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“The more [a thing] is separated for analysis alone the more docile it becomes until it is killed—withdrawn from reality and consequently from symbolism. And it is withdrawn from the mystery of reality; it is withdrawn from the world of beauty also.”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.”