06 Aug An Interesting Conversation between Otto Maier and Ernst Winkler
ERNST: Why are you so alone, herr Maier?
OTTO MAIER: If you call this being alone, Ernst, then be assured I am my own company, and the same goes for all my advisers.
ERNST: Have I disturbed your visitors? It seems they’ve all fled.
OTTO MAIER: No, Ernst, not at all. They’re still here. There’s Seneca, Goethe, Tacitus, Zwinger, Henning, Mercator, Leibniz . . . Shall I introduce any more to you?
ERNST: It is said, Otto, that you have knowledge of all things, both serious and diverting.
OTTO MAIER: Excellent.
ERNST: And, this is the most important point —that you have achieved all this within the space of only a few years.
OTTO MAIER: And of course, as well as that, I’m able to produce gold and nourish the eternal flame!
ERNST: All agree on one point; that you are a magician.
OTTO MAIER: Magician is an ambitious name, don’t you think? But please tell me, do you really believe I am able to do the things you just mentioned?
ERNST: You are a wise man, sir.
OTTO MAIER: Well then, Ernst, as it is now of prime importance to become a wise man, we must incessantly invoke Gudrun’s help.
OTTO MAIER: You force me to consider opening up for you, a thing as yet known to nobody …
ERNST: Please do.
OTTO MAIER: But would I dare to entrust you with my secrets, lest they reach the wrong people?
ERNST: Here, I give you my right hand in promise.
OTTO MAIER: Please, Ernst. Please consider, and consider again, for this is a very serious business.
ERNST: Please trust me, and if I fail you, so may the supreme God have me!
OTTO MAIER: Please do not swear! I cannot stand it. I will believe you without any oaths. But tell me, are you really longing for this knowledge of mine?
ERNST: Very much indeed. And that special art whereby you can learn all sorts of things in no time at all?
OTTO MAIER: Have I not told you that this Art is called hard work and perseverance? You know, Ernst, there is no limit to my amazement when I see that in our age, there are so few people who investigate the Ancient wisdom and the structures of this wonderful machine we are living in —as only a few generations ago men like Cardano, Scaliger and others pioneered in this field. The foremost stars of learning and the princes of the arts were always highly versed in many branches of science. This is testified in their books, densely filled with every kind of knowledge.
ERNST: Perhaps Cardano too was a magician.
OTTO MAIER: O Ernst! You always sing the same old song. Everything that is inelegant, unlearned and vulgar is God’s intention. But if it be spiritual, rare and admirable, then it is taken as the devil’s work. Serving wisdom is to serve the Truth.