Basel, 17/18. XII. 15.
I was not surprised by your reaction to my honest letter.262 As you sent it to Solothurn, despite my postscript, it arrived only this evening. I have now thought it through and have come to the conclusion that it is a prime specimen of Mephistophelean wisdom. Its end provoked a laughter of relief, for which I heartily thank you.
Too bad that these truths are nothing new to me. I have an equally sharp- tongued Mephistopheles within myself, who already showed me the same truths about God and the Devil, Eros and the Poisoner,263 etc., in an even more drastic manner long ago, particularly in the black book.264
I need no longer to demand the acknowledgement of the value of my love, neither from you nor from other people. I acknowledge its worth as well as its worthlessness. So I do not demand anything from you that I’m not doing myself.
Moreover, I did not demand anything from you at all; I simply did what you asked and told you of a feeling I have toward you, a feeling that is proved right to me again and again, and particularly also by your present reaction. My motive for leading this correspondence was not only my being acknowledged by you but the feeling that it is not yet possible for you to acknowledge an important, divine as well as devilish, power of the inner life of all humans, and because I was worried about the effects of your one-sidedness on our work.
262 Missing; see 10 S, note 248.
263 An allusion to Plato’s Symposium, in which Socrates relates what Diotima had taught him about Eros/Love: an intermediate being between wisdom and folly, beyond good and evil, sometimes blossoming, sometimes dying, intermediate between the divine and the mortal, a sorcerer and a poisoner.
264 Again, probably a reference to his own “black book.”