May 3, 2011

The Scale of the Heart

Painting by Marc Chagall

To take things seriously—as my books are said to do—betokens no heaviness of spirit. Taking things seriously is no more than according things their true weight and seeing their innate value. It springs from a desire to weigh things on the scale of the heart rather than indulging in suspicion and distrust.

Letter to Rudolf Bodlander
March 13, 1922



    Lorenzo, this is the link I found yesterday.

    'a desire to weigh things on the scale of the heart rather than indulging in suspicion and distrust.'

    This is my goal. Thanks Herr Rilke.

  2. Andrew, thank you for the link to a moving biography of Rilke and his works at the literary blog Paying Attention To The Sky. I have linked it in our Ringing Glasses: Rilke References & Links page at the top of the sidebar. I highly recommend it to our readers. (I'm also thrilled to find that excellent literary blog.)

    One piece of information I was happy to obtain in the essay on Rilke is that both Rilke and his wife Clara were freed to pursue their art (his writing, and her sculpture) because her parents apparently took the primary care of their daughter Ruth. Though I think there is some evidence that Clara was not perfectly content with the arrangement of RMR living away from them, this new (to me) information at least relieves my notion that Clara bore the entire care of their child and was not able to pursue her art as Rilke did his.

    While it isn't necessary for me, or any reader, to "feel good" about a writer's or an artist's life whom I admire, I do take comfort in this.

  3. "according things their true weight". i'm drawn to that because it represents a huge piece of work to arrive at that place and along the journey of that work so much opens up in the unpacking. steven

  4. I find that when I "weigh things on the scale of the heart", it is readily reciprocated. To define this approach as taking things seriously is a revelation to me. Now that I see it written, it makes perfect sense. There must be a fine line between taking things seriously and responding to them strictly emotionally.

    The colors in this Chagall must have been drawn from the heart.

  5. To be sincere. To care. To listen. I loved this thought.

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  7. I find a war in this. on the one hand I agree with it and on the other i know a price must be paid for thinking as such.
    still, it is the better way to lean, it seems to me


"Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night."

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Go ahead, bloom recklessly!