Letter from Edmund Husserl written 19.11.1927

Freiburg, 19.XI.1927

Dear Friend,

            Today, I am replying to your letter immediately. It brightened my day and touched me very much. I too am grateful to the (finally) kind fate which made it possible for me to spend a few nice weeks with you after so many years. I was very happy with the way you have developed, especially for my sake and my lonely philosophizing. After all, it is difficult for me to find any students who have such an understanding of the great horizons of my many years of work, as you do. All our discussions were inspiring and quite pleasing. In addition, they gave me renewed strength. Although I was always absolutely sure of the necessity of the paths I had taken and of the problems I had taken on, it often felt like a burden that most of the members of the phenomenology circle did not recognize this need and everyone wanted to go their own new way. My whole life was focused on the facilitation of a phil[osophia] perennis and for that reason on the universal unity concerning a need for structure in which the system of all genuine problems or problem dimensions for all real research work – as work in progress – had to be mapped out. At my advanced age, I think I may have achieved this general problem geography, and now I feel that I am quite alone with it. You must return soon, preferably for the Christmas holidays. Your letter included interesting reports. Heidegger has become a close friend of mine and I am one of his admirers. Hence, I regret that his work (and probably also his lectures) methodically and objectively appear to be essentially different from my work and lectures and, at least until now, have not created a bridge for the mutual students between the one and the other. For the future of philosophy, a lot depends on whether he will be able to grasp any of my universal intuitions. Unfortunately, I was not involved in his education as a philosopher, and apparently, he had already developed his distinctive views when he was studying my writings. Well, he has potential, is absolutely honest and not ambitious, and he is purely focused on materiality. Every great one-sidedness, that of true independent thinkers, breaks new ground. Let’s hope so.

            I am saddened by the negative ending of your letter. So, the hopeful prospect of your dear wife’s employment has not been confirmed! And on top of that, there is the illness of your child. Please let me know how he is doing. If not for your worries about your wife and child, you must not terminate your teaching secondment abroad for the sake of stupid money! You absolutely need the new ideas and stimulation, and your vigor, on which I set my well-founded hopes, must not be weakened. A friend from Freiburg will gladly give you 300-400 marks, interest-free, repayment in heaven or in the next geological period.

            With cordial greetings and best wishes,

your old friend and teacher,

E. Husserl



My wife, who is such a good friend of yours, sends her warm regards, too. It would be nice if you celebrated Christmas Eve with us. You have to meet my old dear friend Mahnke, who must have started giving his lectures by now. Please send him my regards and tell him that you have come to see him at my request. He is a magnificent person; I’ll write to him soon.