Letter from Anna Teresa Tymieniecka written 03.02.1949

Freiburg, 2/3/1949

Dear Professor,

First of all, I would like to know if Professor has proper medicine for your son’s treatment. If you still do not know how to treat him, please send me a description of the illness, so that I can present it to local specialists – maybe they can come up with something wise. I can send medicines immediately. It would be my greatest pleasure if you were willing to use my services!

I don’t even have the courage to apologize for not thanking you for the book and such a nice letter. The book is wonderful and will be useful for reporting Professor’s position in my work (which I will probably never write – in 6 months I wrote 8 pages that Father Bocheński lost before ever reading them).

And I immediately responded to the letter – XXX XXX XXX – but I could not bring myself to send either this or any of the other 4 letters I wrote, because they seemed inappropriate to me.

After my Mother’s death, Professor has become the closest person in the world to me and the most distant one at the same time. And more and more distant, because Professor’s relationship with me is, and can only be philosophy, and I deal with it less and less. So how difficult it is for me to write to you! Because I do not know what I can write about. Even when Professor authorizes me to write about everything, I feel that I have no right to take up your time and thoughts for matters that have no objective significance when this time and thoughts could work for the sake of humanity. And I am ashamed of my thoughts, they are so flat, shallow, stupid and aimless. I feel more and more lonely, I don’t have real friends, I don’t have anyone to talk about deeper matters with. I don’t understand others. I have nothing to live for and I don’t want to live.

Everything is completely pointless and I don’t want anything and I don’t see the possibility that anything could change in me. Also, despite the fact that I feel better with every [m]onth, my energy is entirely gone. I am afraid of the slightest mental and physical effort. I am afraid to think, because in the past whenever I was thinking my head would constantly hurt. Now it never hurts yet I am afraid to think. And besides, I live among girls from 17 to 22 years old, I’m 26 and I’m afraid to “ugly up” because I would look more serious than them, who only think about parties, who likes them, etc.; if I am too “intellectual” – nobody will like me. It is true that it is disgusting, and yet the most important thing externally for me is youth and beauty, for which I despise myself, because it makes me miserable without filling my life. I am actually not living, just vegetating like a plant.

I have no respect for anyone to have intellectual confidence in them or to feel anyone is close to me.

I also lost all (religious) faith and self-esteem. I even stopped being in love and broke up with my quasi-husband once and for all. (I haven’t been in love with him for a while anyway).

Oh, I have understood one thing – I do know what love is. But I don’t love anyone and life is so gray, so empty.

Professor wrote to me about intellectual conscience; I think it is difficult for me to keep it, because if something is not a “matter of life and death” for me, I cannot do it. But I think philosophy is so important to me, only that something has shifted within me; I stopped feeling it and that is why me neglecting it is all the worse.

However, art history and literary theory could be fascinating to me at the moment if I had time for them.

But I don’t have time for them, because I don’t do anything at all.

Certainly, the Freiburg atmosphere has a big impact on my inner state. My family wants to take me to London starting from summer holidays, but I feel paralyzed by the fear of change: life in Switzerland is so comfortable, carefree. And in the end I will stay here.

I have to finish, because I cry all the time while writing, and that is bad for complexion. I don’t know how to thank Professor for your letter and for the Controversy over the Existence of the World – if you only knew how happy I was!! If Professor understands me even just a bit, you won’t be offended that I am thanking you this late. Anyway, I don’t even deserve to be offended at.

Please accept my admiration and best regards

Teresa Tymieniecka

P.S. My best curtsies to Madam.