“In one’s dealings with the young it behoves one to display the scientific spirit, to exhibit the principles of enlightenment—not only for purposes of mental discipline, but on the human and individual side, in order not to wound them or indirectly offend their political sensibilities; particularly in these days, when there is so much tinder in the air, opinions are so frightfully split up and chaotic, and you may so easily incur attacks from one party or the other, or even give rise to scandal, by taking sides on a point of history.” – Thomas Mann, Disorder and Early Sorrow (trans. H. T. Lowe-Porter)

“The capacity for self-surrender . . . for becoming a tool, for the most unconditional and utter self-abnegation, was but the reverse side of that other power to will and to command. Commanding and obeying formed together one single principle, one indissoluble unity; he who knew how to obey knew also how to command, and conversely; the one idea was comprehended in the other, as people and leader were comprehended in one another.” – Thomas Mann, Mario and the Magician (trans. H. T. Lowe-Porter)

“For an intellectual product of any value to exert an immediate influence which shall also be deep and lasting, it must rest on an inner harmony, yes, an affinity, between the personal destiny of its author and that of his contemporaries in general. Men do not know why they award fame to one work of art rather than another. Without being in the faintest connoisseurs, they think to justify the warmth of their commendations by discovering in it a hundred virtues, whereas the real ground of their applause is inexplicable—it is sympathy.” – Thomas Mann, Death in Venice (trans. H. T. Lowe-Porter)

Make it so

“No experience is more likely to put politics out of mind, more thoroughly prove it irrelevant, and better teach how to forget it, than the experience, through art, of what is everlasting in man. And at a time when world political events of truly fearful force are involving all that is in us of individual human worth in sympathetic participation, overwhelming it and bearing it away—precisely at such a time it is fitting to stand firm against the megalomaniacs of politics, in defense, namely, of the truth that the essential thing in life, the true humanity of life, never is even touched by political means.” – Thomas Mann, Betrachtungen eines Unpolitischen (trans. Joseph Campbell)

There are no political solutions, only political problems

“Politics I hate, and the belief in politics, because it makes people arrogant, doctrinaire, harsh, and inhuman. I do not believe in the formulae of the anthill, the human beehive; do not believe in the république démocratique, sociale et universelle; do not believe that mankind was made for what is being called ‘happiness,’ or that it even wants this happiness,’—do not believe in ‘belief,’ but rather in despair, because it is this that clears the way to deliverance; I believe in humility and work—work on oneself, and the highest, noblest, sternest, and most joyous form of such work seems to me to be art.” – Thomas Mann, Betrachtungen eines Unpolitischen (trans. Joseph Campbell; emphasis in original)