Letter from Józef Tischner written 12.02.1969

Louvain 12/2/1969.


Honoured Professor!

Thank you very much for remembering me, and for the nice letter. For my part, I’ve been about to reply for several weeks now, always without results. I’ve been putting off my reply from day to day, because I thought I’d be able to write something more extensive and detailed about my academic contacts here; meanwhile, nothing’s changed in this respect. I was in Paris briefly; the Sorbonne was still closed, and I had to spend a few days dealing with and discussing other matters. But that’s nothing. I’m going again after the 20th of this month. I’ve already written to Ricoeur about this and I’m going to try to talk to the others by phone. Ultimately, however, this delay worked out for the best, because I was able to read the first volume of Ricoeur’s Philosophy of the Will and his recently published paper on ‘Interprophasia’ – on Freud.
   n        It’s started to get more and more interesting at the Archives. I’m looking through more or less everything that interests me, drawer after drawer. I came across a fairly extensive group of manuscripts on time, from 1930–32. Of course, other questions are also entangled in the issue of time. The texts are difficult, a bit abbreviated, but very interesting. There’s a bit on reflection there and also, very informative for me personally, some attempts to describe the original dates of impressions. We’ll see what happens next, because there are a dozen or so folders still ahead of me.
   n       I intend to start my visits with the local professors a bit later. Now they have the examination session and are a bit overwhelmed. Of course, I’ve already met most of them personally, but as yet there hasn’t been any fundamental plane of contact. I’ve had, and still have, a bit of a language complex. Apparently I talk, apparently well and fast, but sometimes I make such a boob that it’d be better not to talk! Ms. doc. Gierulanka knows something about my fluency in translating thoughts from one language to another. For this reason, I somehow left for later whatever I didn’t necessarily have to arrange earlier.
   n       I also want to go to see Strasser. Here, I found his paper entitled ‘Das Gemüt – Grundgedanken zu einer phänomenologischen Philosophie und Theorie des Menschlichen Gefühlslebens’ [The mind: basic thoughts on a phenomenological philosophy and theory of human emotional life]. It seems to me that as a historical paper it may be very useful to me.
   n       I’ve learned a lot from reading Ricoeur. It lacks the systematic, consistent depth of Husserl or the inventiveness of Scheler, but it’s very intelligent. And modern, likely because of that. I’d like to get to know J. Lacan better – he’s the ‘chief’ of structuralist psychoanalysis in Paris. I have no great ideas about this, so probably I’ll confine myself to getting acquainted with the book, and postpone the author to another occasion.
   n       Since my French visa expires on 1/3, I’m going to return to Paris quite soon.
   n       I hope that I’ll manage to write to you again before your name-day, so I’ll postpone my wishes until then. I also remember the anniversary of the death of your son; I’ll celebrate a mass on that same day, as I do every year, maybe in Paris, maybe here.
   n       I enclose the most cordial regards to your wife and greetings to nearby friends. I’m very glad about this essay on responsibility, which’ll be the first thing I’ll try to read upon my return.

I remain your sincerely devoted
   n          n       Fr Józef Tischner

Louvain – Heverlee
   n       Celestijnenlaan 101
   n          n       Maison St Jean