4 4 6 D O C U M E N T 4 5 2 J A N U A R Y 1 9 2 7 The constant delving into others has demanded of him the prolific gathering of worthwhile facts from every field of knowledge. This called for a large range of interests he saw firsthand the most disparate ways of approaching a piece of work. Thus he is always able to give valuable suggestions. His eye is just as sharp in de- tecting one-sided approaches of a methodological or substantive nature, and strives to straighten them out. This makes him particularly valuable to some one who works as a specialist in a particular field. He is the nonspecialist par excellence. His great erudition and his extensive knowledge actually only serve him as tools. He is not a collector or a systematist, neither is he a speaker or writer effective though he is in argumentation, he is clumsy when it comes to coherent speech or text. There he misses the actual material that he knows how to manipulate so masterfully, namely: the thinking of the person facing him, whereby he is also guid- ed by an extraordinary tact. He is a typical “civilized” person, not a “cultured” person (civitas concerns people, cultura concerns things). The fields that he has an especially good mastery of, also on a purely factual ba- sis, are physics and mathematics this is where his “formative” influence comes particularly to the fore but he also has a large overview of all the natural sciences as well as philosophy and political science, less so in detailed knowledge. Engi- neering, insurance and patent issues are very familiar to him from his practical work history. That which is so useful to any inquirer who meets him is equally detrimental to himself for he is never finished with a final verdict he is never content with what he has no papers bear his name his works lie in the people he has educated. 452. From Michele Besso Bern, 13 January 1927 Dear Albert, Through our friend Zangger[1] I heard about your deliberations on my behalf. I received your “Opinion on the Expert Besso”—as amicable as it is well- balanced—for safe-keeping until it ought eventually to be fired off.[2] Not all misfortune ends badly[3] —for one, this matter again set before me your and Zangger’s friendships for another, it prodded me once more about whether I couldn’t learn in my old age, after all, to work toward a conscious goal, at least in the modest direction in which it is called for. Time and again I sense how easily attainable major and minor fields of work would actually be for me. The past two months of serious employment genuinely had a proper appeal to me.
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