"It is possible that our nature indeed often takes revenge on us for the inappropriateness and foreignness of what we ask of it, and that between us and our surroundings there run cracks that remain not wholly on the surface. But why did our forebears read about all of those foreign things: by letting these things grow inside them into dreams, wishes, and vague fantastic images, by tolerating that their heart changed gears, spurred on by some adventurousness or other; when standing at the window with boundless and misunderstood distance inside them and with a gaze that turned its back almost contemptuously on the courtyard and garden out there, they effectively conjured up all of that which we now have to deal with and basically make up for. When they lost sight of their surroundings, which they no longer perceived, they lost sight of all of reality. What was nearby seemed boring and mundane and what was far depended entirely on their mood and imagination. And closeness and distance were forgotten in this way. This is how it became our task not even to decide between proximity and distance, but to assume both and to reunite them as the one reality, which in truth has no divisions or closure and which is not common when it is nearby, ut romantic when it is a bit further off, and not boring right here and over there quite entertaining. They were so terribly intent on distinguishing between what was strange and what was common back then: they did not notice how much of each is everywhere and most densely intertwined. They saw only that whatever was near did not belong to them, and so they thought that anything of value that can actually be owned they would find abroad, and they longed for it. And their intense and inventive longing seemed proof to them of its beauty and greatness. For they still held onto the view that it is possible for us to take something into ourselves, draw it in and swallow it while in fact we are so filled up from the beginning that not the tiniest thing could be added. Yet everything an have an effect on us. And all things affect us from a distance, the near as well as the remote things, nothing touches us; everything reaches us across divisions. And just as the most remote stars cannot enter us, the ring on my hand cannot do so either: everything that reaches us can do so only the way a magnet summons and aligns the forces in some susceptible object; in this way, all things can effect a new alignment within us. And in view of this insight, do proximity and distance not simply vanish? And is not this our insight?
(RMR), tr. Ulrich Baer