Ringstrasse – at the University

Ringstrasse - at the University

I find that I can’t leave the blog tonight without posting an image that I just like because it is beautiful. It reminds me of rich blue hues of Steichen’s photograph of the Flatiron building, or other photographs and paintings of New York in the early 20th century. Since the end of Daylight Savings Time (earlier here than in the U.S.), the late afternoon hours have been just beautiful in the twilight. Sometimes learning more about the history of this complex, shadowed city is almost too sad to bear, but at moments like this, the beauty still shines through – and like Freud’s essay “On Transience,” I find myself able to appreciate the beauty even more for its fragility. I will not go so far as to celebrate or glorify the shadows – there is too much evil in this history to feel anything toward the omnipresent reminders of the Nazi era and a much longer history of anti-Semitism but rage, outrage, disgust and horror. But somewhat in the same way Kent Gramm has written about the peacefulness of the Gettysburg landscape now, in contrast to the bloodshed at the time of the Battle, there is a peacefulness here too – at best, a peace that passeth understanding, and some kind of assurance that life does go on. It’s our job, I think, to go on too, even with gratitude for these flashes of beauty and moments of joy, but not to be insensible to the horrors and the lessons of the past.

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About pcooperwhite

Christiane Brooks Johnson Professor of Psychology and Religion, Union Theological Seminary, New York NY
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One Response to Ringstrasse – at the University

  1. Andrew Gee says:

    The twilight shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it.

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