There are moments
when from above the horizon of the mind a new constellation
dazzles the eyes of all those who cannot find inner peace,
an annunciation and storm-siren betokening a turning-point
in world history, just as it once did for the kings from the
East. From this point on the surrounding stars are engulfed
in a fiery blaze, idols shatter into shards of clay, and
everything that has taken shape hitherto is melted down in a
thousand furnaces to be cast into new values.
The waves of such an age are surging around us from all
sides. Brain, society, state, god, art, eros, morality:
decay, ferment--resurrection? Still the images flit
restlessly past our eyes, still the atoms seethe in the
cauldrons of the city. And yet this tempest too will ebb,
and even this lava stream will freeze into order. Every
madness has always disintegrated against a grey wall, unless
someone is found who harnesses it to his wagon with a fist
Why is it that our age in particular is so overflowing
with destructive and productive energies? Why is this age in
particular so pregnant with such enormous promise? For while
much may perish in the feverish heat, the same flame is
simultaneously brewing future wonders in a thousand retorts.
A walk in the street, a glance in the newspaper is enough to
conform this, confounding all the prophets.
It is War which has made human beings and their age what
they are. Never before has a race of men like ours stridden
into the arena of the earth to decide who is to wield power
over the epoch. For never before has a generation entered
the daylight of life from a gateway so dark and awesome as
when they emerged from this War. And this we cannot deny, no
matter how much some would like to: War, father of all
things, is also ours; he has hammered us, chiselled and
tempered us into what we are. . . .
As sons of an age intoxicated by matter, progress seemed
to us perfection, the machine the key to godliness,
telescopes and microscopes organs of enlightenment. Yet
underneath the ever more polished exterior, beneath all the
clothes in which we bedecked ourselves, we remained naked
and raw like men of the forest and the steppes.
That showed itself when the War ripped asunder the
community of Europe, when we confronted each other in a
primordial contest behind flags and symbols which many
sceptics had long mocked. Then it was that, in an orgy of
frenzy, the true human being made up for everything he had
missed. At this point his drives, too long pent up by
society and its laws, became once more the ultimate form of
reality, holiness, and reason. . . .
What actually went on? The carriers of War and its
creatures, human beings, whose lives had to lead toward War
and through Him, were flung into new paths, new goals. This
is what we were to Him, but what was He to us? That is a
question which many now seek to ask.