KSRK: Guilty?/Not Guilty? (January 25. Morning.)

This entry and the midnight entry that precedes it seem to me to mark a turningpoint in the diary. Up until now, Quidam has been fretting about his melancholia and about whether he would be guilty of dragging her down into the pit with him were he to move forward with the engagement. Now he seems to admit to another disjunction between them that may be the real crux of the matter — namely his commitment to the religious and her lack thereof:

She appears to have no religious postulates. So a metamorphosis may come about…. If only I do not acquire too much power over her. If only there does not supervene the unseemly situation which well may occur along this road, that I become a religious instructor instead of her loved one … that I become autocratic instead of the beloved, that I consign her feminine loveliness to oblivion and assert myself. Would that I might succeed in lifting her, or rather that she might vault over into the sphere of religious freedom where she will feel the might of spirit and feel herself secure and safe, then all will be well.

So it seems that Quidam is worrying a different bone here. He and she can’t meet, it seems to me he is admitting, if he is planted firmly in the religious sphere and she is not. If she were to achieve the metamorphosis, make the leap, awaken to the eternal and the God-relationship and the radical freedom afforded therein, then “all would be well” — they could meet in that new world and form a united front against the old world. But there is horror in the thought that he might force her somehow preemptively to make that leap. Somehow that would spoil everything. Why? Because it would do violence to her “feminine loveliness”? Because it would do violence to the delicate dance of which Judge William spoke? Because it would be ungodly to assume the role of an “autocrat” in relation to another human being’s relationship to God?


  1. Quin Finnegan says

    I like that clause, that I become her religion teacher instead of her lover, which I think points to the last of your questions at the end. But the others certainly apply as well; he’s certainly well attuned to her feminine loveliness, and one way of interpreting his restraint, and perhaps even the stalking, is that he doesn’t want to mar her beauty.

    In this way his attraction to the monastery seems to have something to do with a desire to make that restraint eternal.

    The problem for him then is that thus far he seems to be engaged in a kind of protestant version of the via negativa. In other words, I’m not sure that Q understands himself to be firmly planted in the religious sphere at all, but is rather straining after it himself. But maybe I’m thinking of someone else.

    What the heck!? My word verification letters are xtr evl. Are the blog gods trying to tell me something?

  2. Jonathan Potter says

    I think that is what he circles around but neglects to admit, maybe. He talks about the peril to her were they to fall into the trap of his becoming her religion instructor, but he doesn’t touch what must surely be weighing on him as well, i.e. the real possibility that she won’t ever make the leap and he will be caught in this dilemma with her of — if not living in two separate worlds — then living in a heightened state of tension where he feels himself pulled apart like a man on a rack.

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