23 July 1939
Please be not too angry with me for not writing for such a long time. My father is on vacation in France, so I am alone in the house with Bob, and with housekeeping, cooking (or better what I can call cooking) much time passes, and I also have to work, not much time is left. Of course now and then I found a free hour, but for writing one needs, in addition to time, quietness, time to reflect, and the right mood. Today, on Sunday, back from prayer service in Haarlem, all these things are coming together. Now also finally the long awaited reply came from France, but I can only be half-heartily happy about it. The visa for me was approved, but disapproved for my mother. There are people who never have luck in life and my mother belongs to them. On the other hand not all is lost after all.
My father has a connection with the ministry in Paris, who can try to do something, but I have not much hope anymore, it is so awful. In addition to that I was called up [drafted] to the military, who knows what they will do to my mother if I don't go. What if, one day, I have to face the question---serve or let your mother be sent to a camp.
That you are interested in mystic does surprise me some. Hopefully you don’t become too deeply affected, because I see it as quite dangerous, it satisfies too easy, and then when one is removed from it, disappointments feel twice as difficult. The mystic life of humans, in my opinion, is tied too closely to the earthly ways to independently live from it, and most of the time, the subjects of mystic are of earthly origins, and one searches in mystic the things missing in earthly life. Which after all is earthly. It makes no sense, after having lost the key at the dark front door, to search close to the lantern, just because it is lighter there. Haeckel (Ernst Heinrich Haeckel) speaks with exaggeration of mystic. “They fled to mystic life and ended up getting out of the rain into the eaves.” [German saying, I guess like getting out of the frying pan into the fire.] Perhaps he was correct about that. I also believe in mystical powers, mystic life, and mystic destiny, but I thought you belong to the lucky ones that are saved from ideas like that.
Sadly enough I know very little of any literature about mystic. Of the German mystic writing, I know very little, they don't offer me a lot. Very good is the Chinese Laotse, mystical thoughts you find by Rilke (Rainer Maria Rilke), especially in Studenbuch and also by Morgenstern. But as I said, I don't know enough to give advice. One of the greatest mystic books, in my opinion, is the bible, even as Christians don't want that to be true. Do you know Gustav Meyrink’s the Green Face? That is a splendid mystic novel, which by the way, plays in Amsterdam. Should I send it to you? With all my best intentions I cannot find the excerpts of the lecture about India. I put it away for safekeeping, too well I am afraid. I looked all through the house, no luck.
But I will write what I remember about it. First he gave an introduction about Indian thinking and culture by comparing the ideas and developments of India to us, then he spoke of several single religions and mystical ideas, about the difference between a dream and reality. Man generally thinks to really experience it all, so how can he in reality know if it is not really just a dream? As of now, no human has been able to define the difference between dream and reality! Somebody (I don't remember who) said once: Life is only a dream, Reality is someplace else. These are typical of Indian thoughts. Then he spoke of the rather strange fact that the Indians, through religion and odd [strange] mystic beliefs arrived at the very similar results in Metaphysics as modern science. The Indians deny any matter, or better would speak of the spirit of the matter … [sorry, I cannot do the next few lines, it talks about Atoms about vibrations, etc]
For hundreds of years this would have been in extreme contradiction to science, for it. Then he also spoke about the [this is not clear]… Then he gave a short overview about modern scientific theories, which sadly showed a rather pitiful lack of knowledge. Fact is, that modern science is more and more coming to the belief, that an atom is nothing but an electronic vibration and power condition. But that has not been totally proven, at all, even very much speaks of it. Then he also spoke about the problem with the Yogis, but I cannot recall any of it. At the end, he placed the request to study more about the Indian problems, because in his opinion, the key to wisdom would be found easier, than in exact sciences. The whole report was done very well, spoken fluid and exciting, but sadly enough he also spoke much about things he did not know much about, and also his logic was not perfect. I will search again, perhaps I will find it after all.
What you write about Ullrich S. surprises me. He must have really changed greatly, but I do not believe him completely. Are you, out of pity, seeing too much? He always exaggerated much, and knew how to put himself in a good light. Naturally things will be hard for him, but he will easily exaggerate and let others pity him. I hope, he has improved so nicely, but I don't really believe it. Would you write to me about him again?
Last Sunday the Young Friends meeting was in Haag, and afterwards I went to see Herbert [not sure about this name] in Scheveningen. That guy has been so lucky. [in German it actually says, he has so much pig, which stands for luck. No idea where that came from. But if you recall, in Ella's letter, written on New Years, she wrote about good luck plants, like clover. Many times they were decorated with tiny pigs, chimney sweeps, horse shoes etc.] He lives, as you know, with a very rich old lady. The flat is only 5 minutes from the beach, the room has a view over large sand dunes, a real fairy tale view. The old lady is also very nice, she cares for him, as if he were her own son, and treats him like that also. She also pays for his training to become a Foto and Film operator.
Many thanks for the report, I will send it back as a business letter [circular]. Sorry, but I cannot send the pictures, until my father comes home, he has the negatives. Where are you now? [In German he says where are you hiding out now?] What about your residence permit?