Night of 25th-26th January 1942
Beauty and the ancient Greeks
—Human genius and politics.
If we consider the ancient Greeks (who were Germanics), we find in them a beauty much superior to the beauty such as is widespread to-day—and I mean also beauty in the realm of thought as much as in the realm of forms. To realise this, it’s enough to compare a head of Zeus or of Pallas Athene with that of a crusader or a saint!
The period stretching between the middle of the third and the middle of the seventeenth century is certainly the worst humanity has ever known: blood-lust, ignominy, lies.
I don’t consider that what has been should necessarily exist for the simple reason that it has been. Providence has endowed man with intelligence precisely to enable him to act with discernment. My discernment tells me that an end must be put to the reign of lies. It likewise tells me that the moment is not opportune.
When the war’s over, and I have the sense of having accomplished my duties, I shall retire. Then I would like to devote five or ten years to clarifying my thought and setting it down on paper. Wars pass by. The only things that exist are the works of human genius.
This is the explanation of my love of art. Music and architecture—is it not in these disciplines that we find recorded the path of humanity’s ascent?
If somebody else had one day been found to accomplish the work to which I’ve devoted myself, I would never have entered on the path of politics. I’d have chosen the arts or philosophy. The care I feel for the existence of the German people compelled me to this activity. It’s only when the conditions for living are assured that culture can blossom.