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By Walther Rathenau

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Being the older sister, and having both an inordinate pride and an inordinate wish not to offend anybody or to get in anybody’s way, I have gotten into the habit of keeping my own counsel. If I seldom give advice, knowing how unwelcome it generally is, as well as how useless, I still more seldom ask for it. This does not mean, though, that I have not many times been bewildered, miserable, and desperately alone, or that I have not done any number of things I was ashamed of. I am not so ashamed of them as I used to be—in fact I have pretty well forgiven myself once I began to understand why I did them, and however painful and costly my various mistakes may have been—there were all kinds of them—none of them was ever fatal or, indeed, useless; I learned something every time, and so far as I can make out I never made quite the same mistake twice.

Of course, just when I think I understand religion, I meet up with a real believer who says I am talking nonsense. This happened again just yesterday, when after a couple of martinis Joe Goodman and I and a girl friend of his got into a terrible argument, in which I maintained that religious feeling was everything, the girl that dogma was everything, and Joe took the more complicated position of the skeptical believer. None of us convinced the others of anything. Of course I have a different idea about every week.

Love, Amy • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 13 January 1953 Dear Barbara [Blay]– [ . . ] As for the book, it has been finished and revised and looked at rather kindly—so far as I can make out—by several publishers, but none of them has gone so far as to offer a contract. A literary agent is taking care of it for me, so I hear only the nicer comments, of course! I have my doubts about its ever getting published but don’t care too much. The main thing was to have written it, and I’m hoping to get myself organized sufficiently one of these days to write another one.

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Aufsätze by Walther Rathenau


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