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R. M. Rilke: Letter to a young poet
From: R. M. Rilke, Letters to a young poet, tr. by Stephen Mitchell
If you trust in Nature, in the small Things that hardly anyone sees and that can so suddenly become huge, immeasurable; if you have this love for what is humble and try very simply, as someone who serves, to win the confidence of what seems poor: then everything will become easier for you, more coherent and somehow more reconciling, not in your conscious mind perhaps, which stays behind, astonished, but in your innermost awareness, awakeness, and knowledge. (...) Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer. Perhaps you do carry within you the possibility of creating and forming, as an especially blessed and pure way of living; train yourself for that - but take whatever comes, with great trust, and as long as it comes out of your will, out of some need of your innermost self, then take it upon yourself, and don't hate anything. Sex is difficult; yes. But those tasks that have been entrusted to us are difficult; almost everything serious is difficult; and everything is serious. If you just recognize this and manage, out of yourself, out of your own talent and nature, out of your own experience and childhood and strength, to achieve a wholly individual relation to sex (one that is not influenced by convention and custom), then you will no longer have to be afraid of losing yourself and becoming unworthy of your dearest possession.
Rilke wrote his first letter to a young poet (the original title is "Briefe an einen jungen Dichter") in the February of 1903 and the last one in the December of 1908. He had already written the "Book of Images". Read more... Cf. Plato, Books can be your worst enemies * Jaspers, Truth is in communication * Kierkegaard, My work as an author * Emerson, Reading and writing as self-knowledge * Francis Bacon, Reading & writing as moral activities * Tom Schulman, Dead Poets Society * Gibson - MacRury, The man without a face * J. M. Lefévre, The White Thinking * Dostoevsky, The dream of ridiculous man