ASIA+261+WN+2012+Marx+to+Ruge - Marx to Ruge (Excerpts)...

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Kreuznach, September 1843 …[E]veryone will have to admit to himself that he has no exact idea what the future ought to be. On the other hand, … we do not dogmatically anticipate the world, but only want to find the new world through criticism of the old one. Hitherto philosophers have had the solution of all riddles lying in their writing-desks, and the stupid…world had only to open its mouth for the roast pigeons of absolute knowledge to fly into it. … … [C]onstructing the future and settling everything for all times are not our affair, it is all the more clear what we have to accomplish at present: I am referring to ruthless criticism of all that exists , ruthless both in the sense of not being afraid of the results it arrives at and in the sense of being just as little afraid of conflict with the powers that be. … [W]e have to …to make religion, science, etc., the object of our criticism. … I am not in favour of raising any dogmatic banner. …[W]e do not confront the world in a doctrinaire way with a new principle: “Here is the truth, kneel down before it!” We do not say to the world: “Cease your struggles, they are foolish; we will give you the true slogan of struggle.” We merely show the world what it is really fighting for, and consciousness is something that it has to acquire, even if it does not want to . …The reform of consciousness consists only in making the world aware of its own [false] consciousness, in awakening it out of its dream about itself, in explaining to it the meaning of its own actions. …Hence, our motto must be: reform of consciousness not through dogmas, but by analysing the mystical consciousness that is unintelligible to itself, whether it manifests itself in a religious or a political form. It will then become evident that the world has long dreamed of possessing something of which it has only to be conscious in order to possess it in reality. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Personal Letter from Franz Kafka to his friend Oskar Pollak (1904) From The Nightmare of Reason: A Life of Franz Kafka by Ernst Pawel” …I think we ought to read only books that bite and sting us. If the book we are reading doesn’t shake us awake like a blow on the skull, why bother reading it in the first place? So that it can make us happy, as you put it? Good God, we’d be just as happy if we had no books at all; books that make us happy we could, at a pinch, also write ourselves. What we need are books that hit us like a most painful misfortune, like the death of someone we loved more than we love ourselves, that make us feel as though we had been banished to the woods, far from any human presence, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is what I believe.’
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This note was uploaded on 02/06/2012 for the course ASIAN 261 taught by Professor Kaldis during the Winter '11 term at University of Michigan.

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ASIA+261+WN+2012+Marx+to+Ruge - Marx to Ruge (Excerpts)...

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