THE QUESTION

Spirit And Form

The question
Outside and inside
Home and work
The form of joy
The form of suffering
The art of living





 

Dedicated to the new man!

THE QUESTION

You want to attain the spiritual and have found the path to the spirit after wandering for ages!
Now you ask:
“What further use to me is all form, since I know the way to the content? – ”
Form seems unimportant and valueless to you; – not only you believe that innermost being reveals itself formlessly to you: – you already see only an obstacle in any form!
It seems worthy of your disdain to continue valuing the form; – all those who strive for perfection of the form seem to merit your contempt!
You think you are now able to dispense with all form!
Even without form you want still to be esteemed as one striving for the highest values!
All those who take offence because you disdain form appear to you to be complete fools!
You feel sublimely above the folly of others, and with a smile you ask: “What use to me now are these external ties on my path to the spirit? – What use is form to me!? – – ”

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Book 25 inhoud

 

 

 

Behold, my friend: – I have no doubt that you have found the path to the spirit!
But I doubt that you will receive the good guidance you certainly need, if you persist in mocking
form! …

You believe your candour must be recognised, the passion of your striving respected, and the pure volition of your will must speak on your behalf…
In this belief you have certainly not been led astray. Yet you will have to learn to recognise that you must not despise form; indeed, all your actions will only take on ultimate value through the form that corresponds to them!
You would not offer fine wine in cheap earthenware vessels, for this would signify contempt for the quality of the wine you are serving. Likewise, reverence for the spirit requires that only the most perfect form should satisfy you, if you want to become a ‘temple of the spirit’ yourself! – –
All expression of your own being in the external world should always bear witness to this reverence!
As soon as you set off on the path to the spirit, you are no longer free to behave as you like, following your momentary whims! – –
You have the duty now to recreate yourself and to become the expression of the spirit!
You should perfect yourself in the highest expression of form. Everything others can see of your actions should bear visible witness to your form’s perfection! …
You will not show your sublime nature by despising form! –
Only a fool can believe that he stands ‘sublimely’ over all expression of form! – –
The truly sublime will always master form! –
This mastery expresses itself even in the most ordinary daily actions…
The cynic covered in rags to prove his asceticism is truly a miserable popinjay if the strength of his arms still allows him, by means of some work or other, to earn enough to buy decent clothes!
Those, on the other hand, who would transform themselves into temples of the spirit, will make every effort for their external appearance to give an outward sign of their self-respect…
If their wealth allows, they will be seen at all times in the best and most elegant clothes of their land; if they are poor, they will nevertheless muster everything they can, so that the modest attire their poverty permits will still meet with universal respect…
Certainly, many go through the world displaying, in the cut of their fashionably tailored clothes,
everything they dream of in their earthly existence; – yet the dignified attire of inner refinement can always be distinguished from mere drapes enveloping an idle nothingness. –
The way a man dresses shows the respect he has for himself and the spirit whose temple he would become. In the same way, you will be able to recognise in all his actions the esteem in which he holds that what lives within him. – –
‘Good manners’ were also important to many who learned to conceal themselves behind them, which only goes to show that originally you could only find them in the midst of those who really were what they seemed! –
As they are created by men of inner value, they are not even devalued where they remain a mask, just as gold cannot lose its value when worn as embellishment by a wanton woman…
Many are those arrogant despisers of these ‘good manners’ who do not notice that therein has become form that which they themselves with grand posturing pursue as ethical demand! – – –
They do not see that even where these manners have become an empty form because of their lack of spiritual penetration, far better things are brought about by these manners than by their own obstinacy, which regards every beautiful form as an ‘existential lie’. – – –
Truly, often the ‘children of this world’ are not only ‘cleverer’ but also better than those who regard themselves as privileged to become the ‘children of light’!!
Behold, I counsel you not to despise form, – either in things great or small!
Of course, you should not strive to acquire ‘empty’ forms. Yet you should learn to give form to your whole life; nothing should be too insignificant for you to direct all your efforts into revealing it in its most beautiful and perfect form! – – –

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