Charlottendburg, February 5, 1874
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for that given expectation concerning an eventual appointing of my humble person in such an important position of a philosophy professor. Anyway, I still believe that such a proposal (otherwise quite flattering and according to my natural inclination) seems to me rather early, as far as I am keenly aware about myself. For the moment, that formal procedure of obtaining an academic degree would be the smallest and easiest to-be-passed obstacle. But could this possible be the only one, too? Regarding my age and lacking a precise didactic plan incompletely prepared, should I dare taking upon myself such a risky responsibility?
A free thinking position (therefore, a genuine one) aiming some lectures on such a strictly framed field as philosophy, for instance a special broaching to Kant or Schopenhauer's philosophy as occurring in their works, well, considering this situation, I might have dared to accept, while under this circumstance you are allowed to pass only a small step beyond and the lecture would rather depend more upon a true and clear rendering of the knowledge you have on the matter than broadly working out those systems referred to. But reproducing Schopenhauer's philosophy, so to figure out an entire lecture, as the author himself once recommended, well, in this respect a certain information is required, thus requesting me for a special grounding about, particularly linked to natural sciences and anthropology.
There is something else to be reminded here. Both Kant and Schopenhauer's works have fallen into my clutches quite recently. Anyway, I am accustomed to them, indeed, but, within my mind given with typical flavour of the fresh ground featuring my soul, an intuitive revival of their thinking has not been completed yet. When in Vienna, I was under Herbart's philosophy baneful influence, which by its own nature makes you go away from studying Kant. While processing these notions, my intellect was growing Herbart-like, until it simply thickened its edge points. Several months after I had been shaping and bestirring it this way, when Zimmermann concluded there might really exist soul, but just like a mere atom, a great indignation made me throw my note-book and not attend his classes anymore. It is right, if I had not undergone my student-like narrow-mindedness, then I might have not thought that mentioned gentleman as an acme of any possible wisdom. But I was the victim of my temporary impression about an university professorís value.
Now I shall resume my topic. Schopenhauer's metaphysics is right when dividing world into will and representation. Matter itself should be let aside, as it cannot be studied either by an inward perception or an external one. Not even Schopenhauer could figure out anything to name this, but expressing what seem impossible - that Nothing, indeed, a relative one, but anyway nothing more than Nothing. As for that ground of my eventual lectures, my conscience could really be very comforted, but thinking about drawing them up, I must confess I am certainly short of the appropriate knowledge that I should start with information belonging to natural sciences, especially to anthropology. From my personal point of view, this is a motivated attitude. I have never given a thought to this possibility of being a teacher in the field, so I did not begin my way like a teacher-to-be should have begun it. I simply broached topics especially where, according to studied matter, the system seems less worked out. Law, state and history philosophy are fields only pointed at by Schopenhauer, but nevertheless the clue for their right founding was undoubtedly comprised within his metaphysics. In ancient times, each philosopher was at least a theoretical politician, because one should never let in the dark what a significance these fields mean at their greatest practical extent, although one should not understand that these fields might be used in building apotheosis of the mentioned themes. I think that I have just found out the solution for the related problems above, by grouping together the conceptions and demonstrative (proving) systems which join every time each further step into antinomies hinting lacking time within history, law and politics, but not for undertaking evolution predicted by Hegel. This is because in Hegel's system thinking and being are identical, while here they are not. I think that, regarding our country, the practical benefit would consist in theoretically removing any reason for that non-selective import of inappropriate institutions. These former ones are nothing else but some organisations specific for human society as referred to permanent fight for survival. This way they could also be assumed according to their main principles, but casuistry should empirically come out from those links between nation and country (land). For the moment I am not able to state my opinion on this matter, but I granted it with most of my thinking and studying time. Thus, by now I simply did not respect any succession concerning the settlement of my didactic-like themes.
Therefore, at least for a semester, I should study first anatomy and physiology, in order to know somehow at a decent extent what I am ought to know as philosophy prolegomena.
These are my fears. Our trend is characterized by a kind of scrupulousness that cannot be satisfied otherwise but by an outer appearance of what you are required to be. A doctor degree would certainly arrange well my position related to world and its legal order, but not as far as I am concerned, while for now I cannot be pleased in any way. It is indeed this actual situation which showed me clearly the importance of my task and thus, the idea of getting some benefits this way is not at all stronger than my sense of duty. This is why I dare ask you in allowing me some more time. For how long that would be, well I believe this depends again on my means.
Here I come to these means, which are not worthy to be envied by any one. In fact, I am not so displeased with them, but I rather impose some limitations on myself, so I might become really discontent. I have just little to expect from my family's part, almost nothing, and, as you also know, primum vivere, deinde philosophari. Only from this point of view, not for a personal urge, I should have sustained my doctorate during this semester or at the beginning of the next one, so to obtain a small state job - panem et circenses. Yet I was offered an opportunity, in order to be able to dedicate myself to my studying for at least one more year. The fact is that I am really tied (it is true, in a rather indirect way) to an institution submitted to our External Affairs Ministry. However, if our educational system leadership was truly entrusted to any member of our critical trend, then I should momentarily ask for being given with another kind of help, that could provide me some time and some leisure I have lost because of my actual bureaucratic position.
This is the actual situation. Now it depends on how much it could be changed in the future.
(Translated by Junona Tutunea)
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