By Helmut Lethen
Cool behavior is a chic interpretation of attitudes and mentalities that trained the Weimar Republic by means of a pupil popular for his profound wisdom of this era. Helmut Lethen writes of "cool behavior" as a cultivated antidote to the heated surroundings of post-World struggle I Germany, as a fashion of burying disgrace and animosity that may another way make social touch very unlikely.
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Extra info for Cool Conduct: The Culture of Distance in Weimar Germany (Weimar and Now: German Cultural Criticism)
262) 8 All the core ideas of the 1920s cult of objectivity are present here: the prohibition of ritual complaining; the disciplining of affect; the knack of manipulation; the cunning of conformity; the armoring of the ego; the practice of physiognomic judgment; and the reﬂection of behavior within a parallelogram of forces. Much of the advice is difﬁcult of access. ”9 At ﬁrst what interests the prisoner is only Gracián’s understanding of the virtue of restraint (retentiva) and the art of hopefulness (espera) —as well as cunning during interrogations, for which the manual has advice to offer.
Free of the complexity of deep psychological structures, these characters appear as “metallized bodies,” innocent of organic frailty. ”2 They avoid public displays of emotion. ”4 Characters with simple contours may indeed be “subcomplex,” but they have the virtue of being able to make decisions. What they decide on remains in the ﬁrst instance abstract; what they want is to be in motion inside a process that compels mobility. Avant-garde literature ﬁlls out the image, testing out how it will function in the organic world deﬁned by the body.
No. 26) Do not wait until you are a Sinking Sun. ’Tis a maxim of the wise to leave things before things leave them. One should be able to snatch a triumph at the end. (no. 110) Get used to the failings of your familiars, as you do to ugly faces. It is indispensable if they depend on us, or we on them. There are wretched characters with whom one cannot live, nor yet without them. (no. 115) Never complain. To complain always brings discredit. Better be a model of self-reliance opposed to the passion of others than an object of their compassion.