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Andre Malraux, Tragic Humanism

Lecture to the Sorbonne, November 4, 1946


   The first European value is the will for awareness. The second is the will for discovery. The western strength is to accept the unknown. Humanism is possible, but we must be told, and clearly, that it is a tragic humanism. We face a world of the unknown, and we confront it with awareness. And we are alone in wanting this.

    Let us not be mistaken here - the will for awareness and discovery, as a fundamental value, belongs to Europe and to Europe alone. You have seen it at work on a day to day level in the field of science. At the present time the forms of the mind define it by their point of departure and the nature of their research.

    Columbus knew where he was leaving from better than where he was going to, and we can only found a human attitude on tragedy because Man does not know where he is going, and on humanism because it knows its point of departure and what it wants.

Cf.  Eliot: European Culture is One & Multicultural ! * Hegel: Stages of Freedom * Jaspers: The Spirit of Europe * Malraux: Tragic Humanism * Hugo: La Loi du Monde n'est pas et ne peut pas Ítre Distincte de la Loi de Dieu  

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