Conversation and Expectant Silence

After recently re-reading Albert Jay Nock’s 1928 collection of essays entitled On Doing the Right Thing, I had the thought to counterpoint his insights about conversation and civilization with my mentor Josef Pieper’s insights about silence and hope and the attentive perception of reality. For, both of these classically educated and unmistakably learned men sought “a purer perception of reality” and “the truth of things” (i.e., the “veritas rerum”), which may also be properly understood as “reality manifesting itself to a knowing mind.”

Although many other texts by Josef Pieper might have been chosen to reveal his cultured reflections on silence and contemplation and the arts (such as Only the Lover Sings, i.e., Nur der Liebende Singt—Amantis Cantare), this essay will, instead, concentrate only on a part of Josef Pieper’s little book, entitled The Silence of Goethe (Über das Schweigen Goethes)

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