D O C U M E N T 1 0 8 D E C E M B E R 1 9 2 7 1 2 3 108. To Eduard Einstein [Berlin,] 23 December 1927 Dear Tetl, I have not been able to muster the free time for our get-together.[1] It is also good if you see Albert again.[2] There will so often be no opportunity to do that. We would prefer to meet at Easter. The place will be determined later. Now about our favorite subject. If I would like you to resemble an animal more, I mean by that, that natural feelings and action should not be short-changed in re- lation to the intellect.[3] When I think of an animal, it’s not a tiger, which as a non- social animal lacks our best drives and feelings. Your axiom, “life has no ultimate goal that lies outside life itself,” I absolutely accept. But it does not clarify matters much. Life in the sense of merely existing and functioning is surely not a worthy ideal, not even “living happily,” because the swineherd ideal has to be excluded.[4] Thus one must focus on the ideal of “living beautifully,” in the awareness that the decision about what this actually is has to be left to feeling. Humans who establish a society are glad when they can look each other in the eye, share their concerns, and direct their striving toward what they care most about those for whom this striving is a source of joy—they live a full life. Health, joy in intellectual and artis- tic play, in humor, are part of that for me. Life in the service of an ideal can be good if this idea is life-giving and frees the individual from the fetter of the ego without casting him into another kind of ser- vitude. Science and art can have this effect, but they can also lead to subjugation and a morbid effeminacy and oversophistication. But I question the idea that this striving must lead to an inability to live. Ultimately, even water is lethal if one drowns in it. If refinement of consciousness were equivalent to degeneration, then the development from fish to human being would have to be regarded as a degen- erative process, which certainly does not correspond to your meaning. One can be a happy, vital creature and at the same time a comprehending, sympathetic person who takes pleasure in thought. You shouldn’t be a “caricature of the intellectual,” but in addition to an active, feeling person capable of pleasure, also an intellectual. The Greeks are right when they see proportionality as the ideal. I don’t want to hear about “natural hierarchy.” Democracy and humanity are a natural outcome of a healthy social feeling. If you don’t think abstractly but instead
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