Crises There Will Always Be
The example of Nicolai Hartmann
So buck up and fight on. Philosophy is a great consolation. We lesser lights ought to look up to the luminaries, and their example. Boethius wrote in prison, Nicolai Hartmann in Berlin in 1945 in the midst of the Allied assault.
In February 1945, the university building in which Hartmann used to lecture was destroyed in an aerial bombing and all his classes were suspended. He was then living in Berlin, which had been transformed into a real-life inferno. Without teaching obligations, Hartmann decided to write his aesthetics book, completing the first draft in the period from March to September 1945. Perhaps the most fascinating book in his entire opus [corpus], there is no despair in it over war and violence, maimed bodies, and destroyed buildings. As a boy he learned to measure the movement of the stars against the objects on earth, and now he measured the events of the day against the eternal beauty of Bach's music, the portraits of Rembrandt, the dramas of Shakespeare, and the novels of Dostoevsky. He delivers a remarkable message: wherever we are and whatever events pull us into their currents, we should not lose sight [of] and cease to strive toward the highest and most sublime. (Predrag Cicovacki, The Analysis of Wonder: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Nicolai Hartmann, Bloomsbury, 2014, p. 159.)