Wednesday 23 September 2009

Büchner, Pain and God

I simply love the plays of Georg Büchner, arguably one of the most startlingly original German dramatists ever. I recall his commentary on the work of Spinoza, particularly his proposition that God exists necessarily; for if we ''think'' God, then God must exist. To this contention, taken from Spinoza's belief in the primacy of mind, Büchner says 'But what compels us to think an entity that can only be thought of as a being?', which he follows shortly after with this thought;

If one accepts the definition of God, then one must admit the existence of God. But what justifies us in making this definition?


It knows imperfections.


It knows pain.

Pain, the phenomena of pain and suffering, is central to Büchner. It is through pain that the eponymous hero in Lenz achieves his most mystical experience; through pain that Lena recognises the route to redemption. It is, for Büchner, through pain that one enters into the presence of God.

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