“Oh for a Child and a God! Oh God! Oh relieve us, rest us from men in a world of men.” (1932)
The final part of Carl Schmitt’s essay “Room (with Bath) at the Inn” (1941):
“We will wait until we ‘acquire sufficient means’ to send a Packard to our underprivileged God in a dirty stable and quickly carry Him to the best hotel. The finest suite for the Holy Child is none too good.
“We in the hotel have progressed beyond the family. In some way we cannot fit the Child into the modern hotel in our imagination. Neither can we fit ourselves into the environment of the stable. His parents should have waited until they had acquired sufficient means to bring him up properly. We feel that Mary and Joseph have insulted heaven by not providing properly for the ‘environment of the expected little-one.’
“Sooner or later we are going to be slightly bored by an Infant Savior who chooses to redeem us from a manger. And sooner or later, I suppose, the Child will see less and less of us. I almost feel that it will be his loss and not ours.”
Five essays by Carl Schmitt have just been added to the library of his writings at carlschmitt.org. They reveal the range of his thought, from philosophical jeremiad and aesthetic reflection to probing analyses of the current state of society, and always repay thoughtful reading and re-reading.
We will be exploring each of these essays in turn in the coming months, but in the meantime, here is a taste of each of them:
On Separation and Death (1925)
“The more [a thing] is separated for analysis alone the more docile it becomes until it is killed—withdrawn from reality and consequently from symbolism. And it is withdrawn from the mystery of reality; it is withdrawn from the world of beauty also.”
Hope for the Future of Art (1935)
“There remains for the future, one stream only tentatively appearing, and that but recently as a real movement. I mean an art whose tone is intellectual. This does not mean, of course, a break with the emotional and classical tradition, because an artist weak in emotion and social compromise can hardly support wisdom. . . . However, the question remains, is not the idea of wisdom in the arts bound to be a rare thing?”
Schmitt had explored some of the same themes in his earlier essay, Of the Reappearance of the Gothic in the Twentieth Century (1922).
Room (with Bath) at the Inn (1941)
” . . . But when we have ‘acquired sufficient means’ to do all these quite praiseworthy things for our God we feel vaguely that perhaps the little Child would be happier after all in the stable with the cattle and his mother. We in the hotel have progressed beyond the family. Some way we cannot fit the Child into the modern hotel in our imagination. Neither can we fit ourselves into the environment of the stable.”
“Man cannot be neutral for long. He must be ultimately the slave of God or the slave of the Devil. We have finally reached the crisis of slavery once more.”
“The conscience of most people is collective. How else could we have achieved war on such a grand scale? I am sure the only hope for sanity—for a return to goodness and beauty—lies in the rapid advance of the personal idea.”
Order your copy of Carl Schmitt: The Vision of Beauty now in time for Christmas. The CSF is offering this stunning coffee-table book celebrating the art, thought, and life of an outstanding American artist at 25% off the regular price. Shipping and handling are free for this special offer, but it ends on December 31, 2013. Each book that you purchase benefits the Carl Schmitt Foundation.
More from Carl Schmitt’s essay “Room (with Bath) at the Inn” (1941):
“One might call our present mess ‘the Revolt against Nature’: the insult to everything human. When a human revolts against his humanity, the person against personality, he of course revolts against God. The point is, however, that the revolt is dishonest. We can be saved even if we spit in the face of the Deity. We do nothing as honest or positive as that. We prefer the sterile and hopeless course of waiting until we have money enough to worship God properly before worshiping him at all.”