Letter from Józef Tischner written 05.12.1968

 Louvain, 5/12/1968.

Honoured Professor!

On the day I received the card I went to check. Well, the typed manuscripts are there. I saw them myself, read the title – this concerns the lectures (10) that you had in Oslo. Professor van Breda sent a letter concerning this matter on 18/11, thus most likely the letters crossed in the post.
    n        The addresses of the people to whom copies of ‘Letters’ should be sent haven’t been sent yet, but Prof. van Breda promised to do so soon. It seems he has personnel-related difficulties at the Institute, because Iso Kern is on holiday, the secretary has the flu, and the remaining assistants have also got lost somewhere. I’m completely helpless; he showed me a stack of holiday wishes which the Institute should send to friendly personages. It seems the concept of academic work is sometimes very broad!
    n       I was very glad to get your card, because somehow I keep recalling our seminar and non-seminar philosophical discussions, and I’m struck by the difference between what I see here and what I took part in in Cracow: here they teach philosophy, whereas we had the ambition to create it. Moreover, they generally have little knowledge of German philosophy here – basically they work on French and a few English texts. Accordingly, at the end of my stay, I still want to go back to Vienna to read the Neo-Kantists a bit. Meanwhile, I’m sitting in the Archives on a daily basis. I’m methodically reviewing texts concerning the ‘I’ and the theory of internal cognition, but so far I haven’t found anything that’d fundamentally change my picture of the conception outlined elsewhere. There are, however, splendid ‘clarifications’ of these matters. Recently, I’ve been a bit fascinated by P. Ricoeur, and in fact I’m going to Paris the day after tomorrow to get an idea of what he’s doing and whether it wouldn’t be possible to sit in on his seminar. If it’s possible, I’ll try to somehow divide my time between one and the other.
    n       Of course, I’m keeping my ears cocked for reactions to the German edition of Spór [o istnienie świata; Controversy over the Existence of the World, by Ingarden]. But in Louvain I don’t think that’ll happen soon. They’ll start reading it only after someone else, somewhere else, has called their attention to it, because here, what they do is teach philosophy, and for this reason they’re always behind by a few years. To tell the truth, they haven’t completely discovered Scheler here yet. In Vienna, on the other hand, I met several people who were profoundly fascinated by Spór, which in any case had just fallen into their hands. I have an appointment with them, so I’ll listen closely.
    n       Are you coming here, perhaps in February, as was planned? If so, please write a card: when and where. I’ll try to wait at the station, and, well, to help if needed. I’m staying in the ‘house of St John’ – i.e. in a house run by Prof. Morren from Brussels, intended for foreign students. Latin America prevails – dynamic and very interesting people. Not many philosophers. The house is located in a park, thus it’s quiet and there’s a good working atmosphere. It’s a long way to Louvain, but I obtained … a bicycle. This is a very good contrivance, if it doesn’t break down. At the moment it’s broken, and I cause general astonishment by walking.
    n       I enclose cordial greetings for your wife and for all your friends and, well, mine too. To tell the truth, I’m now missing Poland a bit, but I think I’m ashamed to admit it. In any case, to Ms Docent G.[ierulanka], because she’d suspect right away that it’s not a matter of the country. But let that be; for her, too, please pass on ‘expressions of transcendental cordiality’.

    n           n       Celestijnenlaan 101
    n           n             (Maison St Jean)

    n           n           n       I enclose many cordial greetings and remain sincere and deeply devoted
    n           n           n           n           n           n           n           n           n       Fr Józef