Saturday, November 12, 2011

MM Part 6: Someone else

Date 21 of July 1908. Time flows faster and faster…
Hans is filling his days with study. He is not gathering wisdom from books this time but empirically as an amateur biologist, astrologist.

HC even attempts a philosophical discussion with his nephew without Settembrini even being in the neighbourhood. “Those are awfully grand notions you are playing with…” remarks Joachim. Our disciplined soldier is not afraid of big ideas either “War is necessary. Without war the world would soon go to rot” ( Moltke = German General ). War as a regenerative force !

Strange that war is mentioned…and Jews…

Ready to meet the next pedagogue?

Naphta : Settembrini avoids to introduce him to the cousins ( they are his pupils and S does not want competition )

Small, skinny, ugly, hunchbacked, pale, caustic, logical…but very well dressed… he has a cold and coughs. Not the kind of guy you want to hug

I wonder if his ugly look and the fact that he has money is intended as a naughty German caricature of a Jew? 

Quotes Pietro Aretino, the man who laughed himself to death

Settembrini has found his match in Leo Naphta and soon enough the cousins are witnessing a lively discussion of these two “extremes”, the humanist against the Jesuitical Jewish Communist.

I will not analyse the discussions, as they lead to more confusion, but this can be said about Naphta. The guy is a combination of everything the German Bourgeois was afraid of: He is a Jew, a communist but above all he is a Jesuit. ( Jesuits are or were forbidden in Austria ). He reminds me in any case of the inquisitor character in the brothers Karamazov.

There are contradictory elements in his figure. He is communist with money. Money on the other hand is associated with the Jews but even more with the Jesuits. He combines Jewish intellectual radicalism and a Slavic revelry for Christ. He is progressive and reactionary, ascetic and epicurean. 

He is very Jesuit. Discipline, hard work and hierarchy for him are everything. Jesuits are after all the “soldiers of God”. As a boy N has been educated by the Jesuits. Jesuits are notoriously apt to select intelligent people to join their forces, nationality and parentage are less important to them. Jesuits are no racists. They do indeed resemble a communist and military force as they force the individual into the shape of the group. Totalitarian is what they are.

Interesting is how our cousins experience the “great confusion” of the discussion between Naphta and Settembrini.

Joachim about Naphta 

“ I like some things he said…” Joachim probably likes that military element of the Jesuits.
“ That nose is Jewish too…” Typical anti-Semitic reaction.
“Do you intend to visit him..” Not the kind of people they normally meet.

Hans about Naphta:

“ There is something occult about him…” Hans who wants to play the little priest himself appreciates this. 

Both cousins are confused. “… the more they talked the more confused I got”

Joachim the soldier: “ The best thing is to have no opinions at all and just do your duty” How funny ! Poor Joachim !

Hans says Joachim is a mercenary: They don’t care which side they are fighting for.

Learning and getting healthy can go together says Hans. Smarter and healthier.
“ Dividing the world in two is a great mistake”. 


Ordinary blue eyes? To remember us that HC is ordinary?
Princeps ( first, major ) scholasticorum ( teacher, schoolman )