The Magic Mann


Morality? It interests you does it? All right – it seems to us that one ought not to search for morality in virtue, which is to say in reason, in discipline, in good behavior, in respectability – but in just the opposite, I would say: in sin, in abandoning oneself to danger, to whatever can harm us, destroy us. It seems to us that it is more moral to lose oneself and let oneself be ruined than to save oneself. The great moralists have never been especially virtuous, but rather adventurers in evil, in vice, great sinners who teach us as Christians how to stoop to misery. You must find that all very repugnant. ~ Thomas Mann, ‘The Magic Mountain’

The wicked dance in which you are caught up will last many a little sinful year yet, and we would not wager much that you will come out whole. To be honest, we are not really bothered about leaving the question open. Adventures in the flesh and spirit, which enhanced and heightened your ordinariness, allowed you to survive in the spirit what you probably will not survive in the flesh. There were moments when, as you “played king,” you saw the intimation of a dream of love rising out of death and this carnal body. And out of this worldwide festival of death, this ugly rutting fever that inflames the rainy evening sky all around – will love someday rise up out of this, too? ~ Thomas Mann, ‘The Magic Mountain’

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