Saturday, April 21, 2007

I know nothing. I know less than nothing because I think I know something.

Walter Benjamin, writer and intellectual, was running from Nazi Germany. His group got to the France/Spain border and their papers didn't work. They were stuck there.

The next day the paper thing got better; they got over the border and escaped.

The group as a whole did.

Not Walter Benjamin because he had killed himself during the period they seemed to be stuck in a bad place.

He said words to himself about the situation that made killing himself seem like the way to go.

He was wrong.

It was maybe a smart person error. He wrote essays that are still influentional, like "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, which he wrote in 1936.

Maybe his last essay was the essay he wrote for himself only about why to kill himself right then instead of awaiting developments for even twelve hours, which would have saved him

He became an influential post World War II intellectual without being alive. Because he thought ahead about issues that many didn't yet know were important.

It would have been a good thing for himself and others if he had been a living post-war intellectual writing new stuff.

I don't know why Walter Benjamin killed himself.

Intellectuals can get so sharp we cut ourselves. People like me and including me can weave skillful futures of words that are wrong.