Dienstag, 31. Juli 2007

Charles Lindbergh - a philosopher in life and death

Charles Lindbergh
An american reader of my german blog has asked me about the content of my german posts about Charles Lindbergh. Here I give some parts of my answer to him. My English is very bad. Sorry for this. If there is anyone out there, who would like to go through it and make it better, I would appreciate it very much. Mostly I'm interested to communicate content - and not to look for the best style. But I'm aware that this is not very polite.

It would take some time to translate into english everything I have written about Lindbergh on my blog. But if I learn about more interest into it, in the future I can try to write more about Lindbergh in english - if there is an opportunitiy for me. - As you can see: Mostly my thoughts about Lindbergh are based on the english literature.

But I can try to give you here a short account of my thoughts about Lindbergh.

1. Lindbergh died a very “philosophical” death

The first step for me was, that I was very impressed to learn in A. Scott Berg's biography about all what was going on in the days before the death of Charles Lindbergh. In my eyes he died like a "king". With a lot of philosophical souvereignty. And about this I was deeply impressed. And all my other questions stem from there: What sort of man was Lindbergh, that he was able to die with such an attitude? (With such earnestness and at the same time with such "coolness".)

So, first, I thought, it is important to understand, what it had meant in those days to be a pioneer with planes: always risk of death. In this posting I refer mostly to a letter and other thoughts, that his wife Anne has written, when one of his best friends, Phil Love came to death by an accident on 4th June 1943. I think this is the most important part of the diaries of Anne between 1939 to 44, because here she speaks about things, Charles Lindbergh for himself seldom is speaking about: "Death is always side by side with you." - And she speaks about the meaning of friendship for Lindbergh that is formed in days when they lived with every-day possibility of death by accident.

2. His interest in science

And as a pioneer you know more about this than everyone else. But there is more. There is his interest into the science of Alexis Carrel. Here I hope to learn a lot new things from the forthcoming book "The Immortalists". (Amazon) They had a lot of philosophical discussions of which not very much is known to us yet (as it seems to me - I do not know the literature very well). But may be this new book has more about all that. It is at the one side his pragmatic attitude in thinking about life and death - like a pure materialist - and on the other side ... difficult! It has something to do with courageness, with the will to live, with his idealism. In simple words: To be aware of death gives you more conscienceness for life.

This easily sounds like a triviality. But I think, this is all, what Charles Lindbergh's life has to say to us. And if you see, that someone shows in his own life, what this insight means for him, everything has another looking. And all this we can find in another aspect of his life mostly: his three german wifes and his seven german children. This story is very new and full of surprisings. The new german book of Rudolf Schröck (2005) (Amazon) has a lot of content, non-german-speaking readers cannot be aware of. I have tried to give an overview about the most important content of this book in my german posting. But I have not the opportunity now, to repeat all that here. "Life will work it out" was one of Lindbergh's words and his german children are happy to have had such a father. They learned and know more about their father than his american children - this is often the impression you get, if you read this new book. And all this has shown (to me): Philosophy and life were one thing for Lindbergh.

For example it is very surprising to learn, that Lindbergh - according to the diaries of his wife - in 1941 (or so) said to her, that it is most impressiv, that a women who is handicapped (not inherited) can have children, that are not at all handicapped. And 20 years later he came together with two sisters in Munich and had children with them, who were handicapped (not inherited). His german children had often discussions with their mother about death. And his first german wife had the same attitude to death and her own death as Charles Lindbergh had. She died 2001 with very like the same souvereignty.

3. His three german families

And she had the same "will for life" and the same will to give birth to children - even in a world, that can give you only pessimistic outlooks. Lindbergh was disappointed about his wife Anne, when she said in 1946 or so, that she had enough children now. He always wished to have as many children as the Kennedy family had - or more. He spoke about 12 or so. This was his will for life and his longing for "immortality", I think. - But may be with the new book we will learn more about that.

I was disappointed about the autobiography of Lindbergh himself. I were not able to find there very much of what I had hoped for: A better understanding of his deeper personality. He makes a lot of very nice words. But I have learned more about his attitude towards life and death from his german children in the mentioned book of Rudolf Schröck.

So, this is only a "shorter version", of what I had to say yet about Lindbergh on my german blog. May be I will write more, if I have read the new book "The Immortalists".

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