Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Truth as a Power

Truth is a power especially when we require of it no immediate effect, but have patience and figure on a long wait. Still better, truth is a power when we do not think in general about its effects but seek to present it for its own sake, for its holy, divine greatness. . . . As already said, we must have patience. Here months may mean nothing and also years. Further, we must have no speciific aims. Lack of an agenda somehow sets free the greatest power. Sometimes, especially in recent years, I had the sense that truth was standing as a reality in the room.
— Romano Guardini (1945), in Robert A. Krieg, ed. and trans., Romano Guardini: Spiritual Writings, Orbis, 2005

In your patience possess ye your souls.
— Luke 21:19


P-R S: For you music seems important, even fundamental…

C D: Well at the risk of telling a lie, I would say yes. Because I can’t manage what is called reality without music and literature. Music is an ideal world, as is also literature, and I am just not able to deal with reality all day long. It isn’t reality, I don’t know what it is – all the papers, the Internet, I have no interest in all that. Human beings are impossible. Let’s have an ideal world in our pockets so that we can run away from all this rubbish. I know it sounds very feeble psychology, but I think you are exactly the same, I am quite sure, and if you took music away from me I would be lost, because it is a lifeline, I understand life from the music.

P-R S: Music in other words is a form of spirituality, or religion…

C D: Well, you can’t use those words any more. Of course it is. You are perfectly correct. They are trying to destroy us as human beings, there is no such thing as spirit, nothing there except pipes, and water, and God knows what. And now no young people are taught to admire the great men any more, they do not read any literature, they are given this deplorable music all day long, they have not got a thought into their heads. It’s small wonder they behave like idiots, you can say that! But fortunately I’m old enough to have been brought up to admire the greatest brains, the greatest spirits, let’s say.

P-R S: Faced with the catastrophic world which is awaiting us, perhaps in the very near future, Berlioz’s music and his personality must constitute a refuge…

C D: Of course, and so is the music of Mozart and Beethoven, and so is Fidelio. And Falstaff is a wonderful protest against the idiocy of people. But if people don’t listen to them and don’t appreciate them they will be cut off, it seems to me, from this fantastic legacy which Europe has left us. And if you cut yourself off from that, what have you got? You haven’t got anything. Given such a fantastic treasure how can people turn their backs on it? I don’t understand. Neither do you.

Interview with Sir Colin Davis, Paris, 22 Oct 2006



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