Thus their walk came to an end. The result for all of them was wet feet, an irritated brain – as though the thin, bare branches on the trees, sparkling in the winter sun had turned to splinters stuck in the retina – a vulgar craving for hot coffee, and the feeling of human forlornness.
“Yes,” he had said, “we no longer have any inner voices. We know
too much these days; reason tyrannizes our lives.”
To which she had replied: “I like the company of women. They
don’t know anything and are unfragmented.’
And Amheim had said: “Nevertheless, a beautiful woman under-
stands far more than a man, who, for all his logic and psychology,
knows nothing at all of life.”
The human brain has happily split things apart, but things have split the human heart too.
Diotima received him with the indulgent smile of an eminent lady who knows
that she is also beautiful and has to forgive men, superficial creatures
that they are, for always thinking of her beauty first.
After all, the earth is not that old, and was apparently never
so ready as now to give birth to its full potential.
Most of us may not believe in the
story of a Devil to whom one can sell one’s soul, but those who must
know something about the soul (considering that as clergymen, his-
torians, and artists they draw a good income from it) all testify that
the. soul has been destroyed by mathematics and that mathematics is
the source of an evil intelligence that while making man the lord
of the earth has also made him the slave of his machines.
For a man’s possibilities, plans, and feel-
ings must first be hedged in by prejudices, traditions, obstacles, and
barriers of all sorts, like a lunatic in his straitjacket, and only then can
whatever he is capable of doing have perhaps some value, substance,
and staying power.
Why are we satisfied to speak
vaguely of a red nose, without specifying what shade of red, even
though degrees of red can be stated precisely to the micromillimeter
of a wavelength, while with something so infinitely more compli-
eatedas what city one happens to be in, we always insist on knowing