más Benjamin y 'the feeling of solitude'

24 diciembre

"Back in my room, I lay down on the bed and read Proust while eating some of the candied nuts we had bought because they are a favorite of Asja's. Reich arrived after seven, Asja came somewhat later. She spent the whole evening lying on the bed and Reich sat next to her on a chair. After a long wait, a samovar finally arrived - our earlier requests for one had been futile because apparently a guest had locked all of them in his room and had then gone off - and hearing its hum fill a Russian room for the first time, able to look straight into Asja's face as she lay there across from me, sitting next to the little potted pine tree, I experienced something I had not felt in years, a sense of security on Christmas Eve. We spoke of the job that Asja was to have taken, then talk turned to my book on the Trauerspiel, and I read aloud from the preface directed against the University of Frankfurt.

Asja's opinion may take on importance for me; she thought that despite everything I should simply write: rejected by the University of Frankfurt-on-Main. We were very close that evening. Asja got a lot of laughs out of some of the things I was saying to her. Other things, such as the idea for an article on German philosophy as a tool of German domestic politics, excited her intense approbation. She couldn't make up her mind to leave, she was feeling good and tired. But in the end it was not even eleven when she left. I went right to bed because my evening had been full, however short it may have been. I realized that solitude does not exist for us as long as someone we love, even though they be somewhere else well beyond our reach, is feeling alone at the same time. The feeling of solitude would therefore seem to be basically a reflexive phenomenon that only strikes us when emitted back to us by people we know, and most often by people we love, whenever they enjoy themselves socially without us. And even the person who feels fundamentally alone in the world only experiences his solitude when he thinks of a woman, even an unknown woman, or of anybody else who is not alone and in whose company he, too, would cease to be.

W. Benjamin (Moscow Diary)

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