Bei dem hügeligen Waldgebiet genannt Elm, im Dorf Kneitlingen im Sachsenland, wurde Eulenspiegel geboren.

Sein Vater hieß Claus Eulenspiegel, seine Mutter Ann Wibcken. Nachdem sich diese von der Geburt des Kindes erholt hatte, brachte man es nach Ampleben zur Taufe und gab ihm den Namen Till Eulenspiegel. Till von Uetzen, der Burgherr von Ampleben, war sein Taufpate. (Ampleben ist das Schloss, das die Magdeburger vor etwa 50 Jahren mit Hilfe anderer Städte als ein böses Raubschloss zerstörten. Die Kirche und das Dorf daneben besitzt jetzt der würdige Abt von Sankt Ägidien, Arnold Pfaffenmeier.) Als nun Eulenspiegel getauft und man zusammen mit ihm wieder auf dem Rückweg nach Kneitlingen war, da wollte die Taufpatin, die das Kind trug, über einen Steg gehen, der zwischen Kneitlingen und Ampleben über einen Bach führt.Man hatte aber viel Bier nach der Kindtaufe getrunken. (Denn es ist dort Sitte, dass man mit den Kindern nach der Taufe ins Bierhaus geht, um auf deren Wohl zu trinken und fröhlich zu sein; das bezahlt dann der Vater des Kindes.)
Beim hastigen Überqueren des Baches fiel aber die Taufpatin vom Steg hinunter in die Lache und beschmutzte sich und das Kind so jämmerlich, dass das Kind dabei fast erstickt wäre. Da halfen die anderen Frauen der Badetante mit dem Kind wieder heraus, gingen heim in ihr Dorf und wuschen das Kind in einem Kessel und machten es wieder sauber und schön.
So wurde Eulenspiegel an einem Tag dreimal getauft: einmal im Taufbecken, einmal in der Lache und einmal im Waschkessel mit warmem Wasser.

  

Americans in Paris: The Question of American Identity. 1

Americans in Paris: The Question of American Identity. 1

There is far too much to say about the amorphous American student colony in Paris, France. However, what one really wants to know at bottom, is what THEY came to find. It becomes impossible to predicate the existence of a COMMON denominator or experience among them. It becomes apparent that there is no such thing. It suggests the disturbing possibility that experience may perfectly be meaningless. The student colony‘s common denominator reduces itself to the fact that they have spent some time in uniform. Yet this doesn’t allow one to assume that having surrendered to the anonymity of uniform was enough to occasion this flight from home. Thus the best one can do is to simply accept the fact of their military experience, and further, that they form here a somewhat unexpected minority. They have selected to tarry in the Old World to pursue some end, summed up in the verb TO STUDY.
However, it is very hard to believe that it was only for this reason. He is not studying anything which he couldn’t study at home. If we tentatively use the student painter, we find that his motives for coming to Paris are anything but clear. It was nothing more than the legend of Paris, not infrequently at its most vulgar and superficial level. It was certainly no love for French tradition; since he is himself without a tradition, he is ill equipped to deal with the traditions of any other people. It was no love for their language; nor was it any love for their history, his grasp of French history being yet more feeble than his understanding of his own. It was no love for the monuments, cathedrals, palaces, shrines, for which nothing in his experience prepares him and to which he is totally indifferent, except for the hurried bewilderment of the tourist. It was not even any particular admiration, or sympathy for the French, or, none strong enough to bear the strain of actual contact with the French. This is the difference between what one desires and what the reality insists on. Since the reasons which brought the student here are so romantic and incoherent, he has come, in effect, to a city which exists only in his mind. He cushions himself against the shock of reality,
  by refusing to recognize Paris at all, but clinging instead to its image. This is the reason that Paris fails to make any mark on him; and may also be why, when the tension between the real and the imagined can no longer be supported, so many undergo a species of breakdown, or take the first boat home.

For Paris is, according to this legend, the city where everyone loses his head, and his morals, lives through at least one „histoire d’amour“ and thumbs his nose at the Puritans – the city where all become drunken on the fine old air of freedom. This legend is limited, as legends are limited, by being literally unlivable, and by referring to the past. Therefore, this legend has virtually nothing to do with the life of Paris itself, or with the lives of the natives to whom this city belongs. Finally, it is perfectly possible to be enamored of Paris while remaining totally indifferent, or even hostile to the French. And this is made possible by the Parisian himself who keeps the traveler at an unmistakable arm’s length. Neither does he exhibit the faintest personal interest, or curiosity, concerning the life, or habits, of any stranger; he may stand on his head, for all the Parisian cares. It is this arrogant indifference on the part of the Parisian which defines Paris.
The American student lives here, then, in a kind of social limbo. Since he is American, he is invested with power. Though the students of any nation are allowed irresponsibility in Paris, few seem to need it as desperately as Americans seem to need it. His aura of power sets up among Parisians a perceptible anxiety, and a perceptible resentment. This is the „catch“ for the American in the Paris freedom: he becomes here a kind of revenant to Europe, the future of which continent is in his hands. Yet the American wishes to be liked AS A PERSON, an implied distinction which makes perfect sense to him, and none whatever to the European. The American does not want to be confused with the Marshall Plan, Hollywood, the Yankee dollar, television, or Senator McCarthy. What the European assumes is that the American cannot be divorced from the so diverse phenomena which make up his country, and that he is willing, and able, to clarify the American conundrum. If the American cannot do this, he throws up his hands in despair. When this moment arrives, it punctuates the Paris honeymoon. It is the moment when one leaves the Paris legend and finds oneself in the real Paris of the present. At this point the legend of Paris has done its deadly work, which is, so to stun the traveler with freedom that he begins to long for home, the place where questions are not asked. It is at this point, precisely, that many a student packs his bags for home. They cannot wait to look again on his native land – the virtues of which have become abruptly, SIMPLE, and VITAL. He now tells you that he can scarcely wait to leave this old, dirty, crumbling, and dead city. The people are really decadent, penurious, self-seeking, and false, with no trace of American spontaneity, and lacking gratitude for American favors. Only America is alive, only Americans are doing anything worth mentioning in the arts, or in any other field: to America only, the future belongs. It is impossible not to suspect that his present embrace of things American is no less romantic, and unreal, than his earlier rejection. It is as easy and as meaningless, to embrace uncritically the cultural sterility of main street as to decry it. Both extremes avoid any questions about main street at all. One is doomed to remain inarticulate about anything which one hasn’t, by an act of a consciously explicit comprehension, based on a critically caring inquiry, made one’s own. This so suddenly affirmative student is but changing his innocence, as he insists, to embrace his Responsibilities – the very word, in the face of his monumental aversion to experience, seems to shrink to the dimensions of a new, and rather sinister, frivolity.

The student, homeward bound, has only chosen, however, to flee down the widest road. Of those remaining here, one category is made up of those whose adaptation to French life seems to have been most perfect in all regards. One assumes that he is living as the French live – which assumption, however, is immediately challenged by the suspicion that no American can live as the French live, even if one could find an American who wanted to. In rare conversations he condescends to have in English, one discovers that he seems to know no more about life in Paris than everybody knew at home. It is in vain that one attempts to discover anything more about them, for their minds are of remarkable limited range. It is matched by their perplexing definition of friendship, a definition which does not seem to include any suggestion of communication, still less of intimacy. The extent of his immersion in French life impresses one as the height of artificiality, and even, of presumption. The passion with which he has embraced the Continent is, it seems, nothing more or less than a means of safeguarding his American simplicity. He has placed himself in a kind of strongbox of custom, and refuses to see anything in Paris which can’t be seen through a golden haze. He is thus protected against reality, or experience, or change, and has succeeded in placing beyond the reach of corruption values he prefers not to examine.

Between these two extremes, the student who embraces Home, and the student who embraces The Continent – both embraces, being singularly devoid of contact, to say nothing of love – there are multiple gradations here. The American in Europe is everywhere confronted with the question of his identity. This is all, really, that they have in common. This prodigious question, at home so little recognized, seems to be vivified in the European air. It confronts everyone, finding everyone unprepared, and the attempt to escape can precipitate disaster. For example, should the strongbox of custom of our perfectly adapted student break, he may find himself hurled into the great majority of this group, having attempted to lose or disguise their antecedents, a majority that is reduced to a kind of rubble of compulsion. Their rejection of the limitation of American society has not set them free to function in any other society, and their illusions, therefore, remain intact: they have yet to be corrupted by the actual reality of society. This little band of bohemians illustrates one of the most American of attributes, the inability to believe that time is real. They thus lose what it was they so bravely set out to find, their own personalities; and they arrive, finally, at a dangerous disrespect for the personalities of others. Their present shapelessness is freedom, one that is unable to endure either silence or privacy, and demands a rootless wandering.
Hidden, however, in the heart of the confusion he encounters here is that which he came so blindly seeking: the terms on which he is related to his country, and the world. This is, in fact, most personal – the American confusion seeming to be based on the very nearly unconscious assumption that it is possible to consider the person apart from all the forces which have produced him This unconscious assumption, however, is itself based on nothing less than on our history, which is the history of the total, and willing, alienation of entire peoples from their forebears. What is overwhelmingly clear to everyone but ourselves is that this history has created an entirely unprecedented people and past. It is the past lived on the American continent which must sustain us in the present. The truth about that past is not that it is too brief, or too superficial, but only that we, having turned our faces so resolutely away from it, have never demanded from it what it has to give. It is this demand which the American student in Paris is forced, at length, to make, for he has otherwise no identity, no reason for being here, nothing to sustain him here. From the vantage point of Europe he discovers his own country. And this is a discovery which not only brings to an end the alienation of the American from himself, but which also makes clear to him, for the first time, the extent of his involvement in the life of Europe.
— James Baldwin. Condensed by me.

The devil and Jesus

The devil and Jesus

Who or what is the devil whom Jesus encountered in the desert?

Christ did by no means sever himself from his shadow at the beginning of his career. If we accept for the moment the view of the devil as his shadow, Jesus’s behavior is an absolutely exemplary mode of how to deal with the shadow. He allows him to surface, he lets him state his case and show what he has to offer, he calmly and open-mindedly listens to him and even lets himself be guided by him to that high mountain. He lets „the shadow“ become fully conscious and faces him directly. And rather than splitting the shadow off, suppressing him, fighting him. he merely ANSWERS him, openly contradicts him, says „no“ to him. The encounter happens as a dialogue, on the level of SPEAKING. Both put their cards on the table and so KNOW now where they stand with regard to each other. Jesus’s knowledge gained about „his shadow“ is neither repressed nor gets lost for Jesus in the times to come. Because his own goal is the negation of what the devil offered him, it being the result of Jesus’s pushing off from it, he always carries with him what he pushed off from. The devil’s spelling out his offers was indispensable for Jesus to clearly become aware of and define the totally other dimension of logical negativity („spirit“) that was to be his own concern. Without getting the literal option clearly spelled out he could not have clearly pushed off to the figurative sense of kingdom. A negation presupposes the position. So the devil, rather than being his shadow in the usual sense of the word, was, as a literal devil’s advocate, his facilitating psychopomp, his soul-guide. For a psychological understanding, this story is not really about two separate figures, the devil and Jesus, at all. Rather, what is actually one single process of self-reflection and self-clarification – an acquiring of a clearer, deeper understanding of himself and his project – is merely NARRATIVELY played out as an dialogic interaction between two figures. We should not take literally this substantiating or personifying which simply occurs for the purpose of narration. But this means that the whole talk about Christ’s shadow is misplaced. In the sphere of the soul’s logic the „position“ is not an ontic fact, an entity, or situation, nothing naturally existing, not a literal PRE-existing starting point, but a presupposition. Instead, the negation POSITS WITHIN ITSELF the presupposition from which it „then“ pushes off. The devil in this story must not be seen as an externally existing being, nor as a projection or split-off and denied part of the whole personality. He is precisely internal to the whole operation, namely as the soul’s or mind’s instrument for taking a radical step forward to a new status of itself.

— According to Wolfgang Giegerich, Ph.D.

The Devil and Jesus #1

The Devil and Jesus #1

The Devil and Jesus. Or: Split Thinking

Jesus had fasted in the desert for forty day and was hungry. That is the moment the devil took advantage of to tempt him, first by asking him to use his divine power to turn stones into bread, secondly by asking him to throw himself down from the pinnacle of the temple and allowing himself to be safely supported by angels, and finally by taking him to an extremely high mountain from which all the kingdoms of the world could be seen and offering them to him. (The last temptation shows quite clearly that the action takes place in the Land of the Spirit, the so-called „Wilderness“.)
Notice that the devil does not want to seduce Christ to commit a crime, to gratify evilness. Instead he merely represents the NATURAL concretistic perspective versus a non-literal one. The first temptation is ultimately about social welfare, providing enough to eat for everyone. The second temptation is about performing a spectacular miracle that would make him credible to the masses as someone to put their hopes on. And the last one is about becoming a political world leader, who would by no means have to be a cruel despot, but could just as well be a wise and just ruler, a benefactor of the world. These are the devil’s offers. The issue here is not the choice between good and evil. In fact we see that as far as the substance of the goals is concerned, the devil and Jesus are not at all apart. Both were thinking in the same direction. Jesus showed the same concern for people being fed and, in fact, fed them. The only difference is that Jesus gives to the goals shared by both a fundamentally different meaning. „My kingdom is NOT of THIS world“ (John 20: 29), and „Man shall NOT live by BREAD alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.“
Continue reading

Jesus in the Desert:

Jesus in the Desert:

Jesus in the Desert:

This story is not really about two separate figures, the devil and Jesus, at all. Rather, what is actually one single process of self-reflection and self-clarification, acquiring a clearer, deeper understanding of himself and his project, in the loneliness of the wilderness is merely NARRATIVELY played out as the interaction or rather dialogue between two figures. We should not take literally this substantiating or personifying, which is only due to the needs of the narrative genre.

What does the figure represent that Jesus encounters in the desert, the land of the spirit? Part II.
The second point to be noted is that according to this story, Christ did by no means sever himself from the figure he encountered at the beginning of his career. No cutting-off. Jesus’s behavior is an absolutely exemplary mode of how to deal with this figure. He allows him to surface, he lets him state his case and show what he has to offer, he calmly and open-mindedly listens to him and even lets himself be guided by him to that high mountain. He lets him become fully conscious and faces him directly. And rather that splitting him off, suppressing him, fighting him, he merely ANSWERS him, openly contradicts him, says “no” to him. The encounter happens as a true dialogue, on the level of SPEAKING. Both put their cards on the table and so KNOW now where they stand with respect to each other.
Jesus’s knowledge gained about „his shadow“ (at least the one that appeared here) is neither repressed nor gets lost for Jesus in the times to come. Because inasmuch as his own goal is the determinate negation of what the devil offered him and is the result of Jesus’s pushing off from it, he always carries with him what he pushed off from, the same way, the alchemist who aims for “HIS”gold always stays aware of the gold in the ordinary literal sense. One might even surmise that the devil’s spelling out his offers was indispensable for Jesus to clearly become aware of and define the totally other dimension of logical negativity (“spirit”) that was to be his own specialty. Without getting the literal option clearly spelled out, he could not have clearly pushed off to the figurative sense of kingdom that was his own goal. A negation presupposes the position. So the devil, rather than being his shadow in the usual sense of the word, was, as a literal devil’s advocate, his maieutic psychopomp.
This story is not really about two separate figures, the devil and Jesus, at all. Rather, what is actually one single process of self-reflection and self-clarification, acquiring a clearer, deeper understanding of himself and his project, in the loneliness of the wilderness is merely NARRATIVELY played out as the interaction or rather dialogue between two figures. We should not take literally this substantiating or personifying, which is only due to the needs of the narrative genre.
A negation presupposes the position. However, in the sphere of the soul’s logic the “position” is not an ontic fact, entity, or situation, nothing naturally existing and a presupposition not a literal PRE-existing starting-point. Instead, the negation POSITS WITHIN ITSELF the presupposition from which it “then” pushes off. This underlines our insight that the devil in this story must not be seen as an externally existing being, nor as a projection or split-off and denied part of the whole personality. He is precisely internal to the whole operation, namely as the soul’s or mind’s instrument for taking a radical step forward to a new status of itself.

 

 

 

inen Tod hinaus. – Übers.

Aldar-Kösse und sein Wundermantel

Aldar-Kösse und sein Wundermantel

Wie Aldar-Kösse, der kasachische Trickster, seinen Wundermantel für den Fuchspelzmantel und das Pferd eines ihm auf einer Winterreise unerwartet begegnenden Fürsten, umtauschte.

Draußen war es bitterkalt. Aldar-Kösse war in der Steppe unterwegs. Er trug nur einen durchlöcherten Pelz und fror jämmerlich. Seine Nase hatte sich blau gefärbt. Kalte Schauer liefen ihm über den Rücken. Er träumte von seiner warmen Jurte. Aber der Weg, der ihm bevorstand, war noch weit und sein altes Pferd so mager und müde, dass es nur langsam vorankam.

  Mit einem Mal sah er einen Reiter nahen. Sein Pferd trabte zügig dahin. Aldar-Kösse vermutete, dass es sich um einen reichen Fürsten handelte. Sofort schlug er seinen löchrigen Mantel zurück und begann ein lustiges Lied zu singen.  Die Reiter begrüßten einander. Der Fürst hatte einen dicken neuen Fuchspelz an. Weil er aber Stein und Bein fror, fröstelte ihn selbst in dem warmen Mantel. Aldar-Kösse aber tat, als wäre ihm heiß. „Frierst du nicht?“ fragte verwundert der Fürst. Der listige Aldar-Kösse verneinte. „Ich habe einen wunderbaren Pelz, der mich vor jedem Frost schützt.“ – „Er hat doch aber Loch an Loch“, entgegnete der Fürst. „Wie kann er dich da warmhalten?“ – „Das ist gerade das Geheimnis“, sagte Aldar-Kösse. „Durch das eine Loch kommt die Kälte herein, durch das andere fliegt sie wieder hinaus, und so bin ich vor ihr sicher.“ – „Diesen Mantel muss ich haben“, nahm sich der Fürst vor. Aldar-Kösse aber dachte: „In dem Fuchspelz wäre mir bestimmt nicht mehr kalt.“
„Verkauf mir deinen Mantel“, sagte der Fürst. – „Das geht nicht“, erwiderte Aldar-Kösse. „Dann würde ich ja frieren wie du.“ – Du bekommst dafür meinen Fuchspelz“, sprach der Fürst. „Er hält schön warm.“ – Nein, nein!“ rief Aldar-Kösse. „Mein Pelz war sehr teuer.“ – Ich gebe dir außerdem noch Geld“, sagte der andere. – „Geld brauche ich nicht“, erklärte Aldar-Kösse mit gleichgültiger Miene. „Schlag noch dein Pferd dazu, dann dürfte der Tausch gerecht sein.“ Der Fürst war es zufrieden. Er überließ Aldar-Kösse Pelz und Pferd und zog den durchlöcherten Mantel an. Aldar-Kösse hüllte sich in das warme Fuchsfell, stieg in den Sattel und trabte munter von dannen.
 
Zu Hause angekommen, erzählte er seinen Nachbarn von dem Tauschgeschäft. Noch lange lachten sie über die Dummheit des Fürsten.
— Die Originalfassung leicht bearbeitet von Roland Lukner.