Extract of a letter to Otto X (1941•1943)

From Karl Polanyi
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From a letter to Otto ______ Bennington.

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KPA 30-02, 2 (detail).jpg

[1] I myself feel like one who finds his inner view confirmed on the outer stage. My planned book is about our time, and yet I did not find it necessary to change his train of thought, although it has been fixed for several years. The longer the crisis lasts, the simpler its outlines become. I still believe that our time is given an objective task, and that these allow two completely exclusive solutions. As far as the organizational attitude is concerned, they are most likely to be represented by Russia and Germany today. {amikska steht in driner hmnnis auf der nsssmen} Seite. One is built on the person as it exists (in the Western perimeter) since Christianity; the other is the attempt to go back behind that knowledge, to deny it. Of course, old and new testaments are not enough. Both Fascism and Socialism have a third cognition which reveals no less ultimate than the knowledge of death and inner freedom, namely, the irretrievability of society. Modern man is a child of this knowledge (the liberal and liberal-conservative), who does not know it, belongs to a sunken world. Christianity is thus overcome but not refuted. The solution of the irrefutable problems of the sense of life that society sets us in its industrial form must acknowledge that third revelation, but without denying the second. In other words, only a solution that transcends Christianity is true; not one that denies Christianity in its essence. Although our time is not used to understanding ourselves in these terms, they remain the simplest.


Letter Informations

Original Letter: Aus einem Brief an Otto X (1941•1943)
Probable recipient: Otto Bauer?
Date: 19411943[1]
Other Languages:

Name Lge
FR Extrait d'une lettre à Otto X (1941•1943)
  1. This letter should be in the 47/11, 47/12 or 47/13 archive…