The difficulty with all conversations is that the two
speakers do not really understand one another. But although
this is true in principle of all men, there are of course
differences of degree to be taken into account. A man can
only understand another in God. Men do not, however,
need to know whether, at the moment they are talking, they
have a relation to God. Kierkegaard possessed this 'double
reflection 3 as he called it, all the time he was in conversation
and it is almost equally certain that the other man did
not know it. This hindrance, the great hindrance, the fact
that men do not really understand one another, vanishes
completely when we talk with God at any rate on one side :
we can be absolutely certain that God understands us
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completely, better than we do ourselves. It may of course
be that this very circumstance frightens man off, for to talk
with God, as Job did, is exhausting and ends in prayer and
silence. The soliloquy is a special problem. If it does not
end in conversation with God it is very dangerous, more
dangerous than conversation with a real partner. For what
man knows himself? Soliloquising, man often constructs a
false image of himself, or even a wholly unreal partner, and
God alone knows where it all ends, and sometimes the devil
317. All in all, the best things that God has given me
are my nights of solitary writing. An occasion for eternal
318. 'Nietzsche smashed Christianity to pieces' is the
official reading of the new state-religion. And at that there
is not one of the moderns who has been broken to pieces by
Christ with more merciless mercy. His intellect calcified,
a granite-like stupidity formed itself into an invulnerable
bulwark against the spirit, while the moral structure and
manners were dissolved into a morass that could not be
parallelled in the Inferno.
319. How ambiguous things are, what a frightful difference
runs through the whole world! Tears came to my eyes the
first time that I heard that in eternity all tears would be
dried. All! And how my eyes burnt when I heard a man
tell the SS that he had laughed to tears at the last comic
convulsions of the body of a man shot down with a machine-
gun. Is it the same word?
320. One thing the founders of the German Herrgott-
religion do not and cannot assert: that Christianity came into
the world through the Arians. One or two little efforts in
that direction soon came to an end. But the Germans, they
say, after having fallen for it in a weak moment, or having
been outwitted, or having violence done to them, ennobled
Christianity by building the most beautiful cathedrals and
painting the most beautiful Madonnas. Even if that were
so, and there were no French, English, Italian or Spanish
Christian art what thinkers! The antipodes of hierarchic,
orderly thought! Christianity itself is a lie, the product of
degenerate races and of slaves from the Mediterranean pond
but the sons of the German Herrgott, managed before re-
vealing their true nature, and the truth of the German
Herrgott (which is what is happening now) to build 'noble'
buildings, and for a time sublimated the Christian lie. They
built their beautiful cathedrals for a false faith, which in
their opinion came from the dregs of humanity, namely
the Jews what will they build for their faith? Just look and
see, they are building already!
321. Most great men, being egotistical, do not do the will
of God and become, for others, a dangerous cul-de-sac.
Those who imitate them and run after them can suddenly
go no further and are all at once at a dead-end. Then
some other Tiihrer' is needed to draw them in a new
direction leading, so it seems, into the open. But after a
short run the walls again close in. There is only one who
is 'the way'. The way to God is God himself.
322. The ideal of most translators is to write a 'smooth'
German. But what if the author in question, whom they
are translating, writes an English or Danish by no means
c smooth'? What then? Isn't that a more essential falsifi-
cation than merely mistranslating a word here and there?
Then what is a smooth style in Europe today? The language
of newspapers, no doubt! That is the magic of the printing
press, its product; and the more it prints the more smooth
it becomes, the more liquid, the more watery, the thinner.
We seem almost to have reached the point where the
European nations only understand their languages in this
same 'smooth' style.
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323. What remains of the mockery of God but a petrified
grin? Mockery is too light to act as a weight, too short to
take soundings in the depths of being.
324. It often seems to me that the Vatican has completely
and absolutely forgotten that Peter was not only Bishop of
Rome, and as such held the primacy of teaching and was
infallible, but was also a martyr. But the days of recollection
and imitation are approaching and are not far distant.
325. Many thinking Christians consider that what is
happening nowadays is not merely hard to understand, but
altogether un-understandable. What is to be said of that?
Distinguo. Considered absolutely, it certainly cannot be
understood at all. And in that sense the things which are
happening now are no different from any others. Absolutely
understood, all events vanish in the silent depths of the
inconceivability of God. But a relative understanding of
everything that happens is always possible, and so too of
what is happening today. There are many degrees of under-
standing, and there are many aspects of understanding. One
of them is this : it is being shown on a vast scale that a
Reich and a peace (Peace is the principal mark of the idea
Reich) can be based upon the apostate principles of a mad-
man Nietzsche. For Hitler is an utterly plebeanised
version (that is to say German, with a gipsy admixture) of
Nietzsche-Wagner. I have always maintained the close
relationship of both anarchical spirits. And now it is proved
in the concrete, of both, in a single expression of will and
326. The freedom of the children of God corresponds to
the freedom of the children of Satan, only that these last
make a use of their freedom which goes much further.
327. Among men there is a certain joy over the fact that
another man sins, falls, and loses something of his personal
worth. It is the specifically devilish joy, far more evil than
Schadenfreude it is the joy of the devil himself in a man.
Ultimately it is the joy of extreme absence of love, and to
that extent it is a problem in itself the problem of how
there can be joy in such a thing. The measure of all the good
in a man is love, and the measure of all evil in him is absence
328. Overnight, National Socialism has succeeded in
reducing the Norwegians, who have been free men for a
thousand years, to a form of servitude that has never existed
in the world. The nations which were led into captivity by
the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Babylonians were certainly
not compelled to assert they were free. And that is precisely
what the subjugated nations of today are compelled to do.
329. The racial theory includes the denial of the pro-
position that the spirit bloweth where it listeth. Just as man
can become the slave of the machine which he freely created,
so, according to this theory, God having once created the
Arian, and in particular the German, is compelled and
obliged to place the creation of all good gifts for all eternity
in his hands. Or more briefly: everything that they do
comes from God and is good and right. To a healthy
understanding that is of course childish, but then, once and
for all, the mark of the Third Reich is infantilism.
330. This is how it starts. When men no longer have the
least fear of saying something untrue, they very soon have no
feat whatsoever of doing something unjust. I mean this in
general, of the teachers and leaders of nations.
331. Where is the thought and the word that I think and
say c at home'? What father bred them, what mother bore
them? That is what I want to know, that is the end of my
philosophy. The spirit has many abodes on earth and I
wish to know them and be the guest of many.
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332. Language as such has its perfect spring and summer
and autumn and winter, exemplified and exalted in the
languages of the different peoples. None of the newer
European languages possesses the spring of the Greek
language or the maturity of the Latin, in comparable
333. The essence of modern dictatorship is the com-
bination of one-dimensional, flat thinking with power and
334. Wonder is the qualitative distance which God
placed between man and truth. It enables man to find the
335. Philosophy has gained its best knowledge with the
method of "wonder 5 , and the knowledge thus obtained
is far deeper, far more valuable than that yielded by the
method of doubt. Nevertheless the latter is quite in order,
but it is ordered beneath the former. Whereas wonder
alone is in place face to face with immediate being, what
I can do and the compass of human understanding is quite
rightly subjected to doubt. Indeed, when error has become
ingrained, the method of doubt is the right one and helps
to restore health.
336. It is always at the cost of great errors that the dis-
tinction between being and thinking becomes a separation,
as though the one could exist without the other. Thinking
is or has a being, and everything which is, either thinks
or is thought. Nevertheless being is not thought nor is
thought the same as being. Being cannot be nothing, but
thought can think nothing. Therein lies the superiority of
337. It is hard to be forced to do work which one does
not like, but it is horrible to be forced to stated times to a
stated enjoyment. That is one of the discoveries of modern
dictatorship, and that alone shows its devilish nature and
its contempt for man.
338. The Germans have dug graves for many nations, and
into all of them they will fall themselves. They are digging
themselves a 'greater German' grave. Until one comes who
turns back. There is no other road to peace, except by 'turn-
ing back'. But can nations ever turn back? It seems only to
be possible to individuals. Have nations ever 'turned back 3
in history? I know too little to be able to say. But I doubt it.
339. The liberal democracies are perishing or will perish
(unless they take the necessary precautions) from a lack of
sense of obligation. It is just like a body perishing from
lack of vitamins. Everything appears to be there, and
nothing seems to be lacking, a mere nothing is wanting,
but of a different order. The sense of obligation is a power
unto itself, seemingly independent of the fact whether it is
right or wrong that is binding. Where nothing is 'binding 5
any longer, there is weakness, the lukewarmness' spoken
of in the book of Revelation. Where there is no longer any
possibility that Christ or his disciples should be crucified
God and the devil have lost their rights and wrongs.
340. A man will be judged by God according to the
measure of his love. What love? Love of who or what?
Now the answer to that is as clear and simple as possible.
The Son of God answered this very question, literally., word
for word, so to say, so that any evasion is impossible. But
love is a transcending power, even though it is disorderly.
It has, as it were, a superfluity of the divine within it. And
so forgiveness is infinitely closer to a man who commits a
great sin out of love for another, than to a man who un-
lovingly commits a slight sin. For to be without love is in
itself the greatest sin, far greater than any sin which a man
can commit, though his love be disordered.
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341. Summer. Now that he' has 'achieved' so much, it
must really annoy him not to be able to control and make
something so simple and material, and yet very important,
such as the weather. He will certainly have noticed that,
though he certainly does not notice that he cannot c make'
a German art, not to speak of a new religion.
342. Naturally it is false to say that everything false, and
that only the false is comic, and that the comic is based
entirely upon the false in the sense that it contains a con-
tradiction. On the other hand it would be true to say that
there is something false in everything comic.
343. The Germans have changed somewhat. They always,
it is true, loved the inadequate, but they also loved the
inaccessible and all the forms of its expression. That is no
longer so: the inadequate is taught and absorbed in the
most accessible forms. That is of course only temporary,
for Hegel, and there will always be a Hegel, is part of
'eternal Germany'. There is one here now. What bad luck
for Heidegger to have arrived on the scene during this
intermezzo, of all times.
344. I have already lamented in these pages that the
philologists who know so much, and have such a talent for
learning and acquiring knowledge, then have so little idea
what to do with all their knowledge, whereas there are
things which I could do if only alas! I did not know so
little, and had so little talent for finding out the things I
want to know. At the moment, for example, I should like
to know when 'History' was acclaimed divine judge for
the first time. When did all that begin? One can perfectly
understand that men laid great stress upon cuttir^a fine
figure in the eyes of future generations, but from that to
replacing God, the living and just judge, by such a question-
able abstraction as history, always written by partisans, is
a long step that can only be understood with difficulty.
Do men wish to be judged by man alone, even nowadays,
when they no longer wish to write history objectively, truly,
justly, no longer sine, but cum ira et studio? What happened
to bring that about? What was it exactly? And there the
Philologist might be able to help me.
345. It is a long time before most men recognise that there
is such a thing as the 'irrevocable', and once again a long
time before they recognise that they must act accordingly,
and for the third time, it is very long before they do so act.
And then, moreover, without grace, it would never happen
346. Everything tends to completeness, towards the whole,
and completes the circle of hierarchy! Thus, what does it
mean for a man to be 'spirit 3 ? It means that his thoughts
should have 'body', that his body should not merely be a
refractory organic or technical instrument of the spirit, for-
eign to nature, nor even an absolutely obedient instrument;
on the contrary, as a body, it should become spirit, so that
while there would always remain a difference there should
never be a divorce.
347. That the thought looks for the word is a common or
garden experience which almost everyone who has searched
for a word, claims to have had. And naturally it is true
enough, but real spiritual labour, and its adventures too, its
conquest of unknown territories begins, without a doubt,
when a word is in search of the thought. As a rule a word is
both too much and too little for a thought. And in that way
it sets thought in motion. In looking for a word to match the
thought, the right word is found through reflection, by bring-
ing the word back again to the thought and to thinking. The
interchange of thought and language, of thinking and speak-
ing takes place under the dominion of thought. The sphere
of man's existence within thought is infinitely richer than his
language. He can only express a tithe of his thought. This is
94 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
absolutely true of the poorest, as of the richest in words,
and it is the latter who will see the impotence of language
most clearly. And whoever knows this and can express it in
such a way that he extols its wealth and in the same breath
betrays its want, and when he laments its want allows its
superfluity to shine through is worthy to speak of language.
348. Rejoinder: A rule is, as a rule, good qua rule, but
beware if it rules out the exception. But surely that is what
it must do, if it is a 'rule', doesn't that belong to the very
conception of 'rule'? Yes, as a rule; but there are excep-
tions. And here we are, in a circle! What then is the
meaning and significance of e the exception 5 ? Fundament-
ally, it is the privilege of God, of the Lord who presides over
the rule; it is the primacy of freedom, of the person, which
takes precedence over the compulsion of laws and rules;
its meaning is that, ultimately, we are not under the hard
and fast, mechanical rule, but under the all-powerful will of
God, which is free. Now what does that mean? Here and
there, there is an exception! As a rule God desires the rule
of law, even where we men are concerned. That is not
quite certain. Perhaps as a rule, God desires the exception,
and we bungle the thing, by following the rule lazily, as a
rule, even when we do not will it. Don't you think your
ideas are getting confused? No, I think they are well ordered.
349. Things which have greatly concerned and bothered
one should never be allowed to recur once they are in fact
settled; they should be left alone, even in thought. - Those
who live predominantly in the realm of memory often
offend against this law of prudence. Memories of this
kind are as a rule very agreeable, once the real danger has
been eliminated. They offer a sort of intellectual pleasure
that weakens and unnerves the spiritual life.
350. How early in life a certain knowledge, self-knowledge
and forebodings come to a man! Often enough it is only
the weakness of our memories which prevents us noticing
it. I can remember how in my childhood, when I was
about twelve years old, a thought struck me; and as with
other deeply rooted memories, I can remember the very
street, and see myself as very strange, and almost incon-
ceivable, walking along. We were reading Cornelius Nepos
in school at the time, and I liked to imagine myself in the
role of a roman consul or senator; but one day, at the
Tish Fountain', the thought suddenly struck me I was
twelve years old : How strong you would be if only you
stopped playing and turned your mind to c reaP things! I
still have the same inclination towards childish, fruitless
phantasy, though I am 61 years old, and always with the
recollection of that foreboding, not to let an inborn tendency
become a vice, but to make a virtue of it. I have also
found that men without a trace of this kind of phantasy
become irretrievable philistines, hard working, certainly,
and very often successful.
35L In the West there has always existed an intuitive
recognition of the spirit of virginity, realised in the mar-
vellous and beautiful goddesses Artemis and Athene, and
in the paler, and more easily conceivable forms of Diana
and Minerva. No other people had anything approaching
it: the Jews had the 'bridal' virgin. And it was only the
union, natural and supernatural of Artemis, proud and shy,
and of Athene, motherly and wise, and of the Jewish con-
ception of 'bridal' virginity, with the supernatural con-
ception of the Mother of God, that brought forth that
magnificent conception, the Nun. Today contempt and
defamation are poured out from the heart of Europe upon
the Bride of Christ, the natural nobility of the West, and the
whole conception of virginity expressed in Artemis and
Athene; they are all dragged in the mud. And what are
the ideas which are put in their place? Something easier
to realise! The regimented whore and the calving cow! The
idea of perfection in marriage stands in the closest relation
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to that of virginity. And virginity is placed above marriage
in anticipation of the state of eternal life. In heaven c man
and woman' will not cease to be they are eternal; for man
is created as c man and woman 5 but the propagation of the
species will no longer continue.
352. Men who are 'still waters 5 often believe with diffi-
culty in the forgiveness of sins, and remain clouded, and do
not get rid of the dirt. Men who are active., who are
"running water', believe in it more easily.
555. Among mortals, it is Plato who found the happiest
images with which to express the being and existence of
man and the world, and in certain circumstances they are
the most dangerous : that the essence of the world is super-
fluity and want; that there is one power in man which lifts
him to the sun, one that drags him down; that the complete
man is both man and woman; that man only knows the
shadows of the truth he is really unsurpassed and by
himself, perhaps, no man can surpass him. And why then
are they dangerous? Because they are images of the truth;
not the truth. Because they are only shadows of the truth.
354. If eternal life were not free from 'dread', I should not
desire it. But supposing for a moment there was a man in
this life who was entirely without 'dread' (and at the
present time there are many in high places who pride
themselves upon the fact), then I should not want to be that
man. I should indeed c dread j him.
355. And so you have not done something and not had
something which you thought it impossible not to do and
not to have. It was, you see, possible. The imagination
is often the most stubborn antagonist of a better will.
356. If God himself had not proclaimed that He rested
on the seventh day, and had not ordered men to have one
day's rest in the week, the spiritual man might easily have
been led astray not to rest, and even to look upon rest as
a crime. But it is also said that God always acts. And so
perhaps man too can work while he is resting. But that is
only intelligible to the Homo Spiritualis.
357. It is usually men with ulterior motives who want to
express Christ's words or the words of the^ apostles more
clearly. But though their intention may not be evil, they
are lacking in the c sense of faith 3 . And that too is by no
means harmless. The e sense of faith' penetrates the obscurity
of the words of scripture, but it does not clarify them.
358. Humour is a finite spiritual sphere while faith is the
infinite. That may be seen from the nature of despair, and
its dialectic. A man in despair, a man that is, who has not
got faith, or has lost it, can perfectly well have a high degree
of humour, even to the point of genius. Shakespeare is full
of examples. The humorous rejoinders of a man in despair
are flung back, as it were, from the walls of the infinite
spiritual sphere which to him are impenetrable, and they
have a particular, unmistakable and sinister ring. The
humorous rejoinders of a martyr like Thomas More at the
moment when his faith looked into heaven strike a very
different note; the tone is of this world like the tone of all
humour, but it is not the tone of a solitary, 'lost' man, as
in the case of a man in despair; he strikes a chord in which
sounds the heavenly harmony of the seen and the unseen
world. At times the believer may see himself in this world
bereft of every finite possibility, he may be deprived of
humour altogether, even of the humour of despair, and yet
with the eye of faith he will see the quintessence of every
possibility, and of what is for man the impossible possibility:
359. No subject without an object, and the reverse, is a
genuinely metaphysical proposition which Schopenhauer,
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for example, loved. But that alone does not get one far.
One has the right to speak of a sub-objective and even of an
ob-subjective. Though perhaps that is unnecessary. I should,
however, unhesitatingly speak of feeling as sub-objective. In
feeling the fusion and interpretations of subject and object is
complete, whereas in the rational-logical the distinction
between them, their separation reaches its furthest degree
though this is not, consequently, the case in the true concrete
thought of reality. The rational-logical is an abstraction. In
reality, in real being, the sharpest distinction between subject
and object belongs to the will, with the centre of gravity in
the object; in feeling it is weakest and weakening, for it runs
the danger of placing everything in the subject (the 'name'
is noise and smoke). The normal relation of subject and
object, so to speak, belongs to pure thought.
360. If the 'authoritarian 3 States, whose task was a correc-
tive one, continue to commit crimes inhuman and most
offensive to God, on this scale and at this tempo, then in
no very distant time the age of liberalism will be looked upon
as the golden age.
36 7. As if' has its place in human thought; which cannot
operate theoretically or practically without an hypothesis.
But it is pure sophistry to put forward the thesis, and not
the hypothesis, that all our knowledge rests on a hypo-
thesis, on an ; as if'. One sees it at once when instead of
saying C A is A' one simply says: 'it is as if A were like A'.
That is absurd. 'As if' has little point in all essential know-
ledge. But that is not true of questions relating to existence.
It is not senseless to say: 'It is as though God existed', or
'It is as though God were not 5 .
362. At one moment Ibsen was a great prophet in great
and decisive matters, hidden, speaking softly, hardly con-
scious of his own significance; and that is in the Master
Builder. The play is more profound and far more important
as a personal tragedy, than as a fable, though even as such it
is by no means unimportant. The Master Builder rebels
against God and rejects God on the tower of his Church. It
all happens, of course, in the style of the 19th century, but
is no less clear on that account. One had a drawing-room,
or a sitting-room or a front-parlour (three degrees), and even
in the last extremity did not forget to behave 'correctly'. The
Master Builder was to build no more Churches, but only
houses for men, just as Ibsen the poet was to write no more
Brands or Peer Gynts but only social plays, contenting himself
with this world. This tragic decision certainly weighed
heavily upon Ibsen, and he died in spiritual darkness.
But: the rejection of God under the form of not building
any more Unprofitable' Churches, but only 'useful' houses
is a prophecy which was to be fulfilled on a gigantic scale.
363. To require of a man whose calling it is to concern
himself with modern literature and philosophy, to consider
literature and philosophy sub specie aeterni means quite simply
that he should not see them at all, for sub specie aeterni they
simply do not exist. Ought one to require this asceticism
from him, if he does not himself wish to exercise it?
364. It is verboten to refer to members of the party as Kerle
'fellows'. A tremendous change in the language when one
thinks that Goethe and Schiller were still 'fellows' and took
no offence at it, although the word had already been debased
and corrupted by a Prussian King. But really these 'fellows'
who now forbids its use, have done more than anyone, by
their very existence, to defame the word.
36*5. When one reads history and the histories of the
nations and their accusations one against another, then God
has only one thing left to do, and that is revenge. Is that
a task worthy of God? But why all this? What is it all about?
Why is the world like it is? For the stupidity of the world,
which is certainly undeniable, the stupidity of not seeing
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what is happening and how things stand, is not after all any
explanation of the fact that God allows it to happen; on the
contrary, it is the stupidity, which most of all needs to be
explained. That is the language of the angered. Every man
is angry at times, and before God he is always in the wrong.
One of the differences between the children of c this world'
and the children of God is this, that the former regard the
moments when they are 'tempted' to believe in God as their
moments of weakness, whereas the latter, on the contrary-
regard their weak moments as those in which they are
tempted not to believe in God. That is perfectly in order.
The former regard themselves as strong, the latter them-
selves as weak, and God as strong.
366. Thinking is not speaking. It is a very difficult thing
to discover and acquire the language of one's own thought.
Each separate individual is very likely original in his
thought. But between his thought and its fit expression the
well established common language stands like an enormous,
impenetrable wall, like an all-devouring monster, like a
steam-roller levelling everything down. Only the whole
strength of love, only a loving strength, and strength joined
to humility and devotion can make it personal, and yet in
such a way that it remains the common tongue.
367. It could not be said that God loves miracles parti-
cularly. They are extremely rare, both in public and in
368. The tragic destiny of the Germans: through grace
they received the gift of the imperium, Tor nothing 5 ; and they
made "nothing 3 of it. It has been a terrible falling off, and
at that very point, for the sake of the Reich. And childish
men are destroying it on the plea of establishing it for ever.
369. Tyrants always want a language and literature that
is easily understood, for nothing so weakens thought; and
what they need is an enfeebled thought, for nothing keeps
them so firmly in power. When the ideal and the order is
to write an easily understood style, anyone who is difficult
to understand is eo ipso suspect.
370. To do away with the construction of the period is
to destroy the individual sentences.
371. In order to answer the question: What is man? one
must of course say everything that he really is and really
possesses, and say it in the right order. But there is one
expedient which is of great assistance, and that is to find out
what, in the whole universe, only man has, and animals for
example and angels do not have. For instance, faith,
laughter and tears.
372. When one is on the winning side one is easily tempted
to believe, in a rationalistic age, that the course of events
follows man's reckoning; but one forgets that the others,
the losing side, have also made their reckoning, without its
having come out right. And then, when one looks at
history has it ever followed the course of human reckoning?
Can it be otherwise today?
575. In times such as these, to be in the hands of God
means: not to despair. But then, they say, do men ever
despair, or can they be said to be in danger of despair?
Is not everything right in the world since we limit our
thoughts and ourselves to this world and to this life? No,
my friend, men do despair, many of them.
574. Happiness in heaven means that every man can do
what he wills because he has perfect love. In this aeon,
certainly, there is no man who is not horror-stricken at the
thought that men do what they will. For nowadays such
men exist but they pride themselves upon being good
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375. 20th August. How many nights of writing does
this make? I have no idea; I have never counted They
have been the happiness and good fortune of my life.
And yet each night I have had to fight against their
fatigue before being overcome by their happiness and good
376. 6th Sept. Now and then I have the most fan-
tastic dreams, though for the most part they are quickly
forgotten or else never remembered. This afternoon I
dreamed that I sat in front of the Cafe Luitpold, writing.
The sheets of my manuscript lay about on the table just
as they do at home, at night, when I am writing. Round
about me stood some friends, their faces immovable, staring
at me. Suddenly a dark, 'well-dressed' man, rushed up to
me and tried to gather up my manuscript. I was astonished
and tried to defend myself. And then another man, just
as 'well-dressed 3 , came up and shouted: 'Stop! That's not
the one!' And turning to me politely, says: Excuse me,
this gentleman has commissioned some stories from Moralla.
Can you tell us where he lives? Yes, I answered, on the
fourth floor. They hurried off into the courtyard, that
appeared suddenly from nowhere. In the hand of one I
saw a pistol, and in the other one's hand a dagger. I was
terrified, but laughed aloud nervously. My friends, their
faces immovable, stared at me. After a minute or two,
one of the men came back and called to me, beckoning.
We can't find him, help us! All at once there was an
enormous lift standing ready. I got in, alone. With one
swoop and a tremendous noise the lift went thundering up
at a terrific speed. It burst through the roof and stopped.
I pressed the button again and went down again to the
fourth floor. People whom I did not recognise were running
to and fro in the warehouse. It was all very sinister, and I
was frightened. Suddenly I was standing on a balcony in
front of a mansard window, where there were some ger-
aniums. Behind it stood a very old man with ice grey hair
hanging down to his shoulders. He was playing the harp;
beside him was a little girl about ten years old, to whom he
was telling a fairy story; 'And do you know, yesterday
Mariele returned to her father and mother as a sound'.
Then I woke up, wondering bemusedly how a child could
return as a sound. And probably it is thanks to that
astonishment that I remembered the dream at all. Gracious
heavens, where are we when asleep?
577. How frail and uncertain is man's happiness, even
when it is deep and seems invincible! The least breeze
blows it from one's brow and extinguishes its radiant light
from your heart. And it was night. St. John's Gospel xvii.
575. The world and its overlordship, as demanded by the
Germans, is based upon the following principles:
1. There are three kinds of man: (a) Supermen
(b) Men (c) Sub-men.
2. In doubtful cases the Fiihrer of the Supermen
always decides in which category of man the
existing nations belong.
3. The Ftihrer of the Supermen is always, without
exception, the Ftihrer of the Germans. For it is
eternally true of the Germans alone (Germans,
past, present and future) that they are Supermen.
Of the Arians, who in the widest sense of the
word are Supermen, it must be said that until
they become Germans they may become de-
cadent, and that on the authoritative decision of
the Fiihrer of the Germans they may be degraded
for (opportune) political reasons, to the rank of
men (if not, as in the case of the English Pluto-
crats, to the rank of sub-men). This is done by
virtue of the fact that the Ftihrer is not only the
104 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
creator of the positive law, but also of the
4. In precisely the same absolute eternal sense that
the Germans are Supermen, the Jews are sub-
men. Close after them come the Poles, and then
5. There is a God. His name is : the Herrgott, or the
German Herrgott^ or the All-powerful, or Provi-
dence. Hence there is a religion, the German
Herrgott-religion in fact. It has no dogmas. And
so everyone can think as they please. Only they
may not act. The theology is simple. The will of
God, as German Herrgott, is that things should go
well for the Germans and that they should rule
over everyone. No wonder! German mystics
have found out that without them, God would
not exist. But now, since they themselves are the
products of the German people, it does not take
much logic to perceive that in that case God
himself is a product of this same German people.
And damn me if that's a pamphlet.
379. 8th Sept. We no longer say: c Gott strafe England'!
Nowadays we say e Der Ftihrer straft England 5 and what is
more, with reason. A million and half tons of bombs on
380. Even now, very many people engaged in apologetics
still argue as though God were indeed all-powerful, but in a
world, so to speak, which is not of Him, as though it were
simply foreign to Him as well as to his followers. That is one
form of childishness. For the world is created by Him, it is
His work, His creation. That is a mystery which must be
taken up and thought through in our love of Him and in
His love for us.
38L It does not really meet the case to say that the con-
ception of life as a dream is purely oriental. It is, for
example, Spanish, though this might be said to be due to the
arab occupation. But in the meanwhile: what about
Shakespeare? No, the answer is that it is 'human, 3 and it
corresponds to a reality. Man is created out of nothing,
and he could be 'different 3 , like every dream. In a dream
everything could be different from what it is. And so the
poets say: How often it has happened in a dream that I
have seemed to awaken, and have only awoken to a new
dream perhaps my whole life is a dream. To the poet and
the metaphysician that is anything but strange. To the
religious man it is a distraction a dream which he rejects.
382. Catholics often confuse themselves with their religion
to such an extent that they think people are converted for
their sakes, on their account, and not for the sake of Christ
and the truth. At times it is grotesquely comic.
383. Men no longer test words to see what truth there is
in them. The majority are only interested in knowing what
their effect will be.
384. As a rule women are no friends of satire and polemics
and that is as it should be; it is not their business. Satire
and polemics offer no home and there is nothing 'motherly'
385. The proper order: the individual sentence serves the
whole period, which is a building, and it is written accord-
ingly. The spiritual actions of the assertion come first, the
innumerable inter-connections of every kind in all their
nuances, the foundation, the consequence, the intention,
the determinants, and more especially in the case of careful,
scrupulous minds, the concession, beginning with the out-
right ones, and going on to those which are made with
difficulty, almost whispered all these spiritual actions give
106 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
its form to the classical prose of western languages and
literatures. On the other hand, however, there is the stand-
ard, pre-fabricated sentence of ready-made material that
predetermines the constructions of the 'enlarged 5 or 'ex-
panded 5 sentence. The semi-colon disappears from punctua-
tion; a sure sign of the decay of the period.
386. The great delusion: that mockery is of any use. It
does not better the ordinary man, it only arouses his
implacable hatred and his lust for revenge. And in certain
circumstances it can wound the better man mortally.
387. 22nd Sept. If I should still have many and great
sufferings before me, my Lord and my God, then let some-
thing thereof be worthy of thy name, of thy humiliation
and thy glory.
388. What does it profit thee to gain the whole world and
take harm to thy soul? When one thinks that no one has
ever gained the whole world, and moreover that none will
ever gain it, and that men are willing to harm their souls for
a few pence, one may well be staggered. On the other hand,
once these words are thoroughly grasped, there is an end to
gloria mundi. The smell of it in one's nostrils is as unbearable
as the rank smoke of burning straw.
389. In the first instance 'wisdom 5 needs silence and the
spoken word, for the actual 'presence 5 of the giver is im-
portant for the receiver. And consequently the written
word only comes second; for then the reader is alone,
unless of course he too is wise. And that is seldom.
390. There are prophets who have a 'sympathetic 5 relation
to the horrors which they foretell, they seem half to wish the
fulfilment of their prophecies and were it to happen they
would fit happily into the scene. I am thinking of Luden-
dorffand total war. There are in fact prophets and prophets.
those through whom the spirit of God speaks and then
there are others.
39 L Those who are scandalised say: perhaps God has
changed. When those who are 'scandalised' are also
religious, they always maintain that some particular dog-
matic attribute of God is false. In this case, God's unchange-
ableness. The 'scandalised' always have too high a con-
ception of their own conceptions and judgments, which
have not got the length and breadth, the height and depth
of those of the divine. 'Scandal 3 is the mark of a defective
392. Render unto God the things that are God's and to
Caesar the things that are Caesar's. That is the division
willed by God for this aeon. On that point there is not the
smallest doubt. The meaning of these clear words can
neither be impugned nor twisted. But what has always to be
interpreted anew is the content of both commandments.
What is God's? What is to be given to God? What is
Caesar's? And what is to be given to Caesar? On these
matters the bloodiest struggles are possible (even though
it may be and should be clear that the conscience of every
individual man belongs to God). But this fact cannot con-
tinue to be recognised, and will be increasingly denied, and
ultimately falsified hopelessly if
1. The primacy of the divine law over human law
is not recognised
2. The rights of Caesar are annulled and everything
is brought directly under the Lordship of God or
of the clergy, and finally
3. If it is said (the heresy of the present age!) that
the only right and the only power is Caesar's.
Everything is given to him, even the conscience
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of man, for he is, or at any rate the people are,
if not God, then a direct, infallible organ of God.
393. The Prussian-German theology of war is in actual
fact: God is always on the side of the strongest battalions.
The practical consequence of this is, and they draw it and
carry it out: we must a tout prix make our battalions the
strongest, then God must be with us. That is bad theology.
Nor will these theologians be converted, even by a miracle.
394. The voice of the 'scandalised 5 : Man proposes, God
disposes. But is that not reversed nowadays? Man may not
think and propose, but he certainly disposes! And perhaps
that will give God to think. Your jokes, my friend, are
rather cheap, not even worthy of your despair, and the
bitterness of your heart. It is time you looked around for a
different way! Be silent, weep, fold your hands and pray;
only leave off joking For nothing has changed and every-
thing is as it was. For God is the Lord. He proposes and
disposes differently from man.
395. 28th September. Perhaps it is no longer to be:
the association of impure passions with the truth which is
Christianity. These impure passions, which in the political
life of today turn one's stomach, rend one's heart, and
torture one's nerves, unfortunately played a part, at times,
in the history of Christianity. Christianity calls for a spiritual
society of 'individuals' in which each and every individual
in every detail, is formed to the truth. Kierkegaard's
category e the individual' is in fact the Christian need of the
day, as opposed to the decadence of man into c the masses',
and in opposition to the glorification of the 'hollow' man
without a conscience.
396. I do not think that those who say such things have
never happened before are right. Qualitatively they are
wrong, for it has all happened before (treason, malice,
trickery, lies, horrors). But quantitively speaking they are
right: things have never been organised and premeditated
on such a scale. And then there is one thing more to be
added : I do not think it has ever happened that men have
been expressly forbidden to regard what was happening at
the time as horrible, disgusting, false and evil, forbidden to
long for a better world. In Germany today that is a pun-
ishable offence, and surely that is more than even Hell has
the right to demand.
397. I am coming more and more to the conclusion that
the history which derives from German idealism a pro-
fessorial history is simply humbug. In that thin, pale
atmosphere, personalities and passions evaporate. And no
one could tell from reading it, that Satan was the Prince of
this world. The idealistic school of historical writing ends,
like idealistic philosophy, with e as if.
398. The historian cannot choose his villains like the poet>
nor invent them. At a particular time they are 'given'.
Given, as it were, perfectly clearly, by a higher power.
399. In addition to his particular knowledge the historian
today needs above all to know his catechism., and in addition
perhaps a smattering of criminal psychology. That is much
more important than a knowledge of German Idealism.
400. 30th September. Kierkegaard's 'Silent despair. 3
There are many more men in that state than is commonly
allowed, not indeed to the same power, and with the same
all-pervading reflection. There is, as a counter-balance, a
"silent happiness'. And often the two conditions alternate
in the same individual. Fortunately, therefore, Kierke-
gaard's description of silent despair is somewhat exaggerated.
(The world is not Hell., neither is it Heaven). But if it is an
almost permanent condition, a 'habitus', it is not always
actual, and it is often only as past that it becomes vivid and
110 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
profoundly 'recollected 5 , because it is in fact buried incon-
ceivably deep in the memory. And the same is true, the
other way round, of silent happiness.
401. When Plato attained the knowledge and the con-
viction that it was better to suffer injustice than to commit
it, he was not far from Christian ethics what am I saying :
he was at their very centre. But as for the essence of Christ-
ianity, there I have to believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the
Eternal Son of God.
404. Mundum tradidit disputationi eomm. God gave the
world to man for disputation, for him to break his head
over, and even to break each other's over.
403. 4th October. I once counselled a man in despair to
do what I myself did in similar circumstances : to live for
short terms. Come, I said to myself at that time, at any rate
you can bear it for a quarter of an hour!
404. Even the best that the best have written could be
better still. And to that there is no end. If you do not set
a limit, and in time a work must have an end, you will never
reach the end. And then : isn't that what God did? Might
the world not have been better, in spite of Leibnitz?
405. There is of course something wrong with a man who
is only partly humorous, or is only humorous at times, for
humour ought to be a yeast, working through the whole of
a man and his bearing.
406. 'Inconceivability' is an attribute of God that ration-
alism simply cannot grasp at all; to rationalism, one might
say, it just does not exist. Neither can it concern itself with
any of the attributes of God, consistently or profoundly.
It very soon comes up against the contradictions which only
exist, however, for human reason. And therefore it is quite
unable to risk penetrating to the very foundations, to the
ultimate consequences which break the human ratio to
pieces and render it useless. It looks as though, of the two,
irrationalism were better placed, but it only seems so. It is
inadequate on other grounds, and unless it transcends
itself, it is less dignified than rationalism. They hold that
their 'Irrational' is something altogether beyond the in-
tellect and outside it. But it is only beyond and outside the
human intellect, though within the divine intellect. Human
thought, resting upon faith, means the most fearless and
consistent thinking. It says that God is absolutely one, and
yet three. It does not fear to say and to hold that man is
free, responsible for his acts, and then again to say and to
hold that God chooses his own. It does not say this c as if s
it were so, as an 'as if', but says it is so. And there is nothing
which it so greatly fears as to say one of these truths in such
a way as to omit the others.
407. The attributes of God are too many for any one
saint to live them alL It is still wanting, it is due to the
saints ab incomprehensibilitate Dei.
408. Men are really creatures of the middle register,
neither altogether good nor altogether bad. And so it
happens that when the ordering of the World is good, the
wickedness and carelessness of the individuals spoil and
slowly bury it, and on the other hand, thank God, the
reverse of the medal is that a bad order, or a disorder of
the whole, is softened and mitigated by the goodness and
the virtue of individuals.
409. What sort of a hellish pretence is it, and what does
it mean? Works of love without love, works of light without
light! Hatred and darkness as a sign of love and light.
What a hellish deception. And men tell the truth in order
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410. Once philosophers have written their principal work,
they not infrequently simply become their own disciples.
The outstanding example is Schopenhauer. After having
composed his system at a very early age, he became his own
most admiring pupil. He 'deduced' certain further truths
from his own philosophy., which he had conceived and
written in an entirely different state of mind, and when the
character of his intuition was entirely different. Even the
later Plato is not really Plato any longer; he is only a
Platonist, his own greatest follower no doubt, but no longer
the master himself.
41L A language simply cannot be too rich, and though
its wealth may be a danger to gossipy, literary men, it is
invaluable where knowledge is concerned. I am always
suspicious of the grammarians who are for ever ready to
accuse a writer, and particularly one of the ancients, of
Hendiadys, as though it were wrong in itself. They are too
arid and impoverished (another hendiadys) to perceive that
what is spiritually one is not always best expressed by one
word, and indeed can often be conveyed better by two or
even more sides of the 'one 5 , in order to illuminate the
whole. They also seem to me to fail in their duty as teachers
and masters of language when they hold to a rigid and
inflexible order of words in the sentence. It is difficult to say
how great is the difference produced by a change in the
position of the individual words. In any case, no writer is
going to forego the possibilities which this offers for the sake
of a rigid rule. And then, language is of the spirit.
412. 'And that too will pass'. How often one hears that
said! One has only to think how often one has said it.
What a span of time it includes. How much light this
fact throws on the human condition!
413. Nous ffaurons plus jamais fame de ce soir, is of course
only a superficial observation, but it calls forth a gentle,
almost voluptuous sadness, a melancholy that is also
414. Tassion 5 is in the first instance a characteristic of
feeling, and only secondarily of willing and thinking. To
cleanse the passions means to purify the feelings. Is Flaubert
altogether guiltless of the fact that so many Germans
translate V education sentimentale quite meaninglessly, as
c the sentimental education 5 , instead of c the education of
feeling 5 ?
415. The clearest, most transparent relationship of subject
and object, and the reverse, is attained in thought. The
object of thinking is being, or something existent, even when
it is the being of thought, and existing thought, in whatever
mode it may be. In willing, the object is not the pure,
substantive being of thought, but always being inseparably
and most intimately bound up with a verb to do, to act or
to possess. I want bread, means I want to have, to take or
to possess bread. In thought I may be wholly unconcerned
with that about which I am thinking, and to this extent
thinking is the most objective activity possible to man, and
willing is ob-subjective; nobody who wills a thing can be
unconcerned about the thing he wills ; but it is outside him,
although he may wish to change it; with one exception, if
he wills the truth. If he really wants to possess the truth,
then he cannot wish to change it, for in that case he would
not receive the truth. And so in this case he can only change
himself. Certainly a rare case, for who desires the truth?
But now what about feeling? Of all three (thinking., willing,
feeling) it is without any doubt the most subjective way in
which a man may be related to the world. That, it seems
to me, is as far as we may venture without treading too near
the truth, and disturbing the hierarchy of the orders.
416. There are, in actual fact, men who talk like books.
Happily, however, there are also books that talk like men.
114 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
417. llth November. Ever and again I am horrified at
the German voices. They betray absolutely everything,
they cry out their own evil. And the fact that this con-
tinues unobserved is more frightful still. Today I heard the
voice of Field-marshal Brauchitsch. An empty, hollow voice
rattled out some empty, hollow things: calling upon the
dead in the name of the Fiihrer, and in the name of the
national-socialist Weltanschauung. A demoniacal perform-
ance. However, the voice of Baldur von Schirach, Gau-
leiter of Vienna, outdid him and completed this 'German
Requkfi'. But what a misuse of the word! And of course
they domf- want the dead to rest; they want them to 'arise 3
at the call of the Fiihrer.
418. Became, in reality, evil came into the world through
the will, OIK : can understand that philosophers should
regard the wffi itself as evil; and because power realises
evil what wonder that, to so many, power itself is evil.
419. The servants of the devil have, by and large, learnt
his most important lessons, and taken over his method.
They dominate man best by teaching clearly and impres-
sively that man is good by nature and that there is no such
thing as sin. They teach man that he is a god, and treat
him like cattle, and as the most worthless canaille. As long
as a man can be made to think highly of himself, he will
hardly be able to tell the difference between appearance
and reality. To himself he seems to be a god; and eats dust.
For a time tfiat is certain: only for a time.
420. The principal cause of the present situation: the
falling away from God, disobedience towards God, is of
course interwoven with many subsidiary causes. One of
these is the mass use and misuse of higher education. New-
man warned against it. Why should fathers whose sons
are to go into trade or business have their sons taught
Latin and Greek? Latin and Greek are a violation of the
understanding of the average child, and a torture if the
teacher is unreasonable. By far the greater proportion of
those of our Flihrers who studied the humanities were below
the average as scholars. They are revenging themselves hor-
ribly, full of poisonous c ressentiment 2 for the drudgery and
sweat and the inferiority complex which a too high ideal
of education brought upon them.
42L There is in every man, I believe, a fear of a Doppel-
ganger^ of a double in an absolute sense. Even the man of
the masses wants to be original. It is naturally the man who
has the greatest assurance of being unique objectively who
feels the fear most. The height of madness would be to
suppose that God has a double.
422. Somewhere or other I wrote that one only knows
one's home in homesickness. I really had a home and
knew it; I have often been and still sometimes am home-
sick, but my eternal home is only known to me in my
423. It is really appalling how little map kind's conscious-
ness retains of all that has happened in the millions of
years of his history, and then how crude, how fantastic and
wanting in proportion is the relation between the real
significance of the day's events, and the meaning so
presumptuously proclaimed by those who comment upon
424. I can feel no great respect for those who look upon
God as a rigid law, no doubt because I should not have
much respect for such a God.
425. 21st November. If one cannot, or does not wish to
shoot a man who runs amok, there is only one other way out
though it is a certain one to let him exhaust himself,
and use himself up. The horrible example of the present
116 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
day could easily have been rendered harmless at the
beginning; now it is only possible by letting him destroy
himself. That is absolutely certain to succeed.
426. The general rule is, that a man's spiritual powers are
gradually worn down by his body with its unruly demands
and its final domination. It is a sad sight. The exception
is the growth of the spirit at the cost of the body that is
slowly used up. And that too is a tragedy, though a grandiose
one, marking the lack of proportion in man. Among the
examples in history which we can follow, the greatest, to
my mind, is that of Kierkegaard. His body grew weaker
and weaker, and at the end there was simply no bodily
strength left at all. But there is not a trace of spiritual
weakening, of falling off, down to the very last words which
he wrote or spoke, not a trace. Anyone with any conception
of what writing means must, simply as a writer, be fascinated
by the variations on a single theme which are found in
'The Instant'. (Kierkegaard's last pamphlet). Time and
again they spring naked and strong, perfectly proportioned
and fresh from their author's mind; and over and over
again one is moved at the sight. Kierkegaard's Journals, that
cover almost twenty years, do not contain a single repetition,
with one exception, a repetition he himself notes. When
one thinks that at the end he had only one theme, and when
one thinks of the astonishing productivity of the man during
all those years, his power of memory alone is astonishing,
and without example. I, at least, know of none.
427. The 'suspension of the ethical', the temporary inter-
ruption of the universal law can only be justified, in Kierke-
gaard's view, as I understand him, by a direct command
from God to the individual. And that is without doubt the
case with Abraham. But it is not always so. Furthermore,
everything depends upon what is meant by c the ethical',
and by a direct command or inspiration from God. The
duty to obey authority certainly forms part of natural
ethics. But how uncertain all this is, so uncertain that it
became necessary to limit the authority that had to be
obeyed to legal authority' or even to 'statutory 5 authority,
and to speak of an ethic sanctioned by God. This means to
say then, that there is also a false authority, a false ethic.
Do I really need an extraordinary impulse from God not
to obey, in both cases? I think not. If the lawful authority
commands me to torture innocent women and children, or a
tyrant orders me to perform an action in itself lawful do I
need, in both cases, a special injunction from God within me
in order to dispense me from obedience, and to act rightly in
God's sight? I don't think so. It is a struggle in man's
conscience concerning the universal laws of God and the will
of a false but temporarily enormously powerful authority.
428. 23rd November. If I write down something which
I know full well is valid and true for me, but which sounds
presumptuous, or dangerously tempting to those for whom
it is not valid, and whom it may harm, then I may not
write it down, it remains a secret between God and my
429. 'Three hundred thousand kilograms of bombs rained
down on Birmingham today', Herr Goebbels announces
through the voice of the 'German Radio Mission'. But
really, Ladies and Gentlemen, you ought to listen to the
voice! But they have not got 'second hearing', they hear
and they do not hear. They have no conception of what is
going on in Germany today, nor consequently of what will
happen in Germany tomorrow. It is appalling to think that
something so transitory as the human voice should have been
chosen to reveal the depravity and the curse of a whole
people, louder and more unmistakably even than its actions.
How simple it looks : you have only to listen, and you will
know everything! But the people listen, and when they
listen they hear nothing but their own voice praising and
118 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
430. A good conscience is appreciated, and it is recognised
as being essential to happiness. Men recognise all this, even
conscience itself, thinking that no conscience is as good as
a good conscience. But they over-estimate their strength;
conscience returns, it can only be excluded for a time, but
it does not return as a good conscience.
431. Since the world is certainly not completed, a com-
plete system of the world is quite as certainly something
funny. But perhaps the plan of the world is finished, like
the complete plan of a house that has not even been begun.
Perhaps; although that is a very human way of talking about
a world which is, after all, so entirely unintelligible to man;
and then, pray, who drew up the plan? Man himself,
perhaps? That is really too much of a good thing, and man
only stammers out his meaning. Nor is it true that 'Phil-
osophy' is gradually building a house that will one day be
complete. That is pure nonsense. It is a house of cards
that God simply blows away.
432. The comparison between the hitlerian Herrgott-
religion and Islam seems all right, but it soon wears thin:
in spite of everything, the object of comparison is far too
exalted, and the present filth does not give the producers
and adepts who consume it, anything like the same sub-
jective certainty and faith and assurance which Islam once
gave to its followers, and, still does, to some extent. In fact
religions, even false religions, come from the East; they do
not arise in the neighbourhood of Braunau.
433. Has a single man, in the whole history of the world
ever known, and been capable of saying what would happen
in his own country, not to speak of foreign countries, in a
hundred years' time? I don't believe so. So take care!
Now that everything moves so much quicker, one can only
say, take care! The cloud will pass, as Athanasius said of
Julian the Apostate. But nowadays that by no means implies
a blue sky. Even blacker clouds may come. The nearer the
end is, the more probable it is that the spiritual light will be
darkened, rather than brightened by the passing of a cloud.
434. I consider Karl Krauss to be a great writer, but I
should not like to have written Die Fackel. Writing is not
everything. I regard Scheler as an important philosopher,
but I should not care to have taught his changing philosophy.
Philosophy, then is not everything. What is it, then? Well,
perhaps I can make it a little clearer with the following
remark: I do not consider Hilty to have been a great
writer, or a great philosopher but there are many things
in his works which I should like to have written, for he was
the friend of God.
435. The hardest thing of all for a man to achieve is a
sense of measure, and though it were only a matter of
getting within a hair's-breadth has any man ever come
within a hair's-breadth of it, in action? For passively, it is
just possible, though very hard and very rare. From time
to time a man is in a position to judge whether another
succeeds where he himself has failed by a hair's-breadth.
To me, that has always been one of the innumerable direct
proofs of the Godhead of Christ: his rejoinders never stray a
hair's-breadth from the unforeseen and the unforeseeable that
both could and had to be said the divine sense of measure
is there in all its perfection, the absolute and extreme op-
posite of man's want of measure, and of his mediocrity.
436. The scandal caused by a false doctrine is often
greater than the scandal given by a deceitful life. As a
general rule people recognise more easily and see more
clearly, that a man's life is deceitful, than that a doctrine
false. It is not enough to say of the priests of the German
Herrgott-religion: do all that they say, but do not do as they
do. One has to begin by saying: whatever you do, do not
believe what they say or follow what they teach.
120 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
437. Astronomers tell us that the empty space in the
universe defies imagination. But that is surely equally true
of time? What is the time of the world filled with since it
was created, what fills the time of every individual life? And
yet we know that there is a fullness of time. How does it
correspond with space?
438. Spirit is autonomous. It is spirit that judges and is
not judged by anyone else. If man is a spiritual being, then
he is an autonomous., free being. He could never have
arrived at the idea of autonomy were he not in himself
autonomous. But the path he takes to reach it, in Kant for
example, is mistaken. There is only one way, and that is
the Logos himself, who said himself: I am the way, and
the truth, and the life, in one.
439. Only one man can say convincingly what may after-
wards prove to have been said by thousands of others at the
same time. The mystery of this capacity to impress and
convince is not easy to explain rationally, yet this is by no
means the same thing as saying that the grounds are un-
440. There is a specially appointed demon, the particular
aim of whose mockery is man's prayer. Now, until a man
has attained the natural and supernatural point of view
from which to see that the only relation of man to God is
in fact prayer and this can certainly not come about
without faith then as long as that does not happen, the
more gifted, the more 'intellectual 5 a man is, the more
easily does he fall prey to the 'unanswerable 3 arguments of
441. It speaks well, I consider, for a man who is without
faith I consider it a mark of honour, both where his
reason and where his heart is concerned, that he should
quite simply not wish to discuss eternal life. Those who
talk about it all the same, are, in my opinion, thoughtless,
442. There is really too much 'art' in Plato that has not
become, and perhaps cannot become 'nature'. And how much
more true that is of other philosophers and scholars. To
that extent science, knowledge and philosophy is a limit-
ation, and a danger where the immediate adoration of God
is concerned. Pascal made an express distinction between
the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the God of
Philosophers and scholars, and the most 'scientific' of all
Theologians, Saint Thomas, explained at the end of his
system, of which his disciples were always more proud than
he was himself, that it was mere 'straw' compared with what
God allowed him to perceive without the method of human
443. God is inconceivable. All that happens in the
universe at this very moment, individually and together
how could a man ever conceive it and grasp it all at once.
The next moment is already upon him. And to God eternity
is there, the before and the after of immeasurable time!
God is inconceivable.
444. Generally speaking, man is rarely in a mood happily
to desire an eternal life, or even to be able to desire it. The
mere prolongation of this actual life is a thing so insipid
and boring, as to be nauseating, or so terrible as to be a
matter of unspeakable dread.
445. Stupidity! Stupidity is the word I wrote down last
night when I was tired, so as not to forget what I wanted to
say. Can one ever forget the stupidity of the world? How
tired I must have been! What I wanted to say was, that the
real cleverness of the successful lords of this world consists
in their knowledge and use of its stupidity. The nations
ruunt in servitium, are rushing into slavery, through their
122 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
stupidity, and a depraved intellect knows how to lead them
as it pleases.
446. What is so confusing to man's understanding is that
God sometimes quite clearly, one is tempted to say quite
publicly, concerns himself with minor, individual and
apparently ludicrous things, for example that an old woman's
jug should be filled with oil; whereas the fate of things which
are all-important in the eyes of men the destiny of an
empire seem not to concern him in the least. In the one
there is a terrifying distance, and in the other a blessed
proximity. God is inconceivable.
447. How timely was my reading of St. John of the Cross.
He has taught me to see many things, and to understand
much, and above all the Night of Faith. I have already said
once, in this Journal: in times like these I can only live
in the Night of Faith; worldly probabilities, not to speak
of certainties, no longer enlighten us upon the fact that the
God of whom the scriptures write, and of whom the Church
speaks, still works his will. Much else, besides, became clear
to me. In theology so much depends upon the razor-sharp
distinctions of its terminology. Faith, for Kierkegaard, was,
after all, almost the same as for St. John of the Cross:
Night, complete darkness by comparison with all human
448. The great and dangerous seducer, who does not only
seduce a woman or a nation into momentary error with
particular consequences, but devastates their souls and turns
them away from God is, in Kierkegaard's terminology, an
'extinct 3 individuality. The events and experiences of these
times confirm this remarkable analysis over and over again.
It is always the Teminine' in man that is seduced. The
devil, therefore, turned first of all to woman, to Eve. Seduc-
tion always aims at the giving up of the individual will,
at giving it, or handing it over to another will, to a bad
and evil will. Where man is concerned, as man, the
devil's tactics are invariably to 'tempt 5 him to insist upon
his own will, and to carry it out as against the will of God,
his creator, as against a holy will.
449. History shows that, by and large, the Police or what-
ever it may be, is stronger, after all, than the criminal,
simply because men, in spite of their corruption, wish it so.
Even film producers always let the police come off best
against crooks and murderers, a thing they would certainly
not do unless that was what the public wanted. It is almost
a hundred years since Kierkegaard introduced the socratic
attitude into Christianity. The importance of the step
cannot be denied. And what result did it have in the
world? The very opposite. The result was not the indirect
Fuhrer, always taking himself back, withdrawing out of
respect for the individual created in the image of God, so
that every individual should have the possibility and the
right to be taught by God himself; it was not the maleutic
thinker, the socratic midwife, helping man to revelation
and to the Saviour, to freedom and autonomy that devel-
oped out of his work, but the very opposite: the direct
Fuhrer, born of a criminal and infantile fantasy, an un-
imaginable product even thirty years ago, born of the
putrefaction of the corpse of a rotting nation. Kierkegaard's
god-inspired thought, c the individual', ended in a typically
Christian fiasco. It was placed before the world in true
Christian suffering, with the suffering of love, and simply
vanished in the 'world 9 , as though it were non-existent.
But before God it exists! O when will God's hour strike?
Is it coming? Why doesn't it come? Art thou eternally
powerless? O God, you let my faith diminish; leave me
my love! Lead me not into temptation! Me? Am I then
alone? Lead us not into temptation.
450. llth December. 12 o'clock. The Italians will be
beaten, and we with them. The fact that millions of
124 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
Germans rejoice at the thought, and patriotic Germans what
is more, is the surest sign that the world is out of joint.
How could I have thought it possible, as a child, that
anyone should wish and welcome the defeat of his own
nation out of duty and love of God? Is it possible for a child
to conceive such a thing? How hard it is, in these times, to
be a father, to have children who trust one, and how
melancholy it is to be condemned to silence, for one cannot
tell them the real situation, because they are as yet quite
incapable of understanding it.
451. An Author's rejoinder: I am immune to criticism.
Either I am so conceited about what I have written that
it is a matter of complete indifference to me what anyone
says or writes about it; or I am myself hopelessly con-
vinced that what I have written is entirely valueless and
then again, it is a matter of complete indifference what
anyone else says or writes. I am immune.
452. That Christian theology is not solely concerned with
'thinking' is a fact very soon betrayed by theologians
themselves. Many of them are adept in developing ideas
and in tracing their logical interconnection, and stumble
the moment they have to deal with the concrete, or sub-
stantially historical, with what is not just 'thought', and
often does not seem to resemble it. Kierkegaard is absolutely
right: reflection, recollection and turning back to con-
temporaneity with Christ, is a requirement of Christian
thinking. And if that capacity is lacking, a man may be a
thinker of genius, where thoughts are concerned, but in the
strict sense of the word he is not a Christian thinker. The
life of Christ among men of every kind and position, is so full,
so complete, that in spite of the difference between life in
those times and life today, every man can find a situation
in which he can in all seriousness ask the question:
what should / have done in that case? Naturally this
imaginary test should only be made with the help of grace.
Otherwise he might despair. And that is certainly not the
453. The 'author's rejoinder' does not quite come off. It
would be better to let him say: I am immune to both
favourable and unfavourable criticism, and what is more
by virtue of a complexio oppositiorum^ which is what I am.
I am at one and the same time so conceited about the value
of everything I write that I am utterly indifferent to every-
thing that is said, and then so convinced that it is worthless
that, again, I am utterly indifferent to anything that may
be said. Yes, I am immune All that, however is unnatural
and forced. It was not even the whole, immediate truth in
the case of Kierkegaard. What! And today, 12th Decem-
ber, 'the hundred and fourth day in the second year of the
war let loose by Hitler', you still like to entertain yourself
with this kind of irrelevant amusement? Anyone reading
that in twenty years' time will be indignant, specially with
your rhetorical questions. Yet the strangest things happen.
Perhaps some former Junker from one of the Ordensburg
will be thankful that at the same time that His Saviour
Hitler threatened to destroy the world, private matters
were still taken seriously in Germany.
454. It is the great privilege of man: he can and may say
that a father's, or a mother's blessing, when they are at one
with God, is binding, so to speak, upon the angels. But
for a man to 'bless' his enemy, must sound unnatural and
inhuman to the natural man. The capacity to give that
blessing, in all truth and honesty I mean, not simply in the
performance of the priestly office, is to rny mind by far the
highest charisma; it presupposes love of one's enemy which
to natural man, and this must not be overlooked, is not only
un-understandable, but also impossible. A Jewish pro-
fessor of philosophy, no great philosopher, but an intelligent
man, has confessed that he could not understand the
command to love one's enemy, given by Christianity, even
126 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
as a possibility. (He seems, therefore, never to have come
across it, since what is real is, after all, possible). But it is
honestly said, and I far prefer it to the twaddle talked by so
many Christian pastors who haven't a notion what it is all
about. (On the other hand they must, of course, teach it, by
virtue of their office). The charisma of being able to set the
final seal upon the blessing of one's enemy seems to be
reserved to the martyr. The first of these was Saint Stephen.
Some, but not many, have followed his example. It is hard
to realise that Christ, still hanging on his cross, blessed his
people, and not long afterwards St. Stephen did so as he was
dying. What people can compete with this? The English
have something of it in Thomas More. And darkest of all
seems to me the spiritual fate of Germany, for the Germans
have nothing of it. All those whom Germany looks upon as
great have called down devils and demons upon their
455. There is no thinking man who does not regard fear
as a restraint and a limitation, as servitude and a degra-
dation of the human 'person', as a decisive lack, in no
circumstances reconcilable with 'perfection'. Everyone
would give a great deal to be free from fear. Christianity
promises mankind freedom from fear. The angels of God
touch man on his weakest spot with their summons: Fear
ye not! The means which Christianity offers is love, or
simply God himself, who is love. Fear is the product of
weakness and guilt. That is moreover why men's efforts
to put an end to fear aim at doing away either with guilt
or weakness. The easiest, the well-tried method, is the forget-
fulness or illusion produced by some kind of narcotic. But
experience soon shows how superficial the effects of the
remedy are, in one sense, and how profoundly harmful in
another. This short-lived strength is soon dissolved into a
weakness that is all the more real, and into fear which is
only so much the greater; a momentary forgetfulness of
guilt in some illusion or other is replaced by a recollection
all the more clear, and consequently once again by fear
and dread. That is not the right way. Work is a better
way, but by no means more certain 'work and don't
despair' is really a sort of despair. But both, in the last
resort, and that is what I must have in mind, if the rule of
thumb is not to be just a makeshift, or mere twaddle in
the last resort, neither the power to work, nor the strength
not to despair are in my power. In the last resort, the cure
must fail; it does not correspond with the facts of the case.
The saying is certainly not Christian; it is the old pride of
stoicism expressed in terms of modern bourgeois society.
Between it and the Benedictine saying ora et labora there
is an enormous gulf But just a moment; can a man pray
at any given moment, in any circumstances, always? I
admit it is easier to pray than to work at any given moment;
for that, as you have already said, is not always in our
power. But now is prayer really absolutely always possible,
at every moment? That is the very question I was asking
myself as you said it. Let us see! What, in the last resort,
can prevent a man praying? Only two things really: his
free will or death. In the first case man alone is, so to speak,
guilty, in the second case, if he has not killed himself, then
God alone That, once again, is stated in too extreme a
form. You are really incorrigible, as a writer you always
want to write 'pointedly'. A man does not have to be dead
in order to lose consciousness. And surely an unconscious
man cannot pray. No doubt it would be hard for a man
who had never prayed And what do you mean by that?
Are we to understand that some men pray unconsciously?
456. Midnight: Half -time. The news and the "voices!
God! Listen! listen to the voices and the news! O
Listen and avenge mankind and the Germans who still pray
457. 14th December. Continuation: Lord, help me! As
an average man of prayer I do not think it impossible,
128 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
nor even improbable. Think how much the men of today
admit they do and can do unconsciously > that the men of
yesterday would have considered it impossible to do, or to
be able to do unconsciously, regarding it as absurd and
ridiculous. Only I do not want to digress into protracted
discussions. The most important thing about the Benedic-
tine saying is the order it implies, which lies beyond all the
psychological difficulties, the hierarchic order where the
first thing is, that in order to live, and so as not to take flight,
not to take refuge in e escapism', conscious man must con-
sciously establish a relation to God who is 'omnipotence',
in whose hand he is absolutely ; this conscious relationship
can only exist in orare, in prayer, and what is more in prayer
in the very widest sense of the word, so that ultimately just
as in his beginning, as a child, baptised and without guilt,
so in his end, as a man, reconciled to God, the breath of
life itself becomes prayer, the breath which is not in the
power of man himself, but is the breath and the power of
life itself, which God gives to the individual. Prayer is the
first thing I have to do, and the last thing which I can do
in my extreme weakness before death. The next thing is
work, the thing I have to do as long as I have the strength.
And nothing in this aeon, goes beyond that saying. One
can only lay down rules for "carrying it out 9 . Even the devil
can only imitate it. He invents his own rites, and so for
the rest, there is forced labour. Prayer and work are the
'proper 5 weapons against fear and dread of life. And yet I
think that fear, in the form of fear of God, and awe before
God in all purity, is an element in every 'creature', and
even participates in the highest love of the creature for God.
The child, and tlje friend of God, is entirely free from all
trace of slavish or animal fear, not to speak of the fear of
hell, and consequently of sin and its punishment. The
omnipotence of God remains in eternity, and God alone
has this power. No creature has this power, and the
strength of all creatures combined is nothing to it. Fear of
this power is therefore part of the very 'nature' of the
creature's being. And this power would still be terrible to
those without guilt, and to those who are reconciled with
God, were it not for the revelation of God's love, in which
they may sink, but cannot be destroyed. And indeed, to
say everything, they could not even sink in the love of God
were it not that the eternal Son, the second person of the
Trinity, became man.
458. 'To make a name for oneself' is the height of ambition
in this world, and to this end even the great will deny
themselves pleasure. It is the only way in which the world
can approach the great mystery of the 'name'. But the
mystery of the 'name' is really the mystery of 'the chosen',
the elect, and God alone bestows this name without man's
primordial consent, and this name is given in the name of
the eternal Son, whose name is above all names.
459. There can indeed be no doubt that a certain
'bourgeois' and 'capitalist' order, as a manifestation of a
specific period, is ripe and ready to fall, and will disappear.
But the masters of the German Reich behave as though 'man'
as God made him, were to be done away with. They have
already done a number of things which makes this, their
intention, clear. If they are to be successful, then their last
days are near. But I am still doubtful. Restaurations do
460. In the Bible, in the Old as well as in the New Testa-
ment, there is a want of compassion that, had we enough
imagination, would astonish and even terrify us, at least
if we thought it over. The men who are shown no 'com-
passion' are not extra-special rascals, but just what one
calls 'men'. In any case, it is not unchristian to be hard on
the rabble. Only it seems hardly possible, except towards
'the masses', because it is a 'mass', because there is such a
thing as quantity. Would it be conceivable where only a
few were concerned?
130 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
461. The way of salvation cannot lie in melting people
down into a mass, but on the contrary in their separation
and individuation. It is worth noting that Hilty, and not
only Kierkegaard, with whom in other respects he cer-
tainly had little enough in common, was scandalised by the
462. I have noticed that every man, even those who are
shy by nature, or timid by birth or by upbringing, is, in a
given case, far more likely to talk where he ought to keep
silent, rather than keep silent where talking would be in place.
463. Rhetorical questions are not without interest: can
one imagine a meeting between Goethe and Hitler? Why
not? Perhaps our conception of Goethe is quite wrong!
Time and history transfigure many things. That is true,
but only up to a point. A vulgar swine remains a vulgar
swine, and a blockhead, a blockhead. Neither Napoleon
nor Goethe was one or the other.
464. The only light upon, the future is faith. Knowing
is only guesswork, and barely worthy of a man. The
future is equally dark and equally obscure to every gener-
ation. And those who are not moved by the gift of prophecy
should remain silent about the things that lie beyond.
The safest course, in the long run at least, is always to pro-
phesy misfortune. And as regards good fortune, to adopt
the formula of Napoleon's mother: pourvu que cela doure.
Only those who have the right faith possess the certainty
possible and attainable in this seon. Those who have the
right faith, I say, for those who have a false faith are indeed
in a far worse position than those who reckon using the
cleverness of this world, its science and probabilities. The
greatest destruction and seduction among souls is produced
by the success of a false faith, whether it lasts for a longer or
shorter period or even perhaps for one or two generations.
One cannot compare the fruits by which one recognises
true faith with that which is nowadays understood by
success. One should rather say that, once again, the fruits
themselves, the fruits of the holy tree have no success in
the world at all, and only bring contempt, mockery and
scorn in their train. The success of a false faith, on a lower
and superficial plane, often outweighs its falseness, so evid-
ent to man's deeper nature.
465. Rare though it may be for a man to be able to pick
out a particularly plump lie among the thousands of daily
lies, it does not signify much. The man who leads a really
spiritual life is the man who has preserved the pristine
freshness of vision with which to see every lie as an individual
lie, and to grasp its quality, and to continue in astonishment
and horror that life and action should be consciously built
upon lies, instead of upon truth. If houses were inhabited
by rats, and one were struck every now and then by a
particularly plump one, that would only go to show that
one did not understand the situation as a whole. The
point is that the houses are lived in by rats and not by men.
466. The fact that at this moment I am completely power-
less vis-a-vis Hitler well, no one knows that better than I
do I realise my weakness and know its taste to the full
and yet not in all its fullness, for then I should be as near
to the all-powerful God as the martyrs and the apostles.
Thus I am torn in two; I know my powerlessness and know
that I am separated by it from the all-powerfulness of God,
which does not permit itself to be mocked, that 'laughs' at
that other power, which nevertheless tortures me body and
soul as far as God allows, for my salvation. O Lord, my God,
have mercy upon me and upon my thoughts, that they may
not lose their clarity in thy light.
467. Could anything be more easily understood, than that
someone should lose their faith on account of Hitler?
Nonsense! Nothing could be more difficult to understand
132 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
than that someone should lose their faith on account of a
mere nothing, such as he is. Well, in the first place, my
friend, there are many who have already lost their faith
on his account. That is a simple fact. Nonsense, I say,
they never had faith, and one cannot lose what one has
never possessed. Of course, if that is how you put it, then
the discussion cannot continue. But let us try to look at
it in a different way. Never remain in a cul-de-sac. You
express your indignation at the possibility that a man should
lose his faith in God over a filthy swine like Hitler (and
our judgment on this point agrees absolutely). Now
I should like to ask you which is easier: to lose one's
faith in God when goodness and nobility of mind prevail
by and large, or when, as is undoubtedly the case at this
moment, and has often been the case before, evil and vul-
garity are supreme. Now you are no longer talking about
faith at all (I never maintained that faith was easy!), you
are speaking of human understanding and of human
probability; and there, of course, you are quite right; it
is not very difficult to believe in God when goodness and
nobility prevail. But is that what happened when Christ
was crucified and his witnesses were martyred? Well, I
admit you know how to defend faith. Faith I have, and I
do not wish to lose it; God protect me! But tell me now,
is faith possible, even when the devil alone dominates, and
God no longer shows himself or manifests himself in any
way, and is absolutely powerless? That is a frightful
sophism; for faith is this: that God is at all times all-
powerful and was victorious over the devil. So you see, you
have not yet freed yourself from the "thoughts' of men. I
feel you are right, well enough, and that you are the advo-
cate of the Most High. But let me be, not the advocatus
diaboli, but the advocate of man in his weakness, who like
me, needs the mercy of God. For the ordinary, average
'good' man, whose eyes are open to the events of this world,
surely the most difficult of all things to believe in is the
all-powerfulness of God? Is it not conceivable that one
might even lose one's faith in the omnipotence of God, the
Father, and yet continue to believe in Christ; though, no,
that is not quite what I mean: but, to love Christ as the
most perfect being, who as love 5 had to pay for his existence
with failure, because power does not belong to love. You
are wanting, it seems to me, in balance. A poet always
Exaggerates'. But one should only and then not always
magnify the divine, not what is mixed and mediocre or even
evil. Perhaps the man you describe exists, and he is cer-
tainly unhappy, and desperate, and we must recommend
him to the mercy of God, as long as he does not come
forward as 'teacher', that is as a heretic; for you must not
forget that Marcion held roughly those views, and that Saint
Polycarp called him a son of Satan. Our faith is that God
is the almighty Father, and that Jesus Christ His Son sits
at His right hand, to whom is given all power in Heaven
and on earth. That is our Taith'.
468. Rejoinder: There is one weight which I cannot shake
off; I can bear it, but I tremble beneath it. It is after all
our faith that our will is free, and moreover even our
experience. If our will were not really free, then our
responsibility to God would be meaningless. And then man,
whose peace is freedom, would be without dignity or worth.
On the other hand, our faith is that God determines every-
thing beforehand Yes, I know, even our freedom as
freedom. It is the glory of Christian theology, compared
with a doubtful and hesitant theology, that it draws all the
consequences of both propositions without the least fear,
even though, they appear to destroy one another mutually*
And so they would, for the rationalists, on a single level:
they simply collide and cancel each other out. But that is
not what happens in true theology, and the unspotted faith
of the Church. Here, and here alone, something happens
which resembles a miracle of the understanding, to the
gloria del. It is, to use Kierkegaard's language, this paradox
which is the very truth. There is only one such. All the
134 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
others, the innumerable others, are only abstruse formulae
or simple absurdities. But there is one formula, which to
worldly rationalists without the faith is simply absurd, and
only one, though paradoxical in the extreme, which is
privileged to be the true human expression of the facts of a
Christian truth, which simply cannot be stated otherwise.
But I seem to have forgotten the beginning. I began by
referring to a weight upon me, to great difficulties and I
end by almost losing myself in enthusiasm, as I always do
when I touch upon this theme. What was I trying to say?
That the idea of predestination always threatens to get the
upper hand, to such an extent that the thought of freedom
is borne away by it, however much one may try to stabilise
it. But perhaps the reason for that is, that the human under-
standing grasps the thought of necessity much more easily
than the thought of freedom.
469. Do you want somebody to read what you write,
night after night you only write at night, don't you, have
you ever written anything by day? do you really want to
be read? Your questions take me by surprise; I never
consciously asked myself the question, I write so to speak,
because I am a reader and always profit by my writing.
But now that you ask me, I have to admit that whoever
writes wants to be read, and not only by himself.
470. As a general rule the Germans are far from wishing
that God should do too much ; they would far prefer to do
everything themselves. They would even like to create
themselves. And of course make themselves guilty, that too
of course, and it does not require a great tempter. And
then: save themselves! No saviour, not at any price! 'Self',
that's the man for us! And having done everything for
oneself, then God must give it his blessing, he is morally
bound to do so. A German Catholic theologian, following
along the same lines, managed to define God as causa sui,
the most barbarous, plebeian theologumenon that I know of.
471. Any number of thoughts are expressed and written
down by their authors in the hope and expectation that the
reader of these thoughts will understand them better and
more profoundly than he does himself. That is by no means
impossible. But a conscientious writer would be shy of
doing such a thing. He wants to get to know a thought
himself before letting it loose on others. He knows the
danger of unknown thoughts.
472. A great many average Christians find it very difficult
to form any conception of the meaning to be attached to the
saying that in the house of our Father there are many
mansions, and that many belong to Him who do not visibly
belong to the Church; whereas, on the contrary^ those who
belong to the 'world' cannot understand the exclusiveness
of the words, and the gulf which separates them. Certain
forms of Christian existence are normally unintelligible.
They hang by a thread at every moment of their lives, and
wander in the abyss of despair, and almost at the same
moment they feel themselves 'personally' in the hands of
the all-powerful God, and everything is there just for their
sakes, and at the same time they are less than nothing; and
all this is not twaddle or a propaganda speech., but the
simple truth. It simply is so.
473. 24th December. In the night when Christ was born
the leaders of the German people spoke of the German
Christmas. Can God still be God after that disgusting
insult to His name? Woe to the sons and to the sons'
children. Through it all there ran that horrifying pride,
particularly evident in Field-marshal von Brauchitsch's
speech: The sea is only England's wall as long as it suits
us'. God can no longer build walls, if it does not happen
to suit Hitler. 'God has blessed us' the Field-marshal said,
and continued: c God will not desert us if 9 if what? could
it be followed by the one clause possible, since man began
to pray, the traditional formula: if we do not desert God?
136 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
No, that much I knew with deadly certainty, he would not
say that e if'; he continued, 'we do not desert ourselves'. And
so that is the condition placed upon God, the condition he
is bound by: if we do not desert ourselves, which means
to say, in their eyes : if we do not desert Hitler, God must
help us. That is the "proud German faith 5 . It is altogether
impossible, except to God, to whom all things are possible,
to teach this German General, in his pride, even the simplest
Christian truth, such as that an all-powerful God is, after
all, master of man's will and can lead it like a torrent.
No, if these principles and sheer pride so evidently conquer
the stupidest eternal essential truths God has never
existed, then all is madness My friend, your indignation
and despair, and your carefully prepared climax, show
clearly enough, either that you are incapable of keeping
calm and are not wholly without anger, or that you cannot
hold out to the end, that you are not old enough to look the
last things in the face. For ultimately, if the prophecies
and revelations of Christ are not empty phrases, then
nothing will change, things will go on as they are, and they
will get worse. Yes, but God will shorten the days True,
but He and not you will decide the measure. Well, and
what am I to do then? Hold your heart in patience, my
friend, and then : do you not thirst after justice? And do
you suffer for it? Yes, now I see.
474. Rejoinder: My faith is no thicker than a hair, and as
feeble, and what depends upon it is so strong and so heavy,
heavier and stronger than the whole world. If only it
holds! Only think, the hair is grace. And grace is the
strength of God, strong enough to sustain the world.
Well now, so you are a poet! That seems to be your worst
insult. That is an exaggeration, and clumsily expressed.
No, but in otherwise good men, the poet is often a danger
in religious matters. The poet always magnifies : Magnificat
anima mea Dominum. Certainly! that is natural and as it
should be, but the poet is not content to let the matter
rest there. He must magnify the world, in both good and
evil, and, alas, himself, in good and in evil, and in neither
case is that right.
475. We say that the Spirit of God dwells in a man, and
we say that a man is possessed by the spirit of evil, is pos-
sessed by demons : we do not say the contrary, and by this
distinction we stress the factor of freedom, which is only
given to man in its full sense through the indwelling of the
Spirit of God, whereas possession means complete servitude.
476. My nights are always the same: at first everything
is dry and barren, and there is not so much as a drop to
wet my tongue and give it life. Then, somewhere or other,
a little stream springs up and soon the waters are rushing
down and the bowl is not large enough to contain them.
477. Never leave hold of God! Love him! And if for the
moment you cannot love him, then fight with him, accuse
him, argue with him, like Job, and if you can, slander him,
blaspheme but never leave him! For then you will become
very ridiculous and wretched, and worst of all: you will
not even notice it.
478. Children and young people think of old people in a
way which never occurs to them. When he was ninety
years old Prince Eugene said to a forester as old as himself:
we still feel quite fresh and sound and healthy, and we
hardly notice we are so old. We do not, Your Royal High-
ness, but others do.
479. It is a puzzle to me to know why it never could occur
to me to see anything great in the men who rule the world
today, and who have 'achieved 3 so much. Nothing. Nothing
but what is most common, vulgar and plebeian; on an
enormous scale it is true; but that is not 'greatness'. Whether
Napoleon's contemporaries felt the same thing about him,
138 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
I do not know. But as far as Hitler is concerned, the most
I can produce in the way of human feelings is a boundless
contempt. He is everything that most nauseates me. That
is one side of it. The other aspect horrifies me, but that is
no longer human. It is the voice of the fiend: C I will take
their children from them'. (Hitler, 1937).
480. Whoever looks down upon the freedom of nations
and of the person, must be the enemy of Christianity. The
first, primitive form of freedom is to live according to one's
way of life. And without thought or reflection, quite in-
stinctively, nations and peoples fight for this right. It is
part of nature, and by and large it is right and just. But
very soon different c ways', whether higher or lower, begin
to emerge within the nations; they begin to look for their
'freedoms'. If that happens without destroying the whole,
there is great progress. But should the development lead to
anarchy, there may well be a reaction, setting up an arti-
ficial 'norm' cum fundamento in re of course as being the
way of life of the people, to which alone 'freedom 5 is granted
absolutely. That is the case in Germany today. And then
every way of life which rises above the ordinary is shackled.
Ultimately it is the servitude, the enslavement of the way
of life of the whole people, for if one thinks rightly upon the
matter, one would have to recognise that this way of life
could never be determined by a single generation, though
it were the richest in geniuses, or even saints that would
always be presumptuous. This would be true of animals,
and even of plants, and how much more of man. Wherever
there is life there is 'possibility', some possibility remains;
and one would have thought that nothing was clearer. But
now look around at what is going on today! Spiritually and
intellectually how far below the average! Masters filled
with ressentiment and itching for revenge because they did
not satisfy the requirements of a certain educational ideal
(false in itself, or falsely applied), because they could not
understand the participium absolutum or indirect speech:
intellectually, then, all those who were hardly treated, the
ones below the average; and morally, not just the average,
the crude and brutal, but above all the ones with criminal
tendencies, filled with hate against God, Christ and the
Trinity: these are the men who lay down categorically
what is to be the German way of life, for the whole future.
And to this end they must extinguish every recollection of
the past, of what is great and dignified, or else they falsify
it, or alter it into something base. But one only has to try
to imagine what it means, in order to see that it cannot last:
the whole undertaking will collapse, and the end is at hand.
48L 30th December. Roosevelt has spoken. It looks as
though at last he knew, or somehow suspected what it is
about. Though it is by no means absolutely certain.
Nevertheless, there were moments when he struck the right
note. The thing is that the fight is not just about democracy'
it is about 'man*. The question is whether mankind is
going to seal the end with a lie, whether man ends up
as swine and slave, whether the 'German' is pre-destined to
establish the kingdom of darkness in this aeon. As yet I
do not believe it; or rather I cannot believe it. I am
frightened; not always, thank God, and the words Tear
not 3 often echo in my heart. We are going to suffer unspeak-
able horrors and misery, but we shall be rid of the worst
criminals of Germany. And so I take it upon myself to bear
with all that is frightful, out of thankfulness to God, grateful
that he did not let it happen. But how long, O Lord,
482. Thoughts and forebodings during the last few days
warn me that I still have long to live, and at the same time
I have the impression that I am not yet mature. God
483. I am quite unable to understand a man who merely
commands his people, and who does not love them, simply,
140 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
naturally and straightforwardly. A man like that just isn't
natural. Mentally or spiritually he is sick. But there the
matter must rest: any emphasis on this love, however slight,
at the cost of greater things, of truth, justice or goodness, nau-
seates me in my inmost heart. For this reason alone Goethe
is, to me, immeasurably greater than Fichte or Arndt, and
Aristotle than Demosthenes whose chauvinistic clique tried
to mark him down as a traitor to his country. Never, in the
history of the world, have all the worst characteristics of a
people been so thoroughly and successfully mobilised and
utilised by criminals as are those of the German people
today. And so the German's love of his country today con-
sists in not losing hope that there will be time to turn back
to a better 'way'. Love must become fearless : better to be
reduced to nothing, be annihilated in temporal, material
and bodily things, than to injure one's soul for eternity.
I can still remember quite clearly how afraid I was in
1918/19 that we should lose our name and our place in the
world. That was a great spiritual weakness. I now know
with certainty that for Germany to conquer the world
today would spell ruin. Minister Frank, perhaps the most
'extinct' of the German criminals, is said to have said that
Hitler was destined by God to be Lord of the World.
484. c My words shall not pass away', could indeed only
be said by the Word of God. No one else, however com-
paratively great among men he might be. Eternal truths
must always receive a new body in time. Newman or
Kierkegaard, or Hilty could and had to say things that
Thomas Aquinas or Augustine could not say, although they
said the same thing. And indeed it would be unjust if the
fruit of their gifts and sufferings were mere superfluous
485. The consequence of human freedom seems to be that
my salvation depends entirely upon me, and the consequence
of divine predestination that it does not depend upon me
at all. The human understanding that only draws one of
these consequences, and relinquishes the other, without any
doubt relinquishes reality and fails in its task ; for man
is subject to reality, and may not 'spin thoughts out of his
head, or deduce arguments from mere thoughts, deducing,
constructing and decreeing. But the human understanding,
which courageously and fearlessly draws both consequences,
which is what it must do if it is to remain true to its task
this same human understanding declares its own bank-
ruptcy in face of its particular task: of understanding,
namely its incapacity to do that from which it derives its
name: to understand. Man does not understand it. Where this
mysterium is concerned, every attempt to take refuge in
an approximate explanation is either a delusion or a lie:
for man does not understand it. And yet there is something
quite unique about it. This lack of understanding has marks
of feeling, that no other has. There are in fact innumerable
cases in which we do not understand facts or real things or
events. But in all these cases they only have a negative side
or aspect, so to say, and that is all basta. But the lack of
understanding of divine truths reached by natural or super-
natural revelation has, in addition to the absolute absence of
understanding, upon which no one could act, a further
position which is altogether transcendental in character.
The region, the point of complete absence of understanding
is, as it were, clearly delimited, and any false demarcation
is immediately felt by a sensitive understanding, and a
powerful understanding could always demonstrate its false-
ness by argument. There is so much that is not understood;
but this one thing alone is a mystery of light, and it is the
only one in which there is the power of God, so long as man
does not abandon it in favour of his own poor understanding.
486. We, as a nation, apostatised on the 30th January,
1933. Since then, as a nation, we have been on the wrong
road, on the wrong side. Yet even now there are few among
us who suspect what it means : to be on the wrong road and
on the wrong side.
487. If the Germans alone were to inherit England's
world supremacy, within the Christian order what would
it imply? That was not a question worth the effort and the
work of thinking about. But now it is clearly and evidently
a matter of Christ, or anti-Christ.
488. All great poets are androgenous, whether in actual
fact, as spiritual and physical individuals, they are man or
woman. Rilke translated the Sonnets from the Portuguese
well, by and large, but Elizabeth Barrett Browning is the
greater poet. There are many things which Rilke, a mere
man, could only translate in a feminine way, which Elizabeth
Barrett's unreserved womanliness interpreted with a manly
489. There is one difficulty which has bothered me for a
long time: Hilty, I consider, was one of the most upright
of men and one of the truest Christians of the world, and I
regard Cromwell as one of the most mendacious in the
history of the world, a great hypocrite, though of course
I allow that he deceived himself in many things. Now, how
is it possible that Hilty should have been ready to put his
hand in the flame, so to speak, for Cromwell's honesty?
How is it possible. Now, I am not altogether without fear.
Not that I have deceived myself in this matter, on these two
points. O no! But I am afraid that I may deceive myself
elsewhere, at another point.
490. 4th January. Moscow Radio. A Pravda announce-
ment: Russia led the world in 1940 In art and science it
lays down the law for mankind. This will be even more
true in 1941, and still more so in 1942. A complete culture,
Russian and national in form, socialistic in content and
essence. And compared with what is happening in Europe
and America perhaps there is some ground for this assertion.
The hour of the Slavs!
491. The problem of consciousness, its degrees and its
levels which are not to be confused is full of difficulties
and confuses the mind. With regard to the three faculties
of mind: thinking, feeling, and willing, the conception of
unconscious willing was the one to penetrate most easily,
and therefore earliest as a result, in point of fact, of a
misunderstanding. Will was equated with instinct, or at
any rate explained simply as a development or as a specific
case of, instinct. But 'instinct' is a biological conception, and
is completely unconscious. The most difficult to arrive at,
was the conception unconscious thought, and there are no
doubt people, even today, who regard unconscious thought,
as a contradictio in adjectu, like 'wooden iron'! They regard
thinking as pure subjectivity, and pure subjectivity as con-
sciousness turned back upon the I, but in neither case does
it meet the real facts of the case. Unconscious feeling has
never seriously engaged the attention of philosophy, be-
cause it has never really bothered about feelings, even those
which are conscious. Poets, indeed, and the great psycho-
logical novelists have for some time been telling us about
unconscious feeling and unconscious sensation. And in fact
neither our will nor, obviously, our thought can be so hidden
from us, can work in our unconscious and condition our
life, as our feelings can.
144 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
492. 5th January. Midnight. The Italians have struck
their colours in Bardia. Why have I a feeling of satisfaction?
Is it right? Have I this feeling because I believe that at last
God has intervened? That His mills are grinding? That
the house of sin is built upon sand, now as always? Have I
a clear conscience? Are my feelings free from private wishes,
free from Schadenfreude, from antipathy and sympathy, sine
ira et odio? But perhaps that is a fussy, and an idle question?
Why so? Surely both anger and hate can be sanctified?
493. There can be no doubt, for a believing Christian,
that the first rebellion was an absolutely evil action: it was
directed against God, who is good. This rebellion knows
neither repentance nor atonement. It is the free act of
beings originally good originally created good. That is
an absolutely inconceivable Mystmum. Agnosticism tried to
evade the mystery which, to repeat, is absolutely incon-
ceivable to human understanding, by supposing that evil
did not arise as the result of a free act, but that it was both
necessary and without cause, from the beginning; that is to
say, Agnosticism assumed, or assumes it as existing c in the
beginning', for that religion exists today. At the most it
allows good, in some sense, to prevail; and so, to all appear-
ances, they evade the mystery, only to fall into an absurdity,
which makes both silence and prayer impossible, and
encourages reasoning. Man's rebellion is a different matter.
Where man's rebellion is concerned an apparent and
genuine additional injustice plays a part. In any case
every rebellion makes use of it to the full; the more despic-
able it is, the more it does so. It is not merely that in the
beginning man had to be tempted to sin, and so could not sin
of himself., by himself; it is not merely this, but the fact that \
the devil had to persuade him that something was being
withheld from him by God, unjustly.
494. Let me distinguish between rebellion against God and
rebellion against men. The latter always implies guilt on
both sides, and indeed very unequally. Naturally, the rebel
always tries to make it appear that what is right and
honourable in him rebels against what is wrong and ignoble.
In doing so he at least concedes the existence of an objective
order, independent of him, namely that what is wrong and
ignoble has no right to rebel against what is right and hon-
ourable. Now in point of fact we live in a world of continual
rebellion, of rebellions moreover which ought to be, and
again ought not to be; rebellions, or let us say revolutions,
which more and more take on an inevitable character.
And they assume this character more and more, because
revolutions from below combine rebellion against what is
often undoubtedly wrong, against the guilt of those above,
the rulers, that is to say, a rebellion more or less justified,
with an unjustified e evil s rebellion against right itself, against
the rights of the natural order and the supernatural order,
against the natural and supernatural hierarchy we believe
in hierarchy! (Nota bene. Is disorder a greater evil than a
wrong order? 'Anarchy' than the organised dominion of evil?
It is far from easy to decide.) Nevertheless, although these
revolutions appear to involve the relation between man and
man and human things only, they do actually in fact involve
divine things and ultimately even the relation between man
and God. The most frightful and most confusing things
imaginable may then follow, and that is what is actually
happening today: entirely separate and distinct natural
things which had been hopelessly confused and overturned
may be restored to their natural order as a result of a revolu-
tion, at least in some measure; and simultaneously the relation
to God, both natural and supernatural and revealed, is
fundamentally and diabolically perverted. For that is what
is happening. The excesses of individualism which are
harmful to the community, and the absurdities of an out-
worn formalism which interfere with genuine rights, are
done away with, but simultaneously all true religion is perse-
cuted, suppressed and done away with what may that
signify? That is, when the very principles of the supernatural
146 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
order are overthrown, turned upside down, or denied?
But I am in danger of getting off the point. For this is the
thought I want to stick to, and which grows into a thesis :
every purely human rebellion bases itself, or claims to rest
upon a wrong inflicted upon the man in question, or upon
man in general. Is that correct? I should think so! That is
the meaning of the great Promethean myth. Is it not true of
the experience of man, who is and ever will be called Job?
But is that all there is to say? Is it the most one can say? I
believe not. Let us look more closely! e lf God existed, how
could I bear not to be God' Nietzsche asks, expressing a
rebellion against God that goes much deeper than any his-
torical revolution; moreover, the motive which he gives puts
every other motive in the shade. It is of so spiritual a nature,
that it almost seems to have been the motive of the fallen
angels themselves. Superficially and at first sight it almost
seems so, but a more careful examination reveals the whole
difference between man and the angels. Nietzsche's hypo-
thetical 'if', e if God existed' is human, and what is more,
relatively late in date, impossible in a pure spirit like Lucifer*
The devil can never be an atheist; he can only use sophistical
arguments to tempt to atheism men of a specific intellectual
culture and of a certain power of reflection moreover, or
strengthen them in it; men of a special type, to whom religion
in its original and immediate sense is something quite
foreign. Adam could certainly not have been seduced with
atheistic propositions. Nothing was so certain to him as the
existence of God. Adam could not have fallen into the sin of
Atheism. But: eritis sicut Deus (You will be like God) ! That
fetched him. And why? Because man is formed by God : to
long to be like God. Man always wants to be like God, and
when the cloud of madness is upon him, he wants not only to
be like God, he wants to be God, he himself wants to be God.
And so it was with Nietzsche, who was already going mad
when he proclaimed that 'God is dead'. The fact that man
can go mad is connected with the fact that he can be
saved. The final escape is not granted to pure spirits; the
devil cannot go mad. More frequently than is generally
believed, madness is a last, avenging grace, at the same
time that it is a punishment. Some men know this ; they
beckon to the awful guest, and throw themselves of their
own free will into his strong arms*
495. It might be instructive to carve up a classical period
into fashionable little sentences and to illustrate what has
been lost. There are still a few readers who would under-
stand, but it could only be a pastime. Their slips of sen-
tences are like slips of plants; there are no longer any real
sentences, sentences like trees.
496. I was very early struck by the thought, and it has
never deserted me, of how little I myself could contribute
to my existence and nature. And I drew the conclusion
that it was far more important for me to meditate on the
power which created me and sustains me, and can certainly
dispose of me as sovereignly in the future as it has done in the
past, than upon the little which I can do, or can do merely
in so far as that power demands it of me. That is the limit.
That is certainly connected with the fact that from childhood
I was of a contemplative nature! What does that mean?
Surely you will agree that all children are contemplative;
and that the gift is only lost or buried after a certain age.
Undoubtedly there is something in what you say, although
even among children the gift is unequally bestowed, and even
at play, for example, the distinction between practical,
theoretical and even contemplative holds good. You are no
doubt right there. Some States even display their hatred of the
contemplative life in the games which they make obligatory
for children, by forbidding those which invite contemplation.
But then the contemplative life too has its dangers and
its forms of degeneration. Isn't it better to be active in
reality than to invent fairy stories, or listen to them?
'Brooding' is not by any means contemplation! More often
than not it is just gazing into space, 'star gazing'. And it is
148 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
only the demoniacal counterpart of real contemplation
which grows in fullness and does not concentrate on a single
point, losing itself in space.
497. 14th January. There are signs that firm believers in
the infallibility of the Tiihrer' are beginning to consider
him mad, particularly those who have to do with him
personally. And in the end the Germans will be the most
deceived of deceivers among the nations, and each man
individually will point at the other in rage and contempt:
how could you, you fool! It must have been plain to every-
one that this must happen. But not one will beat his own
498. Men who themselves still respect the invisible
boundaries which belong to the idea of man, and believe
that they still exist in others and must be respected, can
allow themselves to be liberal in the maintenance of out-
ward laws and to mitigate punishments. The man who has
torn down the invisible boundaries within himself, the
nihilist, will always be a 'fanatical 9 adherent of capital
punishment. There is a certain lack of discipline within
the limits of discipline, that is the first stage; and there is
a certain discipline within indiscipline, and that is the
second, demoniacal stage of indiscipline. That is the mark
of the 'Kingdom of Antichrist* that has not yet come.
499. The German Herrgott-religion, as I like to call it, is
not, of course, the 'personal' faith of our Tiihrer' ; to main-
tain that would be a great error. He is a nihilist, who does
not know what he believes. As far as he is concerned,
religion is just another instrument, the best way of managing
a certain German thoroughness. Among Germans that
frightful proclivity seems hardly to be touched even by the
water of baptism. The German Herrgott-religion was set up by
the Prussians. There is only one people that was chosen, in a
supernatural sense, by God, the Jews salus exjudaeis, in the
words of the God-man himself though there are of course
many peoples who, as a people, have a mission and often
an exalted one, but there is only one that is chosen. But if
nevertheless others imitate or try to imitate in this sphere,
then the result in general and naturally in the individual,
is a grotesque caricature. Look at the Prussians and their
500. It lies in the very order of nature, and is a maxim
of experience, that leadership' should belong to a minority,
for the best and the most gifted are always in the minority,
and the best and the most gifted ought, after all, always to
lead. But that is no longer the meaning of the sentence: a
minority should and always will lead. Cynics interpret it
abstractly. The decisive thing is to be without scruple and
determined to stop at nothing, to have a specifically criminal
intelligence, and to use it. After all the criminals in any
nation are a minority. Germany is led by a few criminals,
and the German mind is represented by a few low types.
Thus we have the very reverse. But a country ought to be
governed by a minority which is above the average. Is that
really so, my friend, is this country not led, to a large extent,
by exceptionally capable people? Technically, yes! That is,
morality, ideals and the spiritual life apart. Mentally and
spiritually, technique, 'the machine', is a difficult problem,
that I allow. There is at this point a demoniacal interregnum;
the spirit and soul of man can be devoured by technique,
and owing to certain other qualities, the German of all people
is the most capable of living and dying 'like a machine 5 . It
is possible to reach the summit 'technically', and to touch
bottom qua man, as God intended him to be. That is the
fate of Germany today. There is no thought which gnaws at
man so surely as technical thought, and yet on the other
hand it is the most human of things. Abstract technique
is the pure invention of man, and is certainly as far as possible
from godly thought and from that of pure spirits. Action
and contemplation can be thought of in terms of polarity,
150 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
so that the one conditions the other, and the being in question
needs both, and nothing without both: no action without
contemplation and no contemplation without action. But
technique is possible without contemplation. Technical
thought is all-too-human thought, and must therefore never
assume command. It is an extremely useful and usable
servant, but it must serve. One must never give it the upper
hand for a moment.
SOL There must always have been Nazis, or how would
it be possible for the Bible to be so full of warnings against
502. How the tower of Babel must have impressed men,
before it fell down! How they must have hated, despised,
persecuted and done to death those who expressed doubts
or warnings, or even openly declared it an offence against
God! But the attempt to build the tower will continue to
503. There is perfect tragedy in Vergil's Dido. Shake-
speare and Racine, to whom the material was so suited,
must have seen that there was nothing new or better left
504. To the Germans 1941
Your fame is without lustre. It sheds no light. You are
spoken of because you have and are the best machines.
And in the world's astonishment there is not a spark of love.
Without love, there is no lustre. You regard yourselves as
chosen, because you build the best machines, the best
machines of war, and serve them best. What grotesque
inhuman men! Another race! Not these men, oh my
friends! Let us create others But how? From the
Christian point of view there is only one way: to turn back;
an active remorse. Outwardly perhaps, God intends to
recast everything on a grand scale, using a new mixture of
races and peoples, which is the exact opposite of what the
Nazis want and are doing; the artificial purification of an
inhuman race, and of a people without sense of measure.
Can anyone believe in the Christian regeneration of the
German people? On the basis of human possibilities and
probabilities it can only be considered impossible. Were it
nevertheless to happen, it would be a miracle.
505. Man cannot think himself. He is God's thought.
And c My thoughts are not your thoughts', is also true of
506. When the dead bury the dead, the funeral is often
very quiet. One hardly notices it, and only few know how
illustrious is the dead man being buried at this very moment.
But sometimes it occurs to the accompaniment of stupen-
dous noise, and the cost to the mourners is in hecatombs of
blood offerings. A noise like Beelzebub driving out the devil.
507. 13th February. I write almost every night now.
At the very time when I neither know why nor for whom I
am writing! Except: for my own instruction and for myself.
Now, that I can only read with the utmost difficulty, the
only way for me to learn is to write. I get to know things
that I have never known; I acquire knowledge that I
should never have grasped by mere thought, and that
writing makes possible. And so I write for myself, and my
508. The man who acts at once, on first thoughts, will
make many mistakes, both in theory and in practice; it is
seldom that first thoughts are best, though then indeed
in quite a different degree when it is a matter of doing
something good. One should do it on the spot! The man
who acts on second thoughts, the careful man, lives more
securely; he will have fewer disappointments. Second
thoughts can of course include an indefinite number of
152 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
thoughts. Decision really lies then, in the third thought,
that outweighs all the others, the first and the second. And
so right living implies three thoughts. Might they not be
distinguished by the fact that first and second thoughts are
almost always 'inspired', and only the third follows upon a
conscious, logical judgment? Far from it, the third thought
may well be 'inspired 3 .
509. I am a good listener and a good hearer: I under-
stand at once, and clearly. But usually I only know the
right answer later. And so, with certain exceptions, I am
not cut out for discussion, and least of all for conversation.
I can very well remember that one of the most painful
experiences of my youth was when I had the absolutely
certain feeling that an assertion made by someone was false,
and I could offer nothing in reply, or only the most ridicu-
lously inadequate reply, because my tongue was paralysed
by my inarticulate thoughts. On the other hand it was this
very impotence to answer on the spot which occasioned my
endeavours to attain clarity, and to break up the solid rock
of my feeling of certainty, to carve out of it logical arguments.
510. The fame and the historical influence of the schools
and the schoolmaster belong to the culture of the West; they
do not belong in the same degree to the East, where they
do not have the same significance. Naturally, they are known
in the East, they belong to man, to a certain stage of civil-
isation. There is a certain difference and a certain tension
between a Master and a schoolmaster, for a good school-
master need not be a 'Master' and a 'Master' certainly not
a schoolmaster. But sometimes they are united in a single
person, and that is the glory of the West. Sometimes the
perfect 'Master* is a 'master of the Schools', the perfect
schoolmaster. The greatest example is St. Thomas.
511. At times the power of the Zeitgeist is overwhelming.
Rationalism for exahnple was so powerful that it even
compelled men who were in essence anti-rationalists, to
think and speak rationalistically, at any rate up to the point
beyond which it was no longer possible or permissible, for
example Pascal, and still more so, St. John of the Cross,
whose mysticism, in so far as he renders an account and
a justification of it, is the end of rationalism, exhausts it.
512. Music and poetry are very ambiguous. Our masters,
the first absolute apostates of Europe, have Mozart, Beeth-
oven and Bruckner performed at their rallies, and the poetry
of Holderlin, Goethe and Schiller recited. They do all of
these geniuses more or less of an injustice, though few notice
it. But after a certain point the apostates themselves dare
not, even for the sake of a momentary political purpose, use
Christ's words. At a certain point the divine is protected,
but not so genius.
513. Since the fall of man the method beloved of criminals
who need accomplices, because they want to commit crimes
on the greatest possible scale, has been to involve Con-
spirators'. By giving them a share in the crime, they prevent
them from turning away, or turning back. That can be
learnt from the great historians, Thucydides, for example.
People are so glib nowadays with the excuse that 'they were
not there at the time 9 , in regard to anything that happens,
so proud of 'unbelievable achievements' and in this they
are right :* unbelievable and not to have been present is
the correct expression for a conspiracy in evil. What an
awakening, when the German people awake to the know-
ledge: to have taken part, to have taken life, to have
conspired and lost.
514. As a rule, it is the simplifiers who are the most
dangerous and the most mischievous seducers of men. God
and the good are simple, but the world and the good things
of the world are not. The simplicity of God and of the good
contains in itself the fullness of all being and of the possible.
154 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
In one sense Christ is the greatest simplifier, for he teaches
that all the commandments depend upon one : on the love
of God and of one's neighbour. This commandment con-
tains everything, and the saints can live according to it if
they are perfect, else they too must distinguish. Whoever
is even one step behind this commandment, as for example
the man who teaches that everything depends upon justice :
to each his own even he, a just man, sends the world off
the rails, for man cannot live without mercy. But true love
is both: justice and mercy. Mankind is one, as the idea
and creation of God. Upon the basis of this unity, men are
both equal and unequal. The pathos of this distinction lies,
naturally, in the eternal. What is more unequal than the
chosen and those who are not chosen? And yet both are
men. The whole truth is very much more exhausting than
arbitrary simplifications. The one calls for Masters, the
other is the part of bunglers, and the vehicle of power for
evil men. The world has experienced the consequences of
both simplifications: 'all men are equal 5 , and c men are
unequal 5 . A false simplification is intellectually degrading,
and because it is an impoverishment, it is a perversion of
feeling and leads the will astray.
515. Properly understood, the business of a don is:
knowledge, to bring knowledge of every kind on to the level
of indifference. Things only become awkward if he wants to
be the equal, or tries to be more than the man who has had
to gain or to use his knowledge on the summit of decision.
516. There are authors who always write pointedly, even
when they write about things that have no point; and that
is very wrong, and thoroughly unnatural. The world is
round, not pointed. Perhaps someone will say: yes, but
that too is a point.
517. When men are no longer in a condition to regard
death, objectively, as something frightful, as a violation o
the spirit of man, then although they may be able, never-
theless, to build machines, they can no longer use the Bible;
neither can they think Plato's thoughts; why, not even
518. There can hardly be any doubt that in essential
respects the Church will be driven into a situation which
will resemble the earliest Christian times. It will be very
similar and not identical. There will be great differences,
ruling out any simple copy, and calling for meditation rooted
in the times, and needing to be illuminated. I mean of
course the political weakening of the Church. Christians
will no longer gain any advantage from belonging to the
Church, on the contrary! And that is a good thing. They
will also be without influence, like the early Christians.
They will be so far removed from the world that they will
not even be noticed, and so not even despised, for in order to
be despised, one must first of all be noticed. But as in the
first ages of Christianity, they will be just as close to the
world, so near that they will be hated, persecuted and put to
death for Christ's sake. And that will probably be the case
on a great scale, for today, in the end (at the end), Christ
is more hated than in the beginning.
519. Lies have their day. If after a certain time they
are not driven out by the truth, then it is by another,
and perhaps a greater lie; but they are always driven
520. They love power, above all for the sake of power, and
in order to do harm to their enemies, and the heart of their
pleasure, is Schadenfreude.
521. 1st March. Believe it or not! The German Herrgott-
religion already has its hymnalist. Lehar, the dear man,
has written a song: C O Herrgott, lass mir meinen Leichtsinn*
(Deprive me not, O Herrgott, of my thoughtlessness).
156 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
522. A completely mature, thoroughly reflective man will
not, ultimately, wish to have written anything but his own
work, not even the words of a master.
523. Immortalia ne speres .... (Horace), is a magnificent
poem. 'Humanism' can reach no further. But the perfect
form is touched by a breath of insipidity, of inadequacy, of
524. Hitler, Goebbels, Himmler just imagine them! You
know them after all, you have seen them, before and behind,
from right and left. Just try to imagine it : they dominate
Germany, they dominate Europe at this very moment
and you may not at the risk of your lives laugh. Could
you have imagined such a thing? But, believe me, you
cannot do so even now, at this moment, when it is a reality.
It can only end in blood and squalor, otherwise
otherwise? Can anyone doubt that it will end in blood and
squalor? Could my heart or my brain conceal a thought
capable of doubting it? Come forward then, you monster,
come out of your dark hiding place! Show yourself. But
nothing appears. An erroneous suspicion. Otherwise?
What did I mean by otherwise? O, I know: otherwise
there is no God and God is not God, and the non-existence
of God is proven. Otherwise all is confusion and madness.
525. Burkel, at that time the Gauleiter (the God Baldur,
of the line of Schirach is Gauleiter of Vienna now) is said
to have referred in Vienna to c the son of a whore of
Nazareth*. There is hardly any doubt that he was referring
to Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, and that
the whore was the Mother of God. The matter has never,
I think, been put so bluntly except by a Jew, which might
give Herr Biirkel to think, if that were possible. On the
other hand it is to be noted that Houston Stewart Cham-
berlain ako put it bluntly when he said that the Father of
Jesus Christ was a German Legionary! The only difference
is in the language, the proletarian language of a Biirkel
and the more aristocratic language of Chamberlain, and
so in a matter of taste.
526. A kingdom for an idea, that would bring Europe
under one hand! But where is the kingdom, and where
is the idea? The Germans of course think that Europe
without England amounts to an idea. And who dies for it?
Germans, of course, who die for everything, for trash and
filth, as they prove daily; but where are the others? Is it
possible for the racial idea to unite Europe? As though a
doctrine which divides, could unite. A Negro is capax dei,
and can eat the body and drink the blood of the eternal
Son, can go to heaven; a Jew or a Pole, however, can never
share in the rights of a German, even though he be of the
quality of Herr Goebbels or Himmler. Where is the idea?
Socialism, the equality of man? It is a great idea, certainly,
which will equally certainly play its part. Without any
doubt, it is superior to the German racial ideology, which is
simply the idea of a proletarian romantic. 'Europe without
England 5 is the German political solution, at the very
moment when it is explained that England is no longer an
island. How absurd it all is! Where does England belong,
if there are no more islands?
527. It is not simply the case of a man maintaining his
family by robbery and theft, about which his wife and
family are in ignorance; it is more nearly the case of a
man who makes 'his' people 'great' through criminal and
evil deeds, and makes the people increasingly aware of then-
guilt and complicity. And if in the first case it could hardly
be said that the family were blessed, in our case there is
certainly a curse on the nation. And the nation itself must
demand expiation through 'conversion 1 , for its salvation.
528. The fact of possessing power gives a man so many
of the desirable goods of this world into the bargain.
158 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
Tower' not only has whatever it desires at every moment,
wealth and material pleasures of every kind at its beck and
call, it has the favour and the art of this world, and its
beauty, and if it so desires, and has the sense thereto, the
leadership of 'culture'. It can decide which philosopher is
to teach or rather, if there is one about, whether he should
teach or not. It even has a pale shadow, a phantasmata of
the three Christian virtues: faith, hope and love. They
are the insane images of the deceit: men believe in this
power, hope in it and love it. And that is not all. The devil
is capable of still more terrifying deceptions. There can
really no longer be any doubt that the dominion of evil
involves a simulacrum diabolicum of the martyrs. And their
blood fertilises the earth of evil. Their frightful oaths call
the spirits of the dead to resurrection, and they possess the
living, shout their songs, increase their strength tenfold, and
are visible in their every look.
529. Men are more jealous of their sorrows than of their
joys. As far as I'm concerned you may have been as happy
as I have been, and have had as many and as great joys.
But don't dare to say that you have suffered as deeply as
I have! * Whose sorrow can be measured with my sorrow? 5
It is right that the highest mark of the elect should be given
to Mary, the Mother of God.
530. Faith and opinion. Faith is concerned with the End,
and in time it is not possible, without divine inspiration, I
mean where temporal things are concerned. I believe in
the trinitarian God and his promises. But these are con-
cerned with the End. I only have opinions about the
immediate result of temporal occurrences and struggles.
I am astonished that so many people talk of a firm, and
unshakeable, and unbending Taith', and can only think
that they are either lying, or hypocritical, and do not
understand their own words, or that they are possessed.
Get thee behind me, Satan! All that is simply stupid, an
impertinent lie, and the purest nonsense as if I could
believe that Christ is the son of God, and also believe that
Germany or England would be victorious. I am indeed
firmly convinced that at the present moment the govern-
ment of Germany is profoundly evil, and that the German
people is exposed to an unbelievable religious and moral
danger; I am firmly convinced that it will have to bear
the responsibility and punishment for its actions, but I
consider it possible that it may be immediately victorious in
time, according to the higher intentions of God's will.
I consider it to be possible, and I would not despair of God's
justice, I would not lose the 'faith 3 I consider it possible,
but not probable, for even fallen nature has and recognises
limits to evil, which I hold have been overstepped in the
present thoughts and actions of the German people. More-
over, fallen nature also has and recognises powers which are
good, and they are, I believe, called to full consciousness
among the enslaved and threatened peoples. It is said that
the world does not change, and there is some truth in this,
nevertheless there is a difference, which is heavy in the
balance: this difference is consciousness. So much and so
great evil has never been committed so consciously. It is
the first, definite apostasy in Christendom, or let us say:
the second, raised to a new power, if we reckon 1 789 * as
the first in the west.
531. It has often been loudly maintained by modern
humanism that the good must always be victorious, even in
time; and it is in no sense a Christian belief. Where is there
a single word to this effect in the Gospels? Where is there a
trace of this belief in the symbol of the faith? It is the
opinion of modern humanism, itself a heresy, and is one of
the most dangerous of heresies. The notion is simply a
distortion of the Christian faith in the victory of good in
an absolute sense, and in God as the Lord of the world.
*In case this should be misunderstood I would refer the reader to 494.
160 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
532. There are nations who have the political gift of
making the yoke which they lay upon others seem much
lighter than it really is. The Germans have the opposite
gift, of making a yoke weighing ten pounds seem like one of
a hundred pounds. An unfortunate gift, when one wants
to conquer the world.
533. The feeling of the nihilist is one of perpetual sinking
and drowning, that of the Christian is of perpetually being
carried, and lifted up (or uplifted) even in the lowest depths.
534. 27th March. Revolution in Jugoslavia. After the
crisis, the awakening of the virtues of citizenship, which
in the west, and in such a form, were sadly lost. The words
freedom and patriotism and honour have won back their
honour. They were hardly recognisable beneath the crust
of dirt and disgrace and lies.
555. I am the master of everything I can explain.
536. A myth need not, of course, be literally true in order
to be true, in the sense in which myths can be true; but
when it is literally a lie, like the German contention not to
have been defeated in 1918, then the term myth is also a lie.
557. A genuine, essential patience is a divine virtue, but
it may contain a sort of reflection of impatience, which has
something attractive about it, and that must not be con-
fused with a rebellion against God. On the other hand,
there is also a caricature of patience, made with a will to
evil and destruction, which out-devils the devil, who is
fundamentally impatient, the spirit of impatience.
538. The relation of man to his creator is of clay in the
potter's hands the comparison has not ceased to be the
cause of scandal and offence. There is also much to be said
against it. But the meaning and the passion of the prophet
can be understood. Still, man is not clay, but neither is the
559* In face of the true believer, the unbeliever has,
nevertheless, a sense of inferiority, a feeling that the other
has something which he has not got, and something which
he cannot take from him. That ends easily in hate and
persecution. But when a society dogmatically excludes
the faith of the Christian, the forms of hate surpass
540. It is a dangerous conceit to think that one can have
a 'religion 9 of humanism and of this world, without the
co-operation of the devil. He is the Prince of this World, and
refuses to be excluded, although one may only mean to be
concerned with this world, and not at all with him, who
does not exist.
541. Let there be no mistake; and it ought to be said
with all possible clarity and calm: to hate Christ, is to
hate God. John, 15, 23: Whosoever hateth me, hateth
also my father. The German Hengott-religion proclaims a
God who is certainly not the father of Jesus Christ, and
from whom the Holy Spirit certainly does not proceed.
And so is not God.
542. 6th April. Entry into Jugoslavia and Greece. Gran-
diose proclamations. Belgrade declared an open town by
the Jugoslavs and by us Tort Belgrade 3 (sic!) and bombed
three times successively and 'most successfully' by Stukas.
The German heart rejoices. It is Easter! The twelfth
Psalm was written thousands of years ago, but it is just as
though it were written today, today, the 6th April, 1941,
shortly after six o'clock in the morning, immediately after
Goebbels had read the proclamation, and having been
written, was recited : the wicked walk on every side, when
the vilest men are exalted.
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543. God is not an image of anything, therefore one must
not make an image of him, nor any representation. God is
spirit. He is neither image nor representation, and his will
is that one should pray to Him, in spirit and truth only.
544. Time always moves on. One can take a step back
in space, and in other similar things: but never in time.
One deceives oneself easily, in great and in small, over this
545. If there were no truth in the saying anima naturaliter
Christiana, if there were nothing in man's nature which
answered to and called for Christianity, then considering
how much in Christianity in fact goes against man's nature,
it would be quite impossible for any man to make a pro-
longed effort, a lasting attempt, freely to live according to
it, not to speak of his being actually able to do so. But in
fact the position is rather that the more harshly and violently
men lay aside the Christian religion, the more they cease to
be c men 5 , as God created them, the more corrupted their
546. There can be no religion without eschatology. What
is the End? Eternal pleasure, eternal peace, eternal struggle,
eternal repetition, eternal progress?
547. The German is not creative where religion is con-
cerned : that is sometimes the complaint of the apostates,
who are on the look out for a better Ersatz for the Christian
religion than they themselves can supply. That fits the
facts. Before one can be creative in this sphere, one must be
humbled, one must give oneself, and through a complete
annihilation of oneself, pass through a 'death' ; and as a
rule, the German is much too proud.
548. In times of danger such as these and I may cer-
tainly boast that I live in dangerous times the art of life
consists in being able to circumscribe short periods of safety,
so that the knowledge and impressions of the danger which
is quite certainly at hand attains no power upon the soul,
within these narrowly circumscribed boundaries. For the
next eight hours I need fear nothing except God, and that
is a fear full of love: so let us live and enjoy the next eight
hours in peace, perhaps even in peaceful sleep.
549. If one is responsible for every unprofitable word that
one has spoken, how much more so for every word that one
has written! There is, what is more, no saying where I feel so
strongly that I am placed before an unfulfillable command.
There is no saying to which man's reaction, I would hold,
is so certain: he can only remain numb and motionless, he
can only keep silent. But Christ will answer: with God this
too is possible. That is to say, not to speak unprofitably. A
saint, then, will not use a single unprofitable word.
550. For a hundred years no one has known how to build
a church. All the recent attempts are really miserable
failures; hollow and empty or strained. Perhaps it is
simply a sign that no more churches are to be built. The
Christian Church is entering upon a new form, the mark
of which is not, as it has been for nearly two thousand
years, churches. The Church lives already, and will con-
tinue to live in partibus infidelium. And die Church may
exist in partibus infidelium, but one does not build churches
55L In the year 70, five thousand Jewish Christians left
Jerusalem together, in order not to take part in the national
rising. Traitors to their land and nation, every one of them!
To a national Jew the spirit of this rebellion could have
been none other than that of Maccabeus. What did the
five thousand Jewish Christians see standing between the
Maccabees and the new patriots who rebelled against the
foreign yoke? The crucified Messias, the new faith. The
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Jews are the chosen people. As a nation they rejected the
messias and even crucified him. But those who accepted 4 ,
accepted him to the full. Where is there an example of such
an agonising break with one's 'country' among the gentile
Christians? No-one will surely maintain that these five
thousand Jewish Christians hated the Jewish nation. They
must have loved it like Paul, or rather as Christ loved it.
The first martyrs too were Jews. The gentile Christians
only followed later. Why God chose the Jewish race is
naturally inscrutable, and why the Eternal Son took flesh
and blood of the Jewish people. But once this is said, one is
not completely in the dark. And so through the reckless,
boundless sacrifice of national pride, and what a national
pride ! There is nothing like it, when awakened it some-
times slumbers except the German. Who can hate like
tl^e Jew? And the Protomartyr, Stephen: how perfectly he
fulfils the new law, how brightly he carries the mark of the
Christian martyr, that marks him out distinctively: to
bless one's enemy instead of cursing him, to love him instead
of hating him. There are some who have the stuff of
martyrs in them, so to say, by nature, in modern times
Kierkegaard for example, and in a more brutal form, Bloy.
But the latter would have hated his enemies in the very act
of martyrdom, the former would probably have despised
them, which is also not right.
552. I have spoken in these pages of a heavenly impatience,
as of a treasure within the great virtue of patience. But
there is also a hellish patience. And really great and evil
works cannot be achieved without it. An ordinary, natural
man, even though he may wish to attain evil, and desires to
possess it, simply cannot summon up the necessary patience.
Long before it is over, he sickens of it. Face to face with
really evil men, an ordinary good man can avail nothing,
though an angel were to come to his help. Who can hold
his arms up for eight hours? Moses could not do so without
help. Who can shake the hands of ten thousand men, one
after the other, not because he singles them out before God,
but because, on the contrary, he degrades them into the
'masses'? Who can endure the roar, not of animals, but of
herds of men, at all times? Except the man who hates God
and the Son of Man and the Spirit?
555. The most significant event in the twentieth century
is the rise of the Catilinian power-state. Nihilism spread
among individual, theoretical minds, will construct the
'bonds' which the Great State will take over when c the hour
of evil' is at hand.
554. The 'spiritual 5 understanding of man understands
that there is a qualitative frontier vis-a-vis the divine
understanding. It is perfectly possible for such a frontier
to exist without human understanding knowing it, or being
able to know it (and that is very often the case in actual
fact); but the 'spiritual' understanding, as I shall call the
understanding which has made its submission to faith, hope
and love, the characteristic of the 'spiritual' understanding
is that it knows this at the decisive moment. That has
nothing to do with the quantitive measurable frontiers of
the human understanding, with its greatness or smallness,
that is. It even seems as if at times the greater the under-
standing the greater the difficulty in recognising the frontier
and of living according to it. Among these one would have
to include the great rationalists, and above all Kant, who
was certainly one of the greatest intellects. Kant's trans-
cendental understanding, and his 'reason' are certainly no
longer the individual human understanding, they are
human understanding, human reason in purified and sublime
form. What are 'contradictions' to them are absolute con-
tradictions and consequently are also contradictions for a
divine understanding. The great rationalists and Kant, too,
as can immediately be seen, were wanting in any sense of
perception for the mystery. There are not x mysteries in God,
but a quite definite number. There are not an indefinite
166 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
number of contradictions and opposites for the human
understanding which find their solution in God, but a quite
definite number, for example predestination and freedom,
justice and mercy. The spiritual understanding stands
absolutely by the principle of contradiction and will always
declare the absurdity and wickedness of saying that God is
good and bad, whereas, he will maintain that certain con-
tradictions which are absolute to an autonomous rationalist
are resolved in God (for example predestination and free-
dom, mercy and justice), and what is more that it is a
solution which does not abolish the principle of contra-
diction. That is certainly a mystery, but not any number
of mysteries it is, on the contrary, within a definite divine
555. The final expression of an absolute despair would be :
it has always been so, and it will always be so. That would
be the despair of God, for the individual man would always
be released by death.
556. A Christian society is not complete without those who
e have made themselves eunuchs' for the sake of God's
kingdom, and even outwardly this is true: it would be
lacking in one of the signs and marks of Christian society.
Monasteries, certainly, may be the form conditioned by the
age; but those who defame 'monks' and 'nuns', as has
sometimes been the case among Protestants, and never-
theless want to possess the 'true* doctrine, are simply
castrating Christianity. They deny the spiritual strength
which makes it possible for a man, even in this life, to live
as all will live after death. It is not possible to remain
unmarried supported by 'ethics' and 'morals' alone; it is a
vocation and a grace and only upon this foundation can it
become the expression of an ethic and of an asceticism* The
words of Christ: He who can grasp it, let him grasp it,
leave no doubts upon the matter. Everyone can c grasp' the
557. The fact that language does not permit of calling
machines 'wonderful 9 and 'divine' rests upon a generally
accepted feeling. It is clear that these words cannot be used
to describe the products of the machine, unlike so many
products of man's hand, and in particular, works of art.
The human hand is a wonderful instrument by means of
which the spirit, and at times even the Holy Spirit, with an
absolutely immaterial intention, creates the difference be-
tween a mediocre mechanical work and a work of genius.
555. The way from God the Saviour, to God the Creator
is difficult, hard to see, and hard to understand. The
identity of the two has been denied from the very beginning
of Christianity, sometimes by men of outstanding talent,
founders of sects and heresies, and there are many men at
the present time who feel the same way. That Jesus Christ,
the Saviour, is at the same time the creator of the world,
of the milky way, of the earth and the lion, is an unfathom-
able mystery that many do not so much as notice, and may
not even notice, without running the danger of losing their
559. Certain rites among magical religions create an
effect of being mechanical. And is not the effect of some
great smooth-running machines almost magical!
560. To do something for 'God's reward' means, in this
world, to do something for 'nothing'. In the world 'God's
reward' is nothing. In the eyes of the world whoever does
something for God's reward is a fool, and in the eyes of the
same world, the Christian who hopes to be rewarded by God
for his good works is a common beast, because he does not
do good for the sake of doing good. That is the sort of con-
tradiction which the world swallows.
561. The really fruitful paradoxes grow on the frontier
between 'being' and 'nothing', and they are the only
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adequate expressions for things and conditions which cannot
otherwise be grasped. Movement is the mark of life. What
can move so fast as a machine, and yet it is dead, a "dead
life' compared with the smallest plant, which may seem
motionless but in which there is the mystery of life. 'Dead
life' is not 'wooden iron 9 . The devil, significantly enough,
is described as 'living death 5 . He is spirit, and spirit is life,
the most living life. But he is also furthest from God, and
nearest to nothingness to death that is.
562. All our victories are won 'according to plan'. It is
all worked out 'logistically'. And yet gradually it is be-
coming clear that very much that unquestionably happens,
is not 'according to plan'. Or is it, after all, 'according to
plan'? A fraction, certainly no more, of another plan, of
the plan of quite another? Supposing, now, this very
different plan were to be carried out, and it were the plan
of our defeat!
563. Even in nature there are so many animals whose
origins one does not understand. 'That worm-like creature
you say, will turn into a Red Admiral? You must be mad'.
But it will; and so a criminal can become a saint of God.
Not by nature, of course.
564. 7th June. The Germans who are trying to uproot
Christianity entirely and are being enormously successful
in quantitate, seem to think that Christian theologians will
die out at the same time. But that is a feeble-minded
notion. The Professors, the professors paid by the State:
yes, they will of course die out. But the theologians? Good
heavens, one would think the fathers of the Church were
salaried professors. On the contrary! Then we shall once
again have some great theologians.
565. When someone is successful, he always likes to think
that everything was planned in advance. But that is always
an error. The devil was successful, but he had not cal-
culated that God could become man.
566, Leibnitz would have stared open-eyed at anyone who
told him that he, Leibnitz had received his intellect from a
God who himself had none.
56*7. In rationalism the only sign of freedom is the fact
that events cannot be calculated and are in fact 'incal-
culable 3 : a purely external view of things, and false at that,
in so far as 'freedom' most unquestionably lies beyond the
calculable and the incalculable. It belongs to a different
56$. Men can vdry profitably be divided into those whose
field of vision is dominated by the things which cannot be
altered, and those to whom the things which can be altered
occupy the front place. That marks one of the profoundest
differences. Great political wisdom consists in rightly
distinguishing the things which one can change from those
which one cannot change. As it is, however, things are
appallingly and terrifyingly muddled.
569. Abraham must have loved Isaac more than anything
in the world, loved him so much that he was in danger of
loving him more than God. And so he had to be tried. If
Abraham had preferred Isaac to God, Christ could not
have been born over and over again sacrifices like this
one are required. If Stephen had hesitated or weakened,
Saul would not have become Paul, and the gentiles would
not have been converted.
570. The notion that the argument of some philosopher or
other against Christianity could be above my head, that I
could not understand it, has really never crossed my mind;
on the contrary as far as the moderns are concerned,
Schopenhauer, or Nietzsche or Scheler, there are many
170 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
things which I could put better than they do. No! No! No!
I may suffer from almost anything else, but not from an
inferiority complex in this matter. Neither Paul, nor
Augustine nor Thomas Aquinas, nor Newman nor Kierke-
gaard are 'stupid by comparison with the others', but crudely
and brutally put, exactly the opposite is the case : though
indeed I know well enough that the real difference is grace.
57L 'Scientifically', it would certainly be preferable to
state the truth without stating it paradoxically. But then
science is not man, nor the reverse. Science ultimately is
there for man's sake, and not the reverse. It is human and
even divine to talk in paradoxes, and to stress and exag-
gerate one part, at the expense of another part, so that the
whole can be better perceived. And it is with similar
methods that a painter brings a landscape nearer to one
than the Scientific' photographic lense.
572, The pain I had was unbearable. What does that
mean, my friend, since you bore it? You bore the pain, and
so the pain was bearable. When does pain become unbear-
able? When you die or lose consciousness; and so it is not
you who decide when pain is bearable, but nature and
575. 15th July. Since the 22nd June the Russian earth
has been drinking blood, and nothing quenches its thirst.
Alas, is there any sense in asking what sense there is in the
world? Where is the peace of God, the requies aeterna?
What is it, if it is not in life? If it is in death, then it does
not concern the living! Peace, eternal peace, is in God,
our peace is in God. In the world there is no peace. The
'little mother 3 the Russian earth goes on drinking rivers of
blood, drinking like a drunkard. So God is not in the
world. But what do my stammerings signify? How does it
concern me; what have I to do with what goes on in the
world, so long as my soul is not saved.
574. Plato considered a certain music, a particular mode,
harmful. Who knows, and who is to say how far this music
was merely the expression, or how far the cause of the
decadence of the Greeks? The fact that a particular music
accompanies the decadence of Europe, and to musical ears
actually is that decadence who can fail to hear that? one
would like to ask a rhetorical question the wrong way
round; for no one seems to hear it, except a few whom
575 The basis of the German Herrgott-religion is a funda-
mental pride that will not let itself be broken by God.
Every nation is proud; but there are differences. The
national pride of the French is to a great extent vanity.
It is not for nothing that the cock gallus is the national
symbol. The cock is proud, but perhaps even more vain.
There is something delightful about the way in which
French national pride reveals itself, it is so open, frank and
free, like the cock-a-doodle-doo and the fine feathers of the
gallus and like the direct sensual appeal of the dairons.
German pride is gloomy, hermetic, self-isolated and like
all self-imposed reserve that is not sealed with the seal of
God, it is terribly dangerous. It must also be remembered
that the French, more than any others, by nature express
analogically, the gloria dei. The French are by nature the
nation of la gloire.
576. One can divide the great minds of the nineteenth
century into those which had and those which did not
possess the spirit of prophecy. Kierkegaard, Newman,
Dostojewski had it, Tolstoy did not have it, though his
natural genius was certainly no less than theirs.
577. God is in all truth mysterious enough, but the fact
of his predilection makes any understanding even more
hopeless than it already is. I can't say I agree. I, too, love
this or that more than other things! Why? Well, simply
172 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
because it is worth more. But my friend, you are missing
the point. You are not the creator of the things you prefer,
or love more. But God is. You don't mean to say that just
as I prefer this or that work that I have written, so God prefers
this or that. For how can one of God's works be unsuccess-
ful? No, at this point anthropomorphism is wicked folly.
578. How can I have dreamed such a dream in August,
1941? I, who do not even know what The Myth of the
Twentieth Century looks like externally, not to speak of
having read a line of it what made me dream that I was
interrogated by Rosenberg, and then because I utterly
refused to answer, because I remained silent (Magnificent!
as a rule in dreams I am, alas, a coward) was condemned
to be executed in a most curious manner. By night, in the
middle of a field, and surrounded by SS men, I was asked
how it is that I write as I do. I remain silent, contemptu-
ously silent. Then followed endless tirades on the role of
the Christian religion as the enemy. At first they said that
it was a purely spiritual battle. But in the end nevertheless
it was decided that I had merited death. I was put on to
a sort of hand-wagon which started to move at a single
shove, rolling faster and faster towards a precipice, without
my being in the least afraid. Just before going over the
edge I woke up, still not afraid, but astonished at my dream.
579. 10th September. A year ago today the official
propagandist, Fritsche, talking on the wireless, said of
the bombing of London: c Once upon a time fire rained
down upon Sodom and Gomorrha, and there only remain
seventy-seven just men; it is very doubtful whether there
are seventy-seven just people in London today'. I already
know many reasons why Germany will not win the war.
Fritsche's speech is one.
580. 1 1th September. On the psychology of the German
people. People are asking impatiently when the new gas
will be used, and young girls talk about the e chocolate
factories* that are being put up everywhere they mean
gas factories. We shall need very many just people if there
is to be anything left of our people that can still bear a
'name' before God and the world.
581. How capable the German Fieldmarshals are. And
then they get themselves well paid. They are supposed
to have received a million each. In addition to all the
honour! Not to mention the Cross, with the hooks on it.
The world belongs to the capable', an old German
saying. But they are just that much too capable. And
the saying then, is no longer true. The world will not
belong to them.
582. The devil was in a good mood and said to the soul
that wanted to break its pact with him: Tell me a good
story, make me laugh, and you can go scot free. The soul
answered: If I were to tell you a story that made you
laugh, I should lose my blessedness a second time! and
583. Today it was announced that as from 19th September
every Jew must wear a yellow star on the left side of his
coat, the star of David, the great King from whose stock
the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, was born according to the
flesh. It is not impossible that the day will come when
every German abroad will be obliged to wear a Haken-
kreuz on the left side of his coat, the sign of the anti-christ.
The more they persecute the Jews, the more the Germans
resemble them, and their fate. Today they are crucifying
Christ as a people for the second time. What is improbable
about their undergoing similar consequences?
584. It may seem very much the same, superficially,
whether a man has nothing to say, because he has no
thoughts to express, or because his thoughts are too great,
174 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
too mighty and too rich. But what a world of difference
555. Is it madness to assume that mankind might have
taken quite a different direction, and that it might have
been much happier than it is today? When one thinks that
in the life of the individual the possibility cannot be denied,
then why should it not be true of mankind as a whole?
586. Good Friday, 3rd April My God, My God, Why
has thou forsaken me? How can a man be God after uttering
these words? That is how the question is sometimes put.
The son of God in a human sense then certainly, a father
can forsake his son. But that is to bring everything down to a
very human level. Is not this Son of die same essence as the
father? Are these words meant to be heard by the ears of
man? Since man cannot understand them? Nevertheless
they were spoken and they express, as it seems, nothing less
than despair. But a quite definite despair. Some un-
believers interpret them to mean that with these words,
Christ gave up God, and His faith in God. But there is
nothing of that in the words themselves, they are not
atheistic, they say nothing about there being no God, or
about God being dead. On the contrary: God is. But he
has forsaken me! And that indeed leads us out into a
restless sea of thoughts which only the power and the peace
of God can still and the Resurrection.
557. Easter, 1942. In all their impenetrable mystery they
remain the most human words: My God, My God, why
has thou forsaken me? The most divine are: Father,
forgive them, for they know not what they do. The first
words I can say at times in all truth and honesty. The
others I can, up to the present, only look upon with aston-
ishment and wonder, recognising of course, that they express
the novum mandatum> and the new order, here lived, expressed,
realised and natural. To be a living stone in the building
of this new order is the aim and end, but that I can never
become of my own strength. So there only remains the
complaint that God had not given me a new heart newly
ordered; though God knows I long for it.
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588. 29th April. One must begin with the equality of men.
Then one can and indeed must go on to speak of the in-
equality of men. The reverse order is full of dangers, and
leads in practice to frightful catastrophes. To the Christian,
the thesis is perfectly plain.
559. 1st May. Cold and snow! The weather is not
joining in. It is even against us. Science tells us that sun
spots are the cause, without telling us however whence they
come or why. How many battles and campaigns have in
the past been decided, lost and won by the weather. The
conquerors of the future must see to it that they also have
command of the weather. And if they succeed in doing that
then where can you be, poor God! Then what will all the
superstitious men do, the men of darkness who so impudently
and stupidly, or stupidly and impudently dare to say they
see the hand of God in such things?
590. 2nd July. Power and weakness are mysterious things.
They may exist in created being without sin, that is to say
in the innocent and the good, before the fall of man, and
after his redemption, after the coming of Christ and after
the judgment, by virtue of the being and the will of God, the
creator, who is good. St. Thomas says of woman, after the
resurrection: similiter etiam nee infirmitas feminei sexus per-
fectioni resurgentium obviat. Non enim est infirmitas per recessum a
natura, sed a natura intenta; et ipsa etiam naturae distinctio in
omnibus perfectionem naturae demonstrabit et divinam sapientiam
omnino cum quodam ordine disponentem commendabit. (In the
same way, the weakness of the female sex does not detract
from the perfection of the risdn body. For it is not a weakness
arising from the non-fulfilment of nature, but is intended by
nature. And this is precisely what will demonstrate the
perfection of nature in all its varied dispensations, and make
manifest the divine wisdom which everywhere creates
according to a gradation of orders. Thomas Aquinas:
Summa against the heathen, 4, 88). Thus the marvel of
power and of weakness, of strength and weakness, will
continue to exist in a perfectly and indestructibly good
world, not merely united and harmonised, but separate and
distinct. It is one of the divine mysteries of the creation,
and one of the secrets of the beauty of the 'eternal feminine*
iota pulchra es! How beautiful thou art! The core of the
mysterium iniquitatis is a very different matter: the power of
evil and the weakness of good in the world and the history
of man. Certainly it is related, in a manner obscure and
impenetrable to us, to the everlasting mystery of the
separate existence in creation of power and weakness. But
at the bottom of this mystery, the mystery of evil, there is
pain and despair: the prince of this world with great power
and its rightful 'king' hanging powerless upon the Gross;
il sera en agonie jusqu'd la Jin du monde. At the very beginning
of the incline or of the decline, there is the Will to Power, the
power before and against God. The will of the healthy and
ordered creature before God or where God is concerned, is
the will to weakness : not my will but thine be done. Even
the pious pagan desired to be without power before God:
cede Deo! Make way before God! 'Who is like unto God 5 is
the name of the most powerful angel, Michael. Why yes,
of course all that is true, but it does not really begin to
approach the mystery, for God is omnipotent. Just try
and think what that means. Only he must have given
Satan and certain individual men of today power, must have
given it consciously and wilfully, to bring about all the
horrors and the desolation of these times. Indeed, it is
true: the omnipotence of God is not difficult to conceive,
one might really say, that it is naturally assumed. What is
inconceivable is all that God allows. My God, My God,
let me be weak before you, let me be in the wrong!
59 1. 3rd July. Nemo enim simul miser etfelix esse potest, no
one namely, can be miserable and happy at the same time
a sentence taken from St. Thomas, the logic of which is
surely self-evident, incontrovertible. And no doubt it is,
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where concepts alone are concerned. But where a human
being is concerned then it is quite a different matter. One
might even say that this is the point where the man and the
Christian of today, differs from the man and the Christian
of the middle ages. Holderlin, always so incomprehensible
to himself, is not the only one who saw himself in a state
which he thus describes: Wie so selig dock mitten im Leide
mir ist How happy I am, nevertheless, in the midst of my
suffering 5 . Even Kierkegaard, so much more transparent to
himself, understood himself at moments simul, as simul-
taneously the most miserable and unfortunate man, and also
as among the happiest, at different levels of the hierarch-
ically ordered strata of man's being, naturally. And that
is the explanation which helps us to reach agreement once
again with St. Thomas. Max Scheler's recognition of this
stratification, and his thorough discussion of it, is among
his finest work. In the sense in which he meant it, St.
Thomas is obviously right. But men are no longer so
'whole' and 'complete' as in his day, they are dismembered,
disintegrated precisely because they lack faith, and con-
sequently they perceive the dismemberment, the disinte-
gration more easily, though of course it always existed, for
there is no such thing, essentially, as a new man. But this
disintegration is one of the problems of our time, and what
is more a painful one, and one, consequently, very fruitful
in knowledge. The really astonishing thing is that St.
Thomas's philosophy is the only one which provides the
principles with which to dominate the problem; and it
almost seems as though schizophrenia were a universal
disease among modern men. The different realms of man,
who is quodammodo omnia in a sense all things are rebelling
against one another. The band which unites them has been
broken by the fall of the hierarchy of the orders. But in
spite of everything, St. Thomas's words nemo enim simul
miser etfelix esse potest seems to me to show that he himself
was Angelicus angel-like in a degree which the Apostle
Paul, for example, was not. Thomas had no thorn in the
flesh. And to some extent that explains why he is so strange
and foreign to modern man who more often than not has
not one, but several, thorns in the flesh.
592. It is the impertinent, as well as the thoughtless use
of the words 'eternal 3 and 'unending* which embarrasses
and repels the philosopher in me. In created nature there
is no such thing as 'eternal* and nothing is unending in the
strict sense of the word. The creation is finite and that is
recognised by the natural sciences in so far as they can
think philosophically; there is an indefinite, but no infinite
which comes from God alone.
593. 7th July. As I wrote the date, I was struck by the
7, and how dark and mysterious everything is, and alas,
how the Light itself is at times darkest of all. Has the
immediate future of nations ever been so dark and hidden
from all and each individually as it is today? That is what
I meant to ask when I wrote the date 7.7.42. I think one
can answer the question with 6 no', for they have not even a
Promise with which to see vaguely into the future. Every-
thing has fallen about our ears. There is nothing left but
the Christian Promise, and it does not refer to this world,
but to the new world before which comes death. Century
after century Christians have deceived themselves about
594. 8th July. Nothing that is good in this world can
claim eternity and immortality. Everything here is destined
to perish. If there is not something eternal in the very being
of man, then it is ridiculous to postulate or to expect an
595. The belief in God includes belief in his attributes.
No one of his attributes lies altogether easily to hand, in
such a way that it cannot be questioned or has not been
called in question. To believe in every single one of them
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varies in difficulty from age to age. Nowadays, for example,
the most difficult is : that He is all powerful or that he is love.
596. The Verbum for the sake of which language and all
other Verba really exist, is the verb 'esse', 'to be'. The Ger-
man language has a very unfortunate way of calling this verb
a 'Zeitwort', literally a 'time-word', a word indicating time,
or else a 'Tatigkeitsworf, literally an 'action-word 5 , in-
dicating action, whereas it is in reality the word of eter-
nity, and of being* But it reveals much of the German
597. The fact that the spirit of Christ outshone his body
perhaps helps to explain the curious circumstance that the
disciples at Emmaus did not at once recognise the risen
Lord, not until their spiritual recognition once again
revealed the whole appearance to them.
598. In a really common, evil man, vices which seem at
first sight to be mutually exclusive and contradictory often
grow together, or at least tend to do so, for example
hypocrisy and shamelessness. It is not merely that he is at
one time a hypocrite and at another time shameless some-
times the same action manages to be both hypocritical and
599. 4th October. It seems that we cannot live entirely
and absolutely without God. As long as we are successful,
and above all as long as we spread- destruction c on a scale
hitherto unknown*, then of course it is all our own work,
our strength, our intelligence, our incomparable genius,
our planning, our logistics, the home front and the battle
front; for the dominion of the world, the hegemony of one
nation, is not God's matter, it does not happen by his
permission, but is *the work of man 5 . Thus, when it comes
off, when the success is there, the merit is entirely ours.
But if, for instance, the weather is bad, if the cold weather
comes much earlier than usual, unexpectedly early then it
is Providence behaving to us like a step-mother.
600. How immensely thankful I was in Church today,
4th October 1942 to hear the Cardinal's decree read out
as a consequence of the shameless treatment of the last
air-raid victims by the Party that, in future, ten minutes
after the sirens go, a general absolution will be granted to
everyone who makes a perfect act of contrition. What
consolations the Church has, my God, that thou hast
given her! And almost as though with the intention of
showing us the gulf which separates thy Church from the
German State, Goring made a speech, to give us courage.
Hell was opened, like the heavens at dawn. A nasty mess
of infernally stupid jokes and empty threats the summit of
which was supposed to be the expression 'then God have
mercy on them*. But that, and that alone will be fulfilled:
God will give us grace.
60 L 21st October. The mysteries of Christianity excite
various feelings in us or difficulties of feeling (or relating
to feeling) apart from, and yet related to their intel-
lectual obscurity. The mystery of the Trinity is the most
exalted, the mystery of the Incarnation the most disturbing
and the most moving at the same time it touches us so
nearly, so intimately. And I can never consider the
mystery of the predestination of the Saints without a pro-
found sense of anxiety. Nothing, I think, could alter that.
And a theologian who was to tell me that he could contem-
plate this mystery with the same feelings of solemn calm, as
he would have in contemplating the other mysteries would
be as sinister and almost demoniacally foreign to me as a
man without dread.
602. If Eros is the only power that draws a man up to
higher things, to higher and higher union then he either
remains proud or becomes proud: c my name will not
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vanish in ages'. How true! But what about eternity? And
God himself, the highest, he can never reach. He remains
so frightfully certain. Suffering is a better way, perhaps the
only one, for it can make a man humble, whereas Eros,
whatever its form, can never do that. And one only attains
the highest, one can only remain on the heights through
humble love. The Tall* and the e pride' of the angel are one
and the same thing. Neither eomes before the other.
603. Short dialogue: I do not wish to be on the losing side.
I want to belong to the victorious party.
That is a very human desire, but there are times when
it is more honourable, and therefore more human, to be on
the losing side.
You misunderstand me. I mean that I want to be on the
side that wins in the end, to belong to the party that is
Why do you suppose that I misunderstand you? My query
is still the same: may it not be more honourable, perhaps,
to be on the losing side?
That is a question arising from the despair of unbelief.
For in the end, Christ is victorious. And where is there
greater honour than in Christ?
604. The majority of men find no difficulty in always being
themselves, that means to say they are always their middling
selves, and of course middling men. And nevertheless they
are probably all created quite differently by their creator.
When one sees them as children, one is convinced of the
fact; when one sees them as grown ups, it is easy to be
vexed and scandalised at the thought that God has created
a very middling, not to say mediocre world. One of the
principle sources of the slightly contemptuous attitude of
experienced men towards others. When a man 'pulls him-
self together', not merely for a particular work, or for a
school task or for a game (though even that may very well
get him out of his indifference) but when he does so in
every respect: his whole self, in prayer or devotion that is,
then he is never 'middling', 'indifferent' or mediocre. But
then how rare it is! Just as rare, naturally, as the exceptional.
605. If God is 'changeable', then man must despair; if the
world is 'unchangeable' he would also have to despair, or
rather he would be in despair. That is one of the relations
between despair and the changeableness, or unchangeable-
ness of being that Kierkegaard might have treated in
Sickness unto Death. It is, however, a metaphysical question,
and not primarily a psychological one. Only the being of
God is unchangeable, the being of the created world is just
as essentially changeableness. 'The Eternal Recurrence*
(Nietzsche) is therefore despair, because it is based upon the
unchangeableness of the world.
606. There is some life in the German Idealists because
they not infrequently contradict their own systems, and as
a result, say something true.
607. Is time a child of eternity? Even as an analogy it is
difficult to conceive. In time itself, in our time, parents die
and children live on. But if the mother herself is eternity,
she cannot die, and the situation is certainly reversed : time
can and does die. Time may be taken back, or what is more
probable, a new time can be created. One of the promises
made to us is that a new earth will be created, and that is
hardly possible without a new time, however unimaginably
different it may be. But if one can imagine a new earth,
then why not, after all, a new time, more in harmony with
608. One can always talk best with God. With men, even
with the most trusted friend, I am always conscious of
coming up against a misunderstanding or a failure to
understand, and I even believe that I can understand that
it is more or less inevitable; almost as confidently as I
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understand that misunderstanding and failure to under-
stand are ruled out where God is concerned, because He
knows who and what I am.
609. The mark of the poet, his gift of being able to express
his suffering, has degrees and grades of quality; the highest
degree is to be able to say more by not saying it, than by
expressing it, and consequently to introduce the right
proportion of silence: the mystery of wisdom and of beauty.
610. No one likes to be deceived, and everyone is more
or less in dread of it. But only too often this dread
deceives man and robs him of valuable things and
61 L Fundamentally, metaphysics, in its two pure forms:
that there is only absolute being without becoming, or only
an eternal becoming without an absolute being funda-
mentally, both are foolish. But an absolute being, without
becoming is nevertheless more respectable than the phil-
osophy of becoming. The curious thing, in all this, is that
the founder of the pure philosophy of becoming, that has
become the philosopher of the 'common man' in our day,
Heraclitus, was himself, in all probability an aristocrat,
proud, disdainful and contemptuous.
612. Impressionism, not only in painting, but in all the arts,
was the exact expression of the contemporary philosophy of
becoming, a philosophy of the surface, and of the dissolution
of the concept substance. In painting the task might be
set of painting 'running water' as one thing. Disregarding
for the moment, the different gifts, the different capabilities
of the individual artists, and the varying degrees of success
consequent upon these, then in a period when philosophy was
healthy, no artist would think of trying to separate the
unity 'running water', and painting water only, or 'running*
only. This was, nevertheless, the ideal of the impressionists.
The water that flows is only an appearance, it is really
well, it is superfluous, an unfortunate remains, that art,
and 'ability', cannot quite get rid of, which it could not
quite dissolve, unlike 'flowing 3 , the principal thing, since
n&vTa Pel everything flows but that, as Hegel very
quickly perceived, meant: nothing flows. Everything and
nothing, being and non-being are the same; they are
identical, and consequently inter-changeable. There is only
'flowing'. To paint 'flowing' alone, is an insane attempt to
paint the absurd : the attempt to paint the change without
the thing that changes. Nor did even the greatest impress-
ionists succeed in doing so.
613. 21st December. If a man can say in all honesty that
he loves God with his whole heart, then he may be sure that
he is loved by God ; for only the love of God can make a
man do this : make him love God, the invisible. And when
was God so invisible as in these times.
614. It is very humiliating for a man who can do great
things, when it is made plain to him that he cannot do the
lesser, the ordinary things that almost everyone can do. But
perhaps that is one of the fundamental principles of this
world : in this world the spirit must be humble, for without
matter it cannot carry on. The pride of the pure spirit in
its own realm is lack of love and a betrayal of God; in this
world it is, so to speak, materially ridiculous and a lie.
615. The fact that an idol was somewhat ridiculous, that
there was something ridiculous on both sides, in allowing
oneself to be honoured as a divinity and in honouring
another with divine honours, belongs or belonged!
among the distinctive characteristics of Europe; it marks
the difference of quality, its humanism, and that is what
made its 'humour' an essential part of its culture, differenti-
ating it from the East. It appears that even nowadays, in
Japan, most intelligent men do not even faintly perceive
186 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
the objective ridiculousness of their religion. It is surrounded
by an impenetrable wall of animal solemnity. That a
monstrosity, at very first sight so supremely ridiculous
should not, nowadays, be laughed to death, and reduced,
by ridicule to the nothing which it is, is inconceivable
humanly speaking, and inexplicable in Europe, unless one
assumes the concurrence of demons, and the fact that the
whole nation has previously apostatised. The catastrophe
announces itself in advance, of course, in the appearance
of such utterly humourless, bestially solemn minds as George,
Klages and Spengler. Once a monstrosity, and inhuman
behaviour ceases to strike human wits as ridiculous, and is
not treated accordingly, Europe is at an end; and the only
judgment left is that of the Psalms: c God laughs at them',
and that is certainly not comic in time; but it has an
616. 3 1st December. I am still tempted to preserve or to
write down the more exotic and revealing blooms of official
speeches and announcements. As I hear or see them the
impulse is almost irrisistible, there is a real compulsion
behind it. But fortunately neither pen, nor paper, nor
scissors were to hand. And a few minutes later my desire
had passed. Why? What is the point of it? How does it
concern me? 'Satires and Polemiks' was written more than
twenty-five years ago. I am much too old. Satire, when the
talent is there, is not the work for a boy, but for a man,
but not for an old man. Not to mention the fact that I
think this war transcends the individual man's subjective
617. 1st January. One can already hear the howls and
the whines of the demons more clearly in their dread-filled
phrases. It is the last breathless gasp of the crazed man who
runs amok, just before the end. An official, public call to
hate! The hate will certainly be found all right, but it will
not be the hate they intend, and want today; it will be
different. Hate is the last revealing phase of the fallen
spirit, and the very logic of dissolution. But it is also the
dissolution of logic, so astonishing that one hardly believes
it possible* For example, whoever plans everything will
win. We have planned everything, ergo we will win. Or: if
we do not win the party is lost. The party must not lose,
ergo we will win. Or: we embody the highest virtues, God
gives victory to the virtuous, ergo we will win. Or again:
for three years now, God has let us win; it would be
senseless not to let us go on winning, ergo we will win. Or
simply; we must win, ergo we will win. Or, simplest of all:
we have already won, only the enemy hasn't noticed it yet.
It is our business to strengthen him in his illusion, in order
that he should exhaust himself more and more, and then
our final victory will be all the more complete.
618. Some Protestants get very worked up about Litanies,
Our Fathers and Hail Marys as being in every case mere
babbling. Even Hilty is sometimes caught napping. But
although I see the danger here quite clearly, there is another
side to the question. Hilty will be astonished, in the next
world, when he discovers how many men have been saved
by Our Fathers and Hail Marys apparently just recited by
rote, and by the number of sins that were not committed
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simply as a result of 'grinding out 5 Litanies. Someone may
perhaps object that any meaningless rigmarole would have
done just as well. But that is a great error. Every word of
our great Litanies has an objective, inexhaustible meaning,
an incomputable possibility of contemplation : on each one
of these words there is a great blessing granted by God,
through those who have prayed them with a pure and
619, 3rd January. Once the whole deceit is over and
the beginning of the end is already at hand then the thing
will be not to make a false move. Astonishment and respect,
even though negative, would t>e a fundamentally false move.
In addition to the feeling of horror and revulsion that one
feels for the inhuman evil that lay, and lies, beneath it all,
there is only one possible attitude: riguarda e passa, look and
pass on. One can look at it, despise it and pass on. But
above all: pass on!
But supposing the manifest loathsomeness were only the
mirror mercifully held up to us, reflecting with exceptional
clarity and without shame exactly how we look in truth and
before God? What then? What about our contempt in
that case? Perhaps the best thing is reserve. Le mois est
620. In the natural (as opposed to supernatural) history
of the creation, we are almost involuntarily driven to the
idea of a 'cul-de-sac*. Certain lines of development suddenly
reach a point where every prospect of further 'development'
and 'progress 9 appears to have been lost. They seem to be
excluded from all fruitfulness they are 'cul-de-sacs*. The
same mysterious method seems to play a part in the spiritual
life, in the life of freedom; though here guilt is among the
causes of the 'cul-de-sac'. One has to turn about and begin
a new life from the beginning. Hasty conclusions crowd
upon one at this mysterious point of the 'natural creation*,
which seem to contradict the plan of God the Creator,
all-knowing and all- wise. But be careful! We do not know
his ways. If he is the creator, and the e cul-de-sacs' in fact
exist, then of course he is the creator of these 'cul-de-sacs',
but it may well be that the term, which is ours, is only a
clumsy makeshift for something which we are far from seeing
fully and correctly, or that we simply interpret falsely, like
a bent stick in the water, that is not bent.
62 7. The unnatural style of some writers is the result of a
secret dread of being banal. But in order not to be banal
one must not set oneself the task of being original at all
costs, as they imagine, but merely write as clearly and as
truthfully as possible, after having first of all overcome a
certain natural laziness and tendency to scattered thoughts
for one should of course never write in a mood of 'go as you
please'. At the present time language is in a condition
which requires the utmost watchfulness on the writer's part,
in order that he should not fall victim to it. That was not
always so, nor will it necessarily be so in the future.
622. The personal and good style of a writer is the natural
unity of two natures often the fruit of the very greatest
art: the nature of the writer and the nature of the language
at the time he is writing. For these two natures are not
identical, and the unity is most often to be reached by mutual .
concessions and compromise. A man may write an original
and personal style that is bad when viewed from the point
of view of the language, because he uses violence upon the
nature of the language, in general and in particular; and
a good pupil may write a 'good' style without betraying
anything personal, which he has not got. The great writer,
however, is the one in whose style both natures have become
a single unity, which it is not possible for anyone ever to
623. 6th January. Since there can be no doubt that the
way to all best higher forms of being is suffering, and that in
190 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
certain cases it is the only way, it is not difficult to understand
that some people make it an end in itself, at least as far as
this world is concerned; whereas, eternally speaking, it is
only intended as a means, and even as a means there is
something about it which stirs up man's abstract under-
standing and is always absolutely un-understandable and
mysterious. To make a means into an end always involves
perversion, and this is particularly so in this case. The end
is God alone, which is to say happiness alone. On the other
hand the significance of suffering as the way to perfection
is so great that whoever withdraws entirely from suffering,
if the choice is given him, assuredly forfeits the highest end,
but whoever choses suffering for God's sake, even though he
might avoid it without guilt, is a hero and one of the
624. 'Human honesty', is something very imperfect be-
cause, among other things, its principal object, the T is so
inadequately known. Who, in fact, knows what his own
'I 5 is at any given moment, or when it is in its 'fulness'. The
illusions and disappointments that a man meets with at
this point are very great and very painful.
625. 'Paradox* and 'Absurd'. When I say that as a
literary medium the paradox is the result of the poverty
of human language, that is an unequivocal statement, but
not the whole truth. In other circumstances, however, it
might be said with justice that it is the outcome of the
richness of language. Both are but half truths. But if I say
that the paradox results from the poverty and the richness
of language, then I merely explain one paradox with
another and to this there might be no end. Of course it is
paradoxical, but it is not absurd; for when speaking thus
of poverty and riches, they are not referred to in the same
sense. If they were it would be absurd nonsense, which can
neither be, nor be thought. The paradox belongs to man
alone, though as a means and a way, and not as end or aim.
If he thinks that, his mind is diseased. A means and a way!
Whither? To what purpose? To simplicity and harmony.
And man, here, is confronted by grades and degrees. There
is greater simplicity and harmony in man's thought than
in his words and sentences; the natural gift of intuition
possesses greater unity and harmony than his thought which
grasps and deals with it, and the supernatural revelation
which has been given him, indeed his real Christian faith, is
simple and harmonious in the highest form possible to man.
In God, of course, there is neither the absurd (that is
nothing Nothing) nor the paradox, because he is absolute
simplicity and harmony. Human science, as idea and ideal
is the part of man which does not love the paradox and tries
to exclude it as far as possible. It is essentially rationalist.
Wherever a paradox forces its way to the fore unexpectedly,
as it does nowadays in theoretical physics, in the theory of
the atom and of light, science feels thoroughly uncomfortable
and will not rest until the rational harmony and simplicity
of the principles is restored. At least that is the case with all
the individual sciences which aim at the most complete and
closed system. But in metaphysics, and still more so in
theology, man cannot get on without the paradox. There is,
for example, 'becoming'. What is 'becoming'? Being that
does not yet exist, non-existent being, or an existing non-
being? That is a genuine paradox and what is more unavoid-
able to the human mind, as to human language. There is a
philosophy, it is true, the philosophy of Heraclitus, and all
its followers in history, for which 'becoming 5 is a simple and
harmonious conception, because there is no such thing for
them as 'being. 5 But this philosophy does not in fact strike
the whole truth and reality, simply because there is 'being'
in truth and reality. This philosophy, if it were true, would
not be paradoxical but simple and one, if it were true,
true that is according to the classical definition^ according
to which intellect and the thing are completely assimilated.
But neither, on the other hand, would the Eleatic philosophy
of being be paradoxical, but perfectly simple, if it only
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expressed the res, the facts of the case, if only it were
adequatio rei et intellectus, when it held being, but not becoming,
to be real. But now becoming simply is 9 and must therefore
be defined intellectually. That was the task before platonic
and aristotelian philosophy. And it has no other means than
the paradox of existing non-being.
626. It is very easy to explain the paradox with a paradox,
and thus to define it, but it is not absurd. On the other
hand the absurd is not to be defined paradoxically, but per-
fectly simply; it is not the least ambiguous. In one dialogue
man has been defined with the words, that his 'non-being 5 is
part of his 'being'. But that is not absurd. Ultimately it
might be said somewhat paradoxically of God, that it was of
his 'being' to be more than being, and one might say 'super-
being 5 , which to man is a paradoxical thought. And indeed
non-being and 'super-being' are both incomprehensible to
the mind of man, the deep which calleth unto deep and
moreover only something more than being, what we have
called 'super-being 3 can fill 'nothing'.
627. If the comparison with leaven has any meaning, then
it can only mean that the world could be Christianised,
that progress in goodness is possible in the ultimate meaning
of the word, in goodness and love; one cannot really
restrict the comparison to the individual merely, where of
course it can always be observed, again and again. There
is no sense in denying the effect of the leaven in the wider
sense. The Christian life of the individual, however, cannot
become a habit in the sense of it becoming automatic (it is
the exact contrary!) and if this is true of the individual,
then it is still more true of a whole nation, or even of the
masses. A fresh inspiration is always necessary, and 'the
enemy', with his unexpected attack and his new conception
of man, (as well, of course, only men in appearance), calls
upon the individual to make new decisions, to renewed (or
new) use of his free will. All comparisons taken from the
physical and biological sphere and applied to the life of the
spirit, only apply up to a certain point. And 'spirit' means
that one knows and marks up to what point the comparison
6*25. 14th January. From the point of view of the will,
evil is an attitude, a position resulting from an omission,
a want or a deficiency. In metaphysics, therefore, the essence
of evil may be defined as a lack. But in religion that is not
really true. In the last analysis evil is always defined as the
wilful exclusion of the divine by the creature. The wilful
exclusion! And then the cause of evil is created freedom, for
uncreated freedom, God himself, cannot produce evil out of
himself. He is one, and 'three-personal 5 love. Evil cannot
be in matter without life and without spirit, if matter is the
instrument of a free spirit. The summit of God's creative
power is that he can create a free being, that can even be
free in relation to him, even to its own mischief.
629. Unless the mystics receive a direct commission from
God to communicate something, or to speak of themselves,
they are wont to remain silent. It is only if they happen to
live on the frontiers where poetry and philosophy meet that
they sometimes regain the power of speech. When Thomas
Aquinas left the realms of philosophy far behind him, he
630. You said that "evil 5 was a limitation, an amputation
and that it was "closed 5 , "finished 3 . Would you be prepared
to say that "good 5 was always 'the whole 5 , "all 5 ? And if
not, then would it not have to be limited, closed, cut off, in
this finite world? Certainly it would have to be limited,
but I should not care to use the words "closed 3 or "cut off 5 ,
not even "wanting 5 ,, though I should certainly say " limited'
and "formed individually 5 , yet marking the difference
between life and death, between light and darkness. For the
"good 5 is always in communion with being in its fulness.
194 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
which is God, however little and poor it may be. And that
is precisely what evil does not do, however great it may be,
and outwardly magnificent, like the Reich, the Kingdom of
this world, which belongs to the Prince of this world.
63L Justice is a far better maxim in social matters than
'liberty, equality and fraternity 3 . If all men were equal by
nature, the social problem would not be too complicated.
And they are of course, equal, that is the first point, but they
are also unequal, and that is where justice comes in, and
where the difficulties begin.
17th January. If God were love, indeed, but at the
same time, or rather eternally powerless, would one not
despair? But he is omnipotent. His saints have never
20th January. Human understanding is so easily
angered to find that things only add up very roughly.
Goodness is rewarded and evil is punished, true enough,
that is the simple childish rule. And woe to the nation or
the individual who does not acknowledge the truth of these
words and who does not simply accept them as an un-
shakeable foundation, in such a way that it is a crime to
assert the contrary: goodness is punished, and evil is
rewarded. But at times a hasty, superficial look at isolated
cases: and everything adds up wrong. One can only see
deeper, and look beneath the surface again with the eye
of faith. Things only become confused before the under-
standing, as in the opening verses of the seventy-third
634. A path that does not lead to the goal, goes to rack
and ruin, becomes a waste: a means that does not attain
its end and perishes, and is soon forgotten. In the life of the
spirit and of freedom, the ways and the means that do not
attain their goal and their end, and often do not want to
attain it, put up resistance, for they are often living ways and
living means, and even the most insignificant form of life
resists death and extermination most tenaciously. The final
way out for a way that does not lead to its goal is to declare
itself the goal, and the last way out for a means that does
not attain its end is to make itself into an end. And that is
what is happening to mankind today in such a horrible
manner: in its ways, \Yhich are the races and nations, and
these once again in their means, which are the States and the
Parties. Where the spirit is concerned, nothing can happen
without freedom, and the half of all the destruction is self-
635. 23rd January. Literature passes away, and not one
of the words which she commands does not pass away.
Even the most famous have their limits, and their effect is at
last at an end. What is Hecuba to us? What would Hecuba
be to us without Shakespeare, who gave the word and the
name a few centuries more life? But the time will come
when Hamlet will be no more than Hecuba. 'What is
Hamlet to us?' someone will perhaps say. And only the
learned philologist will discover what it means, and be
pleased at having understood it.
636. I much prefer absolute silence about things which
with the best will in the world I do not understand, to the
semi, forced explanations that leave a bitter taste in my
mind. It is so easy to say God permits evil and what evil!
in order to bring good out of it. I confess that while I
understand that, it has never entirely satisfied me. And so
I prefer to be silent in the abyss of my ignorance, and to
pray. I fight shy of the famous paradox:/^ culpa, the
happy fault. It was literally only possible through its
'success'. It is hard to imagine someone encouraging Adam
before he committed the decisive sin, and shouting c Go on!
The guilt will bring even greater happiness with it, than
you yet know of.
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637. The prophet is a seer and a speaker, he is not a doer.
He sees, and declares what will happen, but he does not
carry it out.
638. God is so very much, and so essentially an artist that
there must be something wrong with those who despise
art, even when they are pious and believe. There is
absolutely nothing in the works of nature that is not
created as a work of art; even the 'repetition' is the
highest form of art: every leaf is a work of art. The curse
of the machine!
639. 6th June. There is something soothing and calming
about scientific work, latent in its object. It is, so to speak,
an innocent science of the works which are wie am ersten Tag,
c as on the first day 5 . Stars and Atoms. And they seem to
be so closely related. It seems as though guilt had no part
in this marvel. The only delicate point is that the scientist
who participates in life which is itself stained with guilt, is
not as a rule spiritually pure and purified so that he can
perceive the divine connections within his special sphere of
knowledge. Even if he is not predisposed against the faith
through some prejudice or other, against the true faith I
mean, he is nevertheless cold as a rule, and that does not
make a man fruitful. On the other hand it seems to me that
the more intelligent among the scientists, those who have
some slight philosophical leaning, and in particular the
theoretical physicists, in their understandable enthusiasm
for the discoveries in the field of atomic science, overestimate
the possibilities and their consequences to a degree which is
very nearly comic. They behave as though these discoveries
were not, from the very first, bound within the 'order' in
which they were made, at least as far as the direct conse-
quences are concerned. However wonderful the atom may
be, and however mysterious in spite of its clarity it will
never teach us anything about the greater mystery of life.
It may, for example, be a good thing that the physicists
should approach, in this way, to the prima materia and the
antinomies and a priori' V which thought on these matters
reveals, suggests that such is the case but it is another
matter to imagine that : one day, and no one can say whether
it is near or far, perhaps a new man will open his eyes and
look upon a new nature the disciple of the philosophia
perennis and the believing Christian can only laugh in his
astonishment at such things.
640. We are in God, and God is in the Saint, to a degree
which the pantheist simply cannot conceive because he
does not know the meaning of the transcendence of God,
of the Trinity, in relation to created and creating nature.
On the other hand, to us as nature, the 'Deltas' is foreign and
distant to a degree that an agnostic cannot conceive because
he does not know what is knowable about God.
64 L We live in an age of great mystery: divine and living
impotence, barely concealing its power worldly power
already decaying into lifeless impotence.
642. That is the mark of the great writer : with a single
sentence he establishes the spiritual level, his level, and
remains there. Whether he descends to comedy, or rises
to the height of the ideal it all happens on his level, and
every word is borne aloft by his fire.
643. 4th July. The sceptic: 'Really, one can only admit
and admire how successful your God is in concealing himself!
You seem indeed to be aware of the fact, and to perceive it,
which is why you like to talk of a hidden God. Only isn't
it carried just a little too far? He conceals his existence so
well that quite clever men simply deny it. One might
almost say that the cleverer a man is nowadays, in the eyes
of the world, the more likely he is to deny the existence of
God. He conceals his omnipotence so well that from the
very beginning men have looked for power elsewhere
198 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
(everywhere in fact, except in God who is supposed to be
spirit), and clever men have even called him powerless.
But without a doubt his masterpiece in the art of concealing
himself, is shown by your contention that he is love. No
one feels it in the slightest degree. Love, after all, must be
suspected and felt before it can be known. I know people
who have been in the fighting, they were in Russia and had
their eyes open, and their hearts too. They even believed in
God, believed that he could be known, believed in his
wisdom, in his power, in his Will and in his works, but
his feeling, his compassion, his love and his mercy no,
at that point they became indignant and hard, then they
grew angry: at least don't come to me with that story, they
said. Love is an internal matter, it is rare, and is found
among exceptional men there is not even a distant analogy
to it in God.
I let the man talk, I did not have the answer ready
beforehand although I have one to which I could then
preface the question suiting it to the answer the usual
rhetorical trick of all those who write dialogues, and which
puts the passionate enquirer out of humour.
644. All that I know and my whole work rests on my faith.
To such a degree is that the case, that at times I am terrified.
All my knowledge falls to pieces and becomes incoherent,
meaningless, empty, unless it coheres in the faith.
645. There is a tendency, and God does not seem to be
averse to it, for the things of this world to be explained almost
'totally' and purely from the immanent laws of nature,
from the causality of the causae secundae; and what is more,
on the whole field of created being, from physics and chemis-
try to politics and metaphysics. And never by halves. And
in a sense that is a good thing. And then, moreover, does
1943 . 199
that not make natural theology a matter of quite tremendous
646. The writer's passion is sometimes very great. Even
in the pale night of dread, he is still anxious to safeguard
the accuracy of his expression: It is a pale night, not a dark
night, nor an impenetrable, nor a black nightl It is a pale
night. And even while feeling the abyss open under his feet,
the frightful feeling for which there is no comparison, of
falling 'in itself', falling without hope, falling into the
bottomless pit, he is still impelled to save the description
with the true expression : Such and nothing else, is dread :
a pale night.
647. Apollo and Christ: that was the synthesis for which
Holderlin longed. Then came Dionysus and Christ, less
noble, indeed. And corresponding to them the madness
into which they both, Holderlin and Nietzsche, fell. But
how astonishing the synthesis is in the Turin picture:
Zeus and Christ!*
648. 'The apocalypse of the German soul 5 is even more
painful than SorgeFs bilge; it has very different preten-
tions! To compare Stefan George with Isaias, yes indeed,
Isaias, is a horrible blasphemy; or rather it would be a
blasphemy if the man could reach the necessary level; but
he doesn't. And so it's bilge. It cannot even be called
'literature', for that implies a sense of quality. And that is
what fails him. He cannot write a 'sentence'.
649. Short Dialogue: 'We have gone to war for the sake
of peace 3 How I love the archer who sends his arrow into
the plumb middle of the target! You may have hit one of
the inmost circles, but not the centre of the target. No,
everyone, listen to this, everyone goes to war for the sake
* Haecker is referring to the impression of Christ's face on the Holy
Shroud in Turin.
200 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
of victory. In war, they want victory, and only in the
second instance all the other things, and even something as
good as peace. Even Michael wanted victory in the first
place. I think one must stick to this precise definition,
otherwise one very easily gets among half-truths and lies
that weaken and corrupt thought. Very soon one ceases
even to notice one's own mistakes.
650. In the name which God himself gave himself, God
is not 'paradoxical*. He is majestically simple: C I am who
am 5 : that does not allow of any interchange and reversal of
concepts', nor of any of the nonsense and falsehood of ideal-
istic philosophy. In his revelation God is Father, Son and
Spirit. What could be more clear and simple, universally
intelligible, unalterable in its being and meaning, incapable
of being confused.
651. If the purely human conception of our aeon is pro-
longed indefinitely, or only the human aspect of our aeon
is pursued in a straight line (what might be called radical
humanism) it leads to an ultimate despair. If God is only
man magnified, as we meet him in history and in life, then
he cannot save himself or God from ultimate meaning-
lessness, and the meaninglessness of the world is absolute,
and the absolute is meaningless. The argument indeed goes
further: If being itself is radically and eternally mean-
ingless, the fact remains that the spirit of man nevertheless
has the notion of meaning, quite radically and eternally as
it seems. Why? Why ever ask the meaning of anything?
And that is the objective madness of the whole thing. When
we say: we do not otherwise ask about something which
does not exist. The fact that we ask at all about meaning,
already presupposes meaning; and this in the sense, more-
over, that we could not raise the question if it had no sense.
Meaning there is, somewhere or other, and in fact in God,
only we do not know him when we say all this, then the
usual answer is : But aren't we talking about Nothing and
then does it exist? Nothing? And if that is so then it is like
being. Satan is the Lord, and lies and pain. That is the
seasoning, the salt of despair that burns for ever in the
wounds of man : the fact that he seeks for a meaning that
does not exist. That is objective madness.
652. For almost a hundred years the function of literature
has been understood to consist in describing, as exactly as
possible, how the world looks without God. One after the
other they have surpassed each other in the art of portraying
the frantic flight before God, Even when their art itself
was not recognised as a flight from God that is what it
was. For it only held to God, at best, in the shriek of
dread and despair, in its hopeless homesickness, in the
unlimited disgust that was eating their souls away. The
tone was irremediably false. None of them believed in the
Victory' of God. How could they believe, then, in their
own? And yet it would be untrue to say that none were
loyal to God, in even those times. But when they appeared
and spoke, they were often already in a sense beyond the
world. Where the world was concerned, they were curiously
weak, mediocre, inadequate, and the literature they pro-
duced was actually sham. The one exception was perhaps
Hilty. There there was strength, strength from above, a
mission, joy, certainty, truth and victory. Keppler was
only well-meaning literature, and the Rembrandt-Deutsche*
were all too German. They were never consumed by the
eternal flame. They could only relate how once upon
a time .....
653. The qualities in man which make him a soldier
also serve to make him a Christian, because the soldier
* Keppler, Bishop of Rottenburg. Rembrandt als Erzieher, published
anonymously " von einem Deutschen }> . Its many admirers were
called " Rembrandt-Deutsche ". The book sought to counteract the
''scientific culture" of the period, and was vaguely Christian, though
owing much to Nietzsche.
202 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
understands better than others, by nature in fact, and by
training, one particular element in the service of God : obedi-
ence. In the creature's relation to God, his relation as being
and as acting, there is no substitute for obedience, except
the perfect love of God's saints. What a show of sentiment
the poet in a man puts up, how many intellectual difficulties
the philosopher in him thinks he has to solve before obeying
an order from God! The soldier in a man may be a great
help towards Christian obedience. Women do not need it
in the same way; by nature and out of love, women are
closer to obedience: woman is humbler.
654. Sic transit gloria mundi transit yes, but the gloria mundi
is not nothing. Nothing that is the symbol of a divine being,
is nothing. We are not nihilists but 'hierarchists'.
55. In recent times it seems as though the Germans had
chosen madmen, men who quite simply went mad, and
consecrated them, raised men like Nietzsche and Holderlin
to the level of prophets, heroes, saints and wise men, and
made idols of them. Are the Germans blind to the fact, or
do they think it perfectly normal? Have they no after
thoughts? Has it ever happened before? Even in Germany?
Does it occur among other nations? I know of no other
example. In recent times other nations have at the most
acclaimed a number of staggering idiots as great men.
But have they made lunatics into founders of religion?
Surely only the Germans do that; and they are mad them-
selves, they are mortally sick.
656. The spiritual man is indeed something other than the
intellectual man, though naturally presupposing and in-
cluding him: he has a whole dimension more, he is the
complete man, according to the idea of God, a perfect unity,
an incomparable totality, desired by God, and, as anima
naturaliter Christiana, longed for by man. The spiritual man
is the opponent of the gnosticism and 'idealism' in German
philosophy, after all only a sort of watered down gnosticism.
Only the spiritual man understands the 'holiness 5 of the
body. An embrace can never be holy to the gnostic. And
those who do not want to insult the creator, should be care-
ful not to insult his creation. The Christian is the 'enemy'
of the 'world', the world in inverted commas. And that is
by no means the 'pure 5 creation of God, but the product
of fallen man and fallen angels. The world in this sense, the
'world 9 in inverted commas, and the man who belongs to it,
one might even say 'man' in inverted commas, the am-
biguous fudge of good and evil, wanting in all decision, and
incapable of saying 'no' to anything, is consequently danger-
ous: this 'world' and this 'man' have evil in them, meta-
physically speaking, as nihilism. The 'man' corresponding
to the 'world', sometimes impertinently called natural man,
as though he were the product of uncorrupted nature, which
exists only in the Immaculate, this 'man', outside Chris-
tianity, necessarily has in his Art a certain nihilism of
feeling. Even love sings and murmurs a melodious Nothing,
like Tristan, he has a nihilistic, devastating philosophy once
away from the privileged philosophy of being of Aristotle
and Plato; he has a nihilistic politics, an apostate politics,
because his will is nihilistic and does not will the true end,
which is God alone. And it is perfectly normal, perfectly
in order that the three faculties proper to the spirit of man,
thought, feeling, will, should each have their part in the
dangerous, almost mortal illness of being in this 'world',
this 'world' in inverted commas.
657. 5th November. We, too, smile at the arguments of
our natural reason for the truth of our supernatural faith;
we can, and of course do smile at them, though not quite
in the same way as others may do, for we do it with humour.
We see the point. It is not as though we simply regarded our
arguments as worse than theirs, or as though we thought
their arguments better, or unanswerable. That would be a
great mistake on their part. O no! And in the end, after
204 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
much has been said, we have our faith, and not by virtue
of our own reason. That> you see, is our secret, the secret
you do not understand. That is our transcendent, eternal
*We want eternal life 3 , you once said, solemnly. But
I think there are times when you have no wish to live at
all, and certainly renounce an eternal life, for what more
voluptuous consolation could there be than the fact that
there was no eternal life if all were over? Why do you
lie? Take it calmly, my friend, I am not lying. What?
Are you denying that you have such moments? No, I don't
deny it. But I am a man and weak; in fact I am not always
I, and I might almost say that I am seldom I, I am only
half, or a quarter or not at all myself. I am often tepid,
worthy of being 'spewed out*. And then I have neither
the right faith, nor the right hope, and anything but
the right love. But when in truth I love God with my
whole heart, and with my whole mind, how should I not
have a burning desire to live eternally? How should I lie
when I say: c We want an eternal life'. Is God not eternal,
and is love not eternal? But God is love. And He is
659. Why has dread now departed, the frightful dread?
As I knew: I myself could do nothing against it; it could
only be taken from me.
660. There is an art which is evil, but even then it is 'Art',
art that comes from God.
#67. If the designation 'spiritual man' means, in the first
instance of course, that man is 'planned as spirit', which
means to say that he has within him the life of the spirit,
and of the Holy Spirit, and acknowleges its primacy, it
implies here, in all its fulness, in its totality, the man who
has a body, in the original, real sense of revelation, so that
in eternity, in the fulness of his spiritual life he will not be
without a body.
662. Even in the West, Christian theology has shown a
certain cowardice, and a wretched want of understanding
of the munificence with which God has endowed created
and creative nature and the world with power and energy
of its own; and the testimony of history to the fight of
the Church against the natural sciences, and its represent-
atives, and their great discoveries is one that shames us.
It arose from a great fear that the natural laws might lead
to a proof of the non-existence of God. That is its only, all
too human, excuse.
663. God alone is eternal. God alone is all his attributes,
but certain ones belong to him absolutely alone. He alone
is Creator. He alone is all-powerful. God alone is eternal.
He can annihilate. He can annihilate after aeons. His majesty
is terrible. He is eternal. He alone.
664. Without time, humour is unthinkable; yet it belongs
to the things that are unthinkable without eternity. And
that is saying a great deal, for most things belong to time
only. Humour in eternity is hardly conceivable, but in
eternity faith and hope will also cease to be.
665. There are some liturgists so rabid that they are
idiotic. They really behave as though Christ came into
the world to found a liturgical movement.
666. Hail to the glorious, happy voice of the announcer
of the 'German Mission 3 : it explains everything as a victory,
or at least as being like a victory, even defeat.
67. It is by no means so simple to establish error invincibilis,
and accuracy, here, is essential. It is only valid absolutely;
the slightest trace of relativity annuls it and brings it within
the possibility of guilt.
206 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
668. The relation of eternity to time is simply not to be
expressed in essence in human speech, because language,
even more than thought, is temporal.
669. 1 saw in secret a man flowing with the tears of thought
and repentance, and inwardly he shone like a young tree
with all the blossom of May upon it.
670. ad Temptations * and finally the image of all
images, of all worlds and aeons and of eternity itself, that
must always be spoken of, that all must speak of since the
Revelation, because it is inexhaustible in its being, and
indescribable in its meaning: the cross.
671. Suddenly woken from sleep, I remembered a rare
pleasure an interrupted dream: it was an interesting
discussion of a theological theme that had bothered me the
previous dsy. I was delighted to have dreamed of such
things. My Lord and my God, if I think of you night and
day am I not in your hands? Is it not a sign that you
think of me?
* 'The Temptations of Christ', Haecker's meditation on the temptations
of Christ as the symbol of history. Published 1944.
6*72. Whether they are really the horrifying scoundrels they
undoubtedly are, or the unimaginable and for ever indes-
cribable blockheads that, equally undoubtedly, they are
has always been, and still is a tormenting dilemma which
it is hard to answer clearly. Now we know, in point of
fact, that they become quite disproportionately more excited
and angry at being called the unimaginable, and for ever
indescribable blockheads they undoubtedly are, and can be
proved to be, than at being called the horrifying scoundrels
they quite as undoubtedly are, and can be proved to be.
This fact would appear to lead to the conclusion that they
are the unimaginable blockheads they are, rather than the
horrible swine they nevertheless continue to be, and in a
far more profound degree, and to a much greater extent. And
this conclusion corresponds to the last aspect of the Saviour
on the Gross : Forgive them, for they know not what they do.
Their desire to rend to pieces anyone who calls them the
unimaginable blockheads they undoubtedly are, cannot be
accounted for by the fact that they really are blockheads,
for if this were so, then we should, on the contrary, have to
conclude that they were horrible scoundrels. But no, they
are primarily unimaginable fools because they do not see it,
and regard themselves as unbelievably clever, always pre-
ferring a criminal act to a folly. Their general teaching, which
can hardly be kept secret any longer runs thus : cleverness
means to do evil and go unpunished, and what is more this
holds good metaphysically, before God. And the fact that
they believe it, is the ultimate source of their ultimate
208 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
unspeakable stupidity. There is not a single soul praying for
them, and they do not know that their cause is consequently
lost irretrievably. They cannot pray themselves, that I can
understand, and it is understandable, for in the first place
they do not want to. But not have a single soul praying for
them, not one soul before God, praying for their cause,
not one who dares to pray for it even well, that is their
673. With the help of the axiom that the love of God is
always greater than the love of man, the love of the creature,
I can master the difficulties which the eternity of hell
presents to me. I include belief in the eternity of hell, so to
speak, in my belief in the love of God, in which I believe
unshakeably. Belief in the eternity of hell does not offer
my understanding any difficulty^ the understanding, I
would even say, as long as it recognises everything imper-
sonally, and above all the essence of freedom and of
obedience, and of justice; it is not contradictory But
where love is concerned! There are very many who have
never got to the end of it, and nor should I, without the
axiom in question. The axiom is incontrovertible, logically,
intellectually and, of course, to love. What could be more
true, more clear, more just and blessed, than that the love
of God is always greater than the love of man?
674. The gate to the knowledge of our salvation, too, is a
narrow gate, as long as one is in via. And unless the Angel
of God leads you, you will go astray. Self-faith, self-con-
fidence, jtf/f-knowledge, all these are bad and dangerous
leaders. You must learn to curb your curiosity.
675. Men are so often made unspeakably unhappy by
looking in the wrong direction. They make the great
sacrifice that their eternal salvation, that is God, requires.
But they fix their gaze upon the sacrifice, as though hypno-
tised. And in that way it grows to giant proportions, and
becomes unendurable. But God is surely 'more* than any
sacrifice, however great the sacrifice may be, and one look
at God, in exchange for that almost hypnotic gaze, will
often save a man from torture.
676. How thoroughly mediocre is the rationalistic notion
that man's sacrifice to the Gods, or to God is man's dis-
covery, an invention prompted by his fear and dread.
Oh no! Sacrifice is primarily God's idea, and even that is
saying too little, it is a mode of God's being, so to speak, for
ever and ever, and therefore had to enter into time. God's
sacrifice of himself is the overflowing of his Being.
677. Quite openly, God works in secret; and without
deceiving, He deceives His enemies. That has always been
so, and it is also always true of men that they see without
seeing, and that they hear without hearing and understand
without understanding. And anyone who sees and under-
stands that for the first time thinks he is the first to do so
the impression is so immediate and overwhelming.
675. What a curious change of scene : to make doubt the
starting point of philosophy, instead of the sense of wonder.
A revolution, not only in thought, but also and perhaps
primarily, fundamentally, in feeling. And probably too,
a revolution in the will.
679. More than half of life consists in waiting for a
particular moment in time, often purely abstract waiting
to be twenty years old. For an uncertain, insignificant
accomplishment in time. And finally for death. Waiting
for an ephemeral fulfilment that does not even fulfil its
name, and quickly disillusions one, and for the nothingness
of death. That is almost the rule for the man of the present
age. But waiting only becomes significant for the spirit of
man if it means waiting for the absolute and the eternal.
All else is an illusion, vanitas vanitatum.
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680. Those with a well-founded expectation of suffering
a martyr's death can perhaps endure the far greater agonies
of dread in imagination, beforehand. For in the reality of
martyrdom God helps a man;, in his own fantasy, in the
possibility of his imagination, unlimited by factual reality,
that is not so. Even Christ, the Son of Man, found the
momentary dread of anticipation in the Garden indes-
cribably more agonising than any subsequent moment of
definite torture in the unavoidable suffering. For then,
instead of a boundless fantasy, it was the concrete suffering
that determined the unsurpassable measure of the real
limit of suffering.
68L Nowadays, the East interprets its art in western
terms, because it has none of its own.
682. Christ always speaks in the last, and absolute,
spiritual sphere, of man's salvation, that is to say the sal-
vation of the spirit, the soul and the body of man in relation
to God and his neighbour.
683. The unquestionable dignity of the contemplative
life is stained as though by the ugliest sin, by every
disregard of the practical command to love God and to
love and help one's neighbour, so absolute is the command
to love God and one's neighbour, on which everything
684. Love alone knows no measure, and yet when it is
immeasurable, it is measure itself, the divine by which we
shall be measured.
685. The corruption began when the dominating idea in
the hierarchic order ceased to be 'the good', and was re-
placed by c the beautiful' what is called the Renaissance
and the result was not a harvest of evil, but the profound
ugliness of the souls of today.
686. To be able to say of a writer: whether his adjectives
come from thought, and are strictly relevant, or from the
will, expressing wishes and intentions, more or less, or come
from feeling and are consequently subjective, sub-objective.
687. The fact that God remembers everything is human,
and perfectly intelligible; but that God should be able to
forget, that is what is really inconceivable, for ultimately a
complete forgiveness of sins means to forget in eternity.
But then what, if you please, of the existence of an eternal
hell? What has it got to do with those who are blessed and
happy? What it means to the blessed? O but, my friend,
can you really imagine one of the blessed looking at hell?
For myself, I can't, but there ought not really to be any
difficulty. God sees it after all, and God is holy. But perhaps
the blessed will not see it at all. Have any of those who have
been blessed in time seen hell? Blessed in time only, and
then in eternity! Will he see hell? Perhaps not, but I
do not know. But one thing I do know, there is a hell; and
could one, then, call someone blessed and happy who did
not see a part of reality, and consequently of truth, at all,
even though he himself were satisfied?
688. One of the principal instincts in man is towards
'pleasure', in the body and in the spirit. Even while he
suffers, he enjoys in advance, the pleasure of one day relat-
ing his suffering, and even the poet who can say what he
has suffered, gets the fullest pleasure from avoiding suffering.
I think men would be less willing to go to war if this natural
thirst for pleasure did not express itself in subsequently
relating great sufferings. Very often the most melancholy
man is the most pleasure-loving. That is what makes him
so hard to understand, so ambiguous, so difficult to heal.
Does he belong among the good? Is the melancholy man
a good, a kind man? That is not I think the way to set
about it. Is he bad? Is he guilty? That is not quite right
either. Rather, he is a man who feels guilty. Without a
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doubt, that is right. But he is, you say, pleasure loving.
Yes, I really think so. He enjoys his misfortune. And then
he is vain. Still, that does not prevent his misfortune being
real, and not something imagined. How deep down the
instinct for pleasure goes, how unbelievably deep. There is
however a melancholy that is sheer poison.
689. The endless chatter about Nietzsche and Kierke-
gaard is quite hopeless. Outward similarities set up a super-
ficial sphere of comparison that is utterly meaningless, for
they are localised and limited by a decisive difference at a
deeper level; the one prayed, the other did not. And
people are quite satisfied, and the radical difference is no
longer perceived. An example of the growing 'blindness 3
of which I spoke.
690. Those who are spiritually blind, are not only blind
to the object they want to see, but blind to their blindness.
And that, ultimately, is the motive of the words : Forgive
them for they know not what they do : that indeed, is not
'blind 5 love, but love which sees. Love that sees the fact
of this 'blindness 3 .
691. Historical writing since the Reformation, on the
Protestant side, is all tendentious, a matter of propaganda.
History and the truth of history is decided by 'the
truth 3 of Revelation, whose guardian on earth is the holy,
Catholic, apostolic Church. There is nothing to be done
about that; nothing can alter it. Even men of Ranke 3 s
nobility of mind, striving for pure subjective honesty, must
fail and make mistakes if they fail to strike the target of
truth in the centre through their own, or inherited guilt,
and are led astray from the light of revelation. Not all the
human virtues put together can attain the goal, which is
the spotless perfection of true doctrine. The Roman-
Catholic Church has lacunae because it no longer has within
its totality the Germanic element, nor has it any longer the
Greek and Slav elements, nor as yet the Chinese or the
Indian element. Those are really great lacunae, a great lack
of fulness and of completeness, but its supernatural core is
spotless and without lacunae. And those who do not see
that well, they are blind. Spiritual blindness differs from
physical blindness in this, that it is not conscious. That is
the essence of error invincibilis!
692. The written language must continually be refreshed
by the spoken language, that is by great writers, whose
living soliloquies (monologues or dialogues) are spon-
taneous and lead directly from the heart of feeling to
language, without going a roundabout way, avoiding the
usual worn-out, conventional lines, avoiding the old pipe
lines, choked with old phrases, so furred-up that language
loses all its flan, all its strength and all its purity.
*The discerning of spirits 5 , in any sphere, is a gift that
makes the possessor lonely and, from a worldly point of
view, unhappy. In a higher sense it is the source of pro-
found happiness. He cannot communicate himself and his
certain knowledge with success. Discussions and argument
are, as he knows, useless. But there also exists, nowadays,
another gift, 'the discerning of voices'. Those who have it,
have it; it cannot be communicated. And yet how needful
it is nowadays, for voices today are so significant. The
'announcer 5 'reveals' politics and even religion to us,
is a political functionary, and his function is incalculable
in its effects upon the feelings of men and of the masses, far
more decisive than thoughts. Thoughts in themselves are
far more independent and more abstract than the voices
that express and announce them, than the feelings that are
voiced by and fused with certain voices. Today on the
wireless I heard Kayssler making his fine and in itself
'expressive' voice the vehicle of hollow lyrical idiocy. And
I had the familiar experience, that alarming impression
which can be made upon one by a discrepancy between
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things which ought to belong 'together'. Why is it that men
have the power of dividing up what is living as though it
were dead, and exchanging the parts, or separating them
just as they please? Of handling the inner as though it were
the outer, and the reverse? That is one of the principal
reasons why life does not c add up'. There is a 'true' disorder
in this aeon. And moreover the inmost things can be torn
apart in a way in which outward things cannot be.
694. Sufficient understanding for the day but no, that
never satisfies us, even though the day were an aeon. We
want the absolute and nothing else. The 'fame' of this
world only makes the pilgrim of the absolute all the more
melancholy; the more fame he has or can have, the greater
his melancholy, the longer it lasts. And isn't the insipidity
and worldliness of Faust due to the fact that he is satisfied
with 'aeons', a bourgeois hero of this world's progress. The
ordinary Christian who believes is beyond such childish
notions, and has a further sense of quantity.
695. There is something cassandra-like and almost sinister
in not being able to communicate one's most certain
knowledge, what one sees and hears immediately, not just
deductions reached somehow or other, among which one
can so easily go astray but ones immediate intuitions. And
then one cannot communicate them to others, not even to
those one loves, and who aren't stupid, simply because they
neither see nor hear! It is a very strange and very painful
condition to be in. I can hear something in the voice of the
official announcer of Deutschlandsender and what an ominous
double-meaning the word contains in German, with its
play on the word 'sender' and 'sendung', a mission to me
absolutely evident, something I could not shake off with the
best will in the world, a stupid infernal pride that inevitably
and freely calls down a curse upon itself, the incurable,
hopeless condition of the soul of the nation that takes
pleasure in the voice that is identical with it and not even
the better people notice it. Sometimes I am tempted to beg
God to spare me so painful an insight and so agonising a
spiritual hearing. What am I to do? Over and over again
I try to communicate my despairingly clear knowledge
spontaneously, I point, as it were, to the tone, the quite
unmistakable tone that cannot be misunderstood or not
heard, the tone that is identical with the whole thing and
the catastrophe, and again and again I am stunned by the
astounding fact that the tone in the voice is not heard, and
the sense not understood. What am I to do? Say nothing
at all? Keep silent? Or speak too late?
696. 1st May. The 'cul-de-sac 5 referred to in evolu-
tionary theory particularly in Bergson gives me no rest.
The spiritual 'cul-de-sacs' that certainly exist, are formed in
the realm of 'freedom 3 , for spirit and freedom belong
together. There is always some guilt involved. In the philo-
sophical systems that lead to cul-de-sacs the intellect
naturally plays the chief role: error and illusion. But that
is not all. There is something existential in it too, based
upon perverted feeling, something ambiguous in the will.
Intellectually it is always false principles that lead to a
cul-de-sac, and they are more or less easily demonstrable.
If the principle behind a statement, whether clearly recog-
nised or half unconscious, or only darkly implied, includes
the proposition that the difference among men is greater
than their equality, and not the reverse, which in my opinion
is the truth, then that philosophy leads theoretically, and if
anyone lives according to it, existentially, into a cul-de-sac,
however broad and however beautiful and fruitful the
prospect may seem at the outset. Nowadays that is an
instructive and topical example of how 'guilt' is always
involved, and not just the 'error 5 of the 'pure' intellect.
697. There is a great difference between saying something
differently, or saying something different. And there are
three kinds of men, all dangerous, who bring about
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confusion at this point. First, there are those who do not see
the difference at all. They are not much good at thinking,
which does not however hinder them from writing, and often
writing quite a lot. The result is the type of doctrine known
as 'liberalism'. The two other kinds are more dangerous.
Those who denounce any and every different view of the
same object as the description of a different object; they
narrow and confine all that is vital. The most dangerous
of all however is the man who merely pretends to describe
an important object differently, but in fact describes some-
thing quite different. That has done great mischief in
philosophy and theology.
698. The Germans tend by nature to the heresy of Pelagius
and of Arius, by nature, that is by their own ability, that
makes them proud, and by their own pride, that makes them
699. Warf er nicht hoher den Ball in die Luft als jeder
andere? Und flach traf sein Kiesel die Flache des Sees und
hiipfte zehnmal. 'Did'nt he throw the ball higher into the
air than any of the others? And his pebble struck the
surface of the sea so smoothly that it bounced ten times'.
That is well told, in every respect, though of course its
content is unimportant. And nevertheless the sentences
remain stuck in my memory on account of their rhythm.
I cannot remember or whistle a melody, not even the
simplest, but even the emptiest sentences remain in my
memory simply on account of their rhythm Of all
delights the noblest is surely the delight in language,
language which as a symbol is so entirely different from the
object, and from the 'being 5 to which it corresponds and
then again it is indescribably one with them!
700. 29th May. 'Einmalig', unique, though literally it
means 'happening but once'. A word that ought not,
properly speaking, to be used more than once, and that has
become the most worn of old cliches. All the throat clearing
and the spitting that goes on is 'unique'. Perhaps, but the
absurdity of it is surely 'einmalig'?
701. All that I write down tends, quite by itself, to grow
into a dialogue. My mind always tends to fall at once into
conversation with another, with a 'you 3 . And what of my
soliloquy! There indeed I am alone, and that only places me
all the more absolutely before God. My partner then is the
eternal 'You', the transcendent You, my Creator, my
Lord and my God.
702. 4th June. My sixty-fifth birthday. The entry of the
Allies into Rome!
The President of the State Literary Bureau writes to me
as follows e On this your sixty-fifth birthday, on the 4th
June, I wish to convey to you the best wishes of German
Authors (deutschen Schrifttums!) as well as my own'. What's
that? What's that? Has Herr Johst the faintest idea who
I am? In that case he certainly knows nothing about this
letter. And if he knows of the letter, then he cannot know
anything about me. There remains, however, the well-
founded suspicion that the letter is the automatic product
of a well-ordered card-index system where the number
8814 that is my number gives out the name Theodor
Haecker, my birthday and my address. That is the only
possible way of giving the thing any kind of meaning,
although of course there are still a number of other pos-
sibilities. But why bother.
703. I know a tragic man whose writing is tragic and who
regards God as the most tragic person of all. He cannot get
away from that. He is eternally enveloped in tragedy. And
that gives his writing a terrible reality. He is capable of
talking of the silent jubilation of the mystics with the
unmistakable note of the silent despair of Kierkegaard's
father. He possesses the language and the being of an
218 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
objective, scientific melancholy that is absolutely impene-
trable. Now Kierkegaard did not have that, although his
melancholy was unlimited; for at times he did break
through it, did really break out of it, so that he could really
breathe freely, and let his reader breathe freely.
704. 9th June. Friday morning towards ten o'clock. In
the cellar. High-explosive bomb. The house and my flat
destroyed. Unbelievable destruction. Some good people,
helpers, people who console me by being what they are and
by helping! ScholL And also some crapule. Upright souls.
And miserable souls. God is merciful! God is great! God
is precise, but magnanimous. What has happened to me
is no injustice.
705. Even pride has its justification and may be valid in
God's eyes, if humility has acknowledged it. But it must
pass before the judgment seat of humility. Otherwise let
no one believe it! For pride is insidious, and sometimes it
even apes humility. The one certain court of humility is
the Cross, on which one hangs with Christ. And the pride
that is justified after that that one should have! For one
can have it without danger!
706. 22nd December. It makes a difference whether a
writer can suddenly surprise a reader with an unexpected
turn of phrase or whether one expects something un-
expected to occur. It also makes a difference whether one
can read the unexpected passage twice, or only once.
707. 30th December. The passionate endeavour to paint
the picture in which H. shall go down to history has recently
given Goebbels the cramp. But today he surpassed himself:
he is not only the greatest genius of the world, he is its
'saviour 9 ; the apocalyptic cretin is not only without shame,
he has even lost the cleverness of the 'world'. The fool
thinks that because no one any longer accepts his base and
fulsome flattery except a few imbecile fanatics, he can write
his enormous cheque to be drawn on posterity, as though
it would be honoured with enthusiasm, and brass bands;
in fact they will not even protest: the cheque will not be
708. 31st December. This afternoon at three o'clock it
was announced on the wireless that tonight at c five minutes
past midnight 5 the Fiihrer would make a speech. The
manager of this sensation did not of course suspect that
this only happens in order that the words might be fulfilled :
C I shall only stop five minutes after midnight*.*
* The reference is to a speech by Brunning and is an example of the
senseless ' symbolism ' employed by the Nazis.
709. 1st January. The first broadcast I heard was: the
Fiihrer spoke 'shortly after midnight' .... no longer 'five
minutes after midnight'. So they have noticed something
only too late! De nominibus est curandum (one must be careful
of one's words), and in time, otherwise it is too late. The
announcement on 31st December 1944 at three in the
afternoon: The Fiihrer will speak to the German people
tonight at five minutes past midnight, is of such appalling
symbolic power that it simply must bring reality in its train
in 1945: I shall only stop five minutes past midnight.
Fiat wluntas tua.
710. 2nd January. It seems nothing worse, nothing less
desired could happen to the German people than a miracle.
It is true that the ghastly individuals who give us the news
and disguise their wishes as statements, have not tired for
the last fortnight of describing the German offensive as a
miracle, as a 'German miracle', though they continued to
insist that nothing would be more mistaken than to regard
the German capacity for resistance as a e miracle' , for on the
contrary, it represents the perfectly understood power of the
German people, their fanaticism, the genius and the
thoroughness that explain everything, the careful plans, and
the natural fact that they are unconquerable. At the last
moment, it is true, Goebbels spoke of c a miracle of the
German people', of the only one, and this miracle is : the
71 L History teaches us that no one feels so disgustingly
certain of victory, or is so unteachably sure, and immune
to reason, as the fanatic, and that no one is so absolutely
certain of ultimate defeat.
712. 23rd January. One ought to, and may reproach one-
self alone for not being a saint; on no account anyone else.
713. No, the practical demonstration of the non-existence
of God will fail too, just as the theoretical attempt failed and
always will fail. But the practical attempt is far more
dangerous and makes a much greater impression on far
more people than the theoretical. I must admit that the
victory of the Party in world history, to speak like a fool
and per impossibile, would have exposed me to the great
temptation of believing that the non-existence of God had
been proved or at least but God forgive me for a madman,
tortured almost to death, forgive me the fog of blasphemy!
Forgive me daring to understand that 'falling away' and
that despair. But the practical demonstration will not
714. 30th January. The glory of Europe, its high point,
and the sign of its election, is that a sentence in Plato, which
says that it is better to suffer injustice than to commit it,
should touch from afar the divine revelation of Christ. If
there is injustice in the world, then the greater worth belongs
to him who suffers the injustice, not to him who commits it.
That is astounding, and belongs to another world. Injustice!
Not power be it noted, for the good and the wicked can use
power, but not injustice.
715. 8th February. The unmistakable mark of the false
prophet, of the prophet of this 'world', is that openly or
hiddenly he tells men that the way of salvation is broad, and
the gate wide, whereas in truth and according to the will
of God, the way is straight and the gate narrow.
716. In very many cases faith in God is no longer
much more than faith in a last, saving, straw. But what
does it matter, if the straw is really God, for God is
222 JOURNAL IN THE NIGHT
717. 9th February. Man will be judged and sentenced
according to the order of reason, not according to the order
of the senses, to which in the first place he also belongs.
The idea of man, his ideal, is given to him by God, though
in such a way that it is man who freely gives it to himself,
and must give it freely to himself, if he is to grow up out of
the sensual, animal world, in order that he should spirit-
ualise his body and his senses, and not destroy or treat the
body with contempt. The union of the sensual and the
spiritual that alone rightly deserves the name of man,
raises many difficulties : for example a being that is purely
sensual, an animal in fact, that is not planned as spirit,
cannot sin when according to its sensual nature it demands
and enjoys the pleasures natural to it, for that is just as it
should be. Every nature that fulfills itself in pleasure does
the will of God.
AND THE EXISTENT
The greatest living Catholic philosopher
sums up his meditation and teaching of
thirty years. As his point of departure
he takes the atheistic existentialism of his
fellow countryman, Sartre; in contrast to
that philosophy of despair he outlines
with vigorous logic and describes with
burning eloquence his concept of true
existentialism which is a Christian phj-
losophy of the intellect, an existential
THOUGHT: "A/. Maritain with the power
of a master gives a synthetic view of the
deeply intelligible but mysterious actuali-
ty existence', the One and the many
bound together by the possession of the
highest perfection: they are. In that mew
he shows not only the meaning of Being
but also the connection of the fundamen-
tal problems of reality with that meaning"