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Our many Jewish friends and acquaintances are being taken away in droves. The Gestapo is treating them very roughly and transporting them in cattle cars to Westerbork, the big camp in Drenthe to which they’re sending all the Jews….If it’s that bad in Holland, what must it be like in those faraway and uncivilized places where the Germans are sending them? We assume that most of them are being murdered. The English radio says they’re being gassed.
Walking companions, like heroes, are difficult to pluck out of the crowd of acquaintances. Good dispositions, ready wit, friendly conversation serve well enough by the fireside but they prove insufficient in the field. For there you need transcendentalists-nothing less; you need poets, sages, humorists and natural philosophers.
You have to get rid of borders, limits, and classifications; then light comes. We see everything on the screen of our ideas. We must get rid of that screen to be able to see what is behind. X’s ideas are limited, that is why he remains on the surface. Y got rid of the limits, so she always goes to the depths. We should always meet people and new subjects with no set frame of mind. We have to live like that even after long acquaintance. We must get rid of every set idea to approach everything and everyone with love.
For money you can have everything it is said. No, that is not true. You can buy food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; soft beds, but not sleep; knowledge but not intelligence; glitter, but not comfort; fun, but not pleasure; acquaintances, but not friendship; servants, but not faithfulness; grey hair, but not honor; quiet days, but not peace. The shell of all things you can get for money. But not the kernel. That cannot be had for money.
He had two lives: one, open, seen and known by all who cared to know, full of relative truth and of relative falsehood, exactly like the lives of his friends and acquaintances; and another life running its course in secret. And through some strange, perhaps accidental, conjunction of circumstances, everything that was essential, of interest and of value to him, everything in which he was sincere and did not deceive himself, everything that made the kernel of his life, was hidden from other people.
At least, not in this country,’ she added after a moment’s thought. ‘In China it’s a little different. Once I saw a Chinaman in Shanghai. His ears were so big he could use them for a raincoat. When it rained, he just crept in under his ears and was warm and snug as could be. Not that the ears had such a rattling good time of it, you understand. If it was specially bad weather, he’d invite friends and acquaintances to pitch camp under his ears too. There they sat, singing their sorrowful songs while it poured down outside.