D O C U M E N T 4 1 4 N O V E M B E R 1 9 2 6 3 9 1 deck themselves out in peacock feathers. And the few peacocks that there are pre- fer, by far, the feathers of the other peacocks. It is doubtful whether that’s proper. I personally would certainly break off relations with a person who displays only his own meager plumage. However, the issue is questionable. Basically, there are two ideals there that begin to contradict each other at a certain point. The one ideal is to objectively behave as well as possible. The other ideal is for everyone to behave as it suits them. In the first case, one obeys the intellect, which produces virtually the same result everywhere in the second case, one obeys one’s personal instinct which produces as many results as there are individuals. For example, it would cer- tainly be reasonable if I were to practice sports and the like. However, I do not do it because it would be laughable if I did, since it absolutely does not suit me. But, through reading, the distinctness of the individual is completely ground down. It is lost among all of what one drapes oneself in from the outside. The ultimate result is even that one no longer seeks to find it because the drapery is much more beau- tiful than the distinctness. Generally speaking, it does no harm at all. It does the most harm to an artist, since he himself is supposed to deliver new draperies, to which end he absolutely needs distinctness. Again, in the case of an exact scientist, it is essential that the distinctness disappear, since it only misleads him. To my horror, I realized that, again, instead of feeding you with realities, I have strayed into the sea of general phrases. That may partially be due to the fact that I have nothing special to say. However, there is also another reason. Namely, it seems to me that one should record in a letter only such things as are so transcen- dent that they still retain their validity when the addressee holds the letter in his hands. I concede that the weather is a magnificent topic of conversation. I concede that it almost exclusively determines the inner life of an even only relatively sensi- tive person, but what, ultimately, is the weather three days earlier in Zurich to you? Does it make much sense to write to you whether I feel unwell so that you, when you respond to me three, if not four months later, can wish me a good recovery? But the main reason is, however, that there’s not very much that I could write to you. You will ask why in the world I then incessantly bother you with my letters at all. But just look around you and you will discover that this “why?” lurks behind everything and traverses every activity, and it is best not to concern oneself with it at all. An observation with which I will prematurely end my torrent of words in order to guard myself against my excesses. Best wishes, your Teddy
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