Friends reminded me of this great passage from a letter of Franz Rosenzweig to his sister:
You know, you needn’t feel bad because you lack the power to ‘tell yourself the whole truth’, for once, for your own good. Believe me, no-one has this power; no-one can help themselves. Though the world is full of people who try to make themselves believe that they can, they succeed no better than Münchhausen did when he tried to pull himself out of the mire by the scruff of his neck. Each of us can only seize by the scruff whoever happens to be closest to him in the mire. This is the “neighbour” the Bible speaks of. And the miraculous thing is that, although each of us stands in the mire himself, we can each pull out our neighbour, or at least keep him from drowning. None of us has solid ground under his feet; each of us is only held up by the neighbourly hands grasping him by the scruff, with the result that we are each held up by the next man, and often, indeed most of the time (quite naturally, since we are neighbours mutually), hold each other up mutually. All this mutual upholding (a physical impossibility) becomes possible only because the great hand from above supports all these holding hands by their wrists. It is this, and not some non-existent ‘solid ground under one’s feet’, that enables all the human hands to hold and to help. There is no such thing as standing, there is only being held up.
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