rilke

September 29, 2008

i forgot how amazing his book “Letters to a Young Poet” is. You should read it.

People have (with the help of conventions) oriented all their solutions toward the
easy and toward the easiest side of the easy; but it is clear that we must hold to
what is difficult; everything alive holds to it, everything in Nature grows and defends
itself in its own way and is characteristically and spontaneously itself, seeks at all
costs to be so and against all opposition.We know little, but that we must hold to
what is difficult is a certainty that will not forsake us; it is good to be solitary,
for solitude is difficult; that something is difficult must be a reason the more for us to do it.

To love is good, too: love being difficult. For one human being to love another:
that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and
proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.

For this reason young people, who are beginners in everything, cannot yet know love:
they have to learn it. With their whole being, with all their forces, gathered close about
their lonely, timid, upward-beating heart, they must learn to love. But learning-time
is always a long, secluded time, and so loving, for a long while ahead and far on into
life, is–solitude, intensified and deepened loneness for him who loves.

Love is at first not anything that means merging, giving over, and uniting with another (for what
would a union be of something unclarified and unfinished, still subordinate–?), it is a high
inducement to the individual to ripen, to become something in himself for another’s sake, it is a
high exacting claim upon him, something that chooses him out and calls him to vast things.

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