Sunday, January 29, 2012

Kritzinger's warning -- a moral for today

Today's post comes from a story told in the movie "Conspiracy" by Reinhard Heydrich to Adolf Eichmann and Rudolf Lange that supposedly was told to Heydrich by Friedrich Kritzinger. There has been some debate over whether this story was actually told by Kritzinger to Heydrich or if it was mentioned at the Wannssee Conference during one of the breaks when the meeting was not being transcribed. However, it is a fabulous story and the moral is something very worth remembering.
He told me a story about a man he had known all his life, a boyhood friend. This man hated his father. Loved his mother fiercely. His mother was devoted to him, but his father used to beat him, demeaned him, disenherited him. Anyway, this friend grew to manhood and was still in his thirties when the mother died. The mother, who had nurtured and protected him, died. The man stood at her grave as they lowered the coffin and tried to cry, but no tears came.

The man's father lived to a very extended old age and withered away and died when the son was in his fifties. At the father's funeral, much to the son's surprise, he could not control his tears. Wailing, sobbing....he was apparently inconsolable. Utterly lost. That was the story Kritzinger told me.
What was it about the story that the listeners didn't understand?
The man had been driven his whole life by hatred of his father. When his mother died, that was a loss, but when his father died and the hate had lost its object, the man's life was completely empty.
That was the message. That was the warning given in the story.
Do not let hate fill your lives so much that, when it is gone, you have nothing left to live for.

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