3 7 0 D O C U M E N T 3 7 9 O C T O B E R 1 9 2 6 379. From Eduard Einstein [Zurich, after 11 October 1926][1] Dear Papa, I’m writing you today because Mama is begging me with a worried expression to relay the following to you. She says she sent you a document some time ago on which she would very much like, for some reason unknown to me, to see your signature.[2] She says the matter is exceptionally urgent. I think she would not be unhappy if you would send the document to her shortly. I am currently on holiday. I’m sitting around all day and lazing about. The worst thing about it is that I am not even very bored. That proves to me that I am in a state of complete mindlessness. If I became bored that would be a sign that I still had some need for activity. I currently have no great need for activity. I imagine that the monks who merrily sat for 20 years on a high pedestal were in a similar state of mind. I’ve become indifferent to things that were my highest objectives a few years ago. New values have not replaced them. I can hardly muster the patience to deal with details. I occupy myself almost exclusively with general topics (to the extent I actually occupy myself). School has the strange peculiarity that it deals only with details. That has to do with the fact that the teachers are purely specialists in their field and happily dig into the details thereof. However, it is impossible to dig into all fields. It would be too diffuse. There are scholars who do so, but they are not humans but rather walking report cards. I am currently reading a very droll book. It is an anniversary publication of a mu- sic publishing house in which the most significant composers of the present day have delivered essays and observations.[3] I caught sight of the book in a window display. I would gladly have bought it for myself, but it was 100 percent too expen- sive. So I walked into the shop with a pretentious air and gruffly told the seller, I would like the work “on approval.” I have now had it for some time on approval. When I have finished reading it, I will return it. The book is, as I said, very droll. One sees that virtually every composer consid- ers himself the central ¢movement² personality. They basically say nothing star- tling and all say pretty much the same thing, but each one announces it as gospel. Many document their preference for naturalness through the fact that they start sen- tences with lowercase letters or use the strangest and most complicated print lay- out. I said before that each one considers himself the central personality. This is true only to a certain extent. In reality, everyone considers Arnold Schönberg[4] the
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