Letter to Stefan Żółkiewski written in 05.02.1964

Prof. Roman Ingarden
Cracow, Biskupia 14                      c                                    c               In Cracow, 5 February 1964



Most Honourable Professor,

    c        I was at the Secretariat yesterday afternoon, but unfortunately didn’t find you, and couldn’t stay in Warsaw one day longer; thus I have to write a few lines.
    c        In connection with your letter, for which I cordially thank you once again, I must first of all observe that it contained an error, as there is no such thing as an international Aesthetics Society of whose Board Prof. Tatarkiewicz is a member. There’s only the International Committee for Aesthetic Congresses. I was elected a member of this Committee in 1937 during the Second International Congress of Aesthetics in Paris, along with Prof. Tatarkiewicz. Unfortunately, all of the Frenchmen acting on this Committee, Prof. Basch, Prof. Lalo, and Prof. R. Bayer, either were no longer alive as of 1956 or, like Prof. Bayer, had been excluded from academic life (Bayer was paralysed and unable to speak). As a result, Prof. Souriau, without asking anyone, organised a completely new Committee, to which he invited no Poles. Moreover, this Committee was, so to speak, octroyed. It was only in Athens in 1960 that several more individuals were invited, inter alia Prof. Tatarkiewicz from Poland (on his own initiative, as Dr Morawski told me). Of course, none of us protested against this, because we thought that it didn’t matter who was on the Committee from Poland, as long as there was a representative. However, at the time, there was talk about organising an international aesthetics society and we were asked to create a Polish Aesthetic Society in Poland. For technical reasons, we were forced instead to create an Aesthetic Section within the Polish Philosophical Society. This section, created a few years ago (in 1961), chose me as its president and Prof. T as vice-president. Both Prof. Souriau and Prof. Munro (president of the American Society for Aesthetics at that time) were notified of the Aesthetic Section. No International Aesthetic Society was created, however, undoubtedly because that was more convenient for Prof. Souriau, who could continue to decide everything himself.
    c        So much for clarification. As the president of the Aesthetics Section, I turned to you regarding the participation of Poles in the said Congress. Prof. Tatarkiewicz wrote without consulting me, on his own initiative – about which, at any rate, he notified me. At that time, I had to go to England; thus I wasn’t able to turn to you any sooner. I think that the qualification for sending me to Amsterdam lies not only in the fact of my presidency of the Aesthetics Section of the Polish Philosophical Society, but also in the fact that ultimately I, and no one else, laid the foundations for modern aesthetics before the research movement of which I’m now writing had emerged in the world in this direction.
    c        As for the matter of paying dues for the aforementioned individuals, I was at Bank Polski [Polish Bank] for information, but unfortunately didn’t find the director to whom I wished to speak. However, another official informed me that the NBP [Narodowy Bank Polski; National Bank of Poland] could agree to the transfer of membership dues (with papers paid for by individual authors in zlotys) only if there were an application in this matter, from either yourself or the Ministry of Higher Education, since the appropriate sums would have to be from the so-called ‘pool’ of the Polish Academy of Sciences or the Ministry. Since the Ministry doesn’t come into play here, given its anti-philosophical and anti-humanistic orientation, it would be possible to transfer these dues only if the Polish Academy of Sciences submitted the appropriate application. It was mentioned to me when I was at the Secretariat yesterday that not all possibilities had been exhausted yet; accordingly, given the state of affairs, I’m taking the liberty of turning to you once again with a polite request to graciously share information as to whether I should give up my efforts to obtain the payment of dues for the above-mentioned three individuals, or whether I’m to submit an official application concerning this matter (such that the dues would be paid by the authors of the papers, in zlotys, and the NBP would agree only to buy and send dollars for Amsterdam). As for covering the costs of my trip, it seems possible to pay them from my fee. In any case, I was told at the Bank that I could submit an application. When this matter is settled, I’m going to submit an application to the Polish Academy of Sciences for help in obtaining a passport.
    c        Nota bene: I’ve been invited to deliver a lecture at the Plenary meeting of the Congress (45 minutes). This will be my third lecture at a plenary meeting of an Aesthetics Congress, the first in Paris in 1937, the second in Athens in 1960, and the third will be, if I live long enough and make the trip, in Amsterdam.
    c            c        Please accept, Professor, expressions of my genuine esteem and respect

(Roman Ingarden)