Adolph does not think much of persons who read, ponder, think and conclude. After going through all the words of this book, most of which are forgettable and destined for oblivion, the reader must conclude that Adolph had trouble reading; he did not like to read; he had a reading impairment; he had problems putting together the logical bases so German sentences would make sense. He was never able to take a book (and likely never this book) and distill its arguments into words of his own. Adolph was bewildered and frightened by those who could discuss ideas, and use books and facts as frames and as references to support an argument.
People who read “possess a mass of ‘knowledge,’ but their brain is unable to organize and register the material they have taken in. They lack the art of sifting what is valuable for them from that which is without value, or retaining the one forever, and if possible, not even seeing the rest, but in anywise not dragging it around with them as useless ballast.” [A] “ reader now believes himself in all seriousness to be ‘educated’ to understand something of life, to have knowledge, while in reality, with every new acquisition of this kind of education, he is growing more and more removed from the world until, no infrequently, he held up in a sanitarium or in parliament.” (page 35)
This paragraph suggests that Adolph believes all readers are like himself. Give a book dedication and great study, and the text sits in Adolph’s mind clogging it, and interfering with extraneous superficial chattering and false sentimentalities that Adolph wanted to hear, like eating cream topping pastries sprinkled with sugared cinnamon.
Adolph believes that a human being can be retarded and become a moron. But rather than use knowledge to his best benefit, Adolph derives new terms for being intellectual (the first, six pages earlier didn’t take):
[W]hat a difference between the glittering phrases about freedom…beauty, and dignity in the theoretical literature, the delusive welter of words seeming expressing the most profound and laborious wisdom, the loathsome humanitarian morality – all this written with the incredible gall that some with the prophetic certainty – and the brutal daily press, shunning no villainy, employing every means of slander, lying with a virtuosity that would bend iron beams, all in the name of this gospel of a new humanity. The one is addressed to the simpletons of the middle, not to mention the upper, educated, ‘classes,’ the other to the masses.(page 41)
It appears that Adolph is intimidated by “the glittering phrases about freedom…beauty, and dignity in the theoretical literature, the delusive welter of words seeming expressing the most profound and laborious wisdom, the loathsome humanitarian morality…” Adolph was incapable of reaching those levels in speech, and he was incapable of attaining them by other means.
Remove glittering phrases, dignity, beauty, profound wisdom and humanitarian morality from and language, and it becomes dead. There is no communication.
What became most amazing was the rush to Richard Wagner and a few other immortals expressing German culture [some of Wagner’s folklore was Celtic (Irish/Welsh) origin, a fact lost on Adolph]. Wagner was definitely mad enough for Adolph to love him without much alteration, although one wonders how many Nazi big-wigs actually made it through 4 1/2 hours of Goetterdammerung. Americans are forewarned by Mark Twain, “I’ve heard the first Act of each Wagner opera with pleasure.”
Adolph has failed to advance logic, reasons and conclusions why the finer points of language and writing ought to be neglected, all the while, wholeheartedly, endorsing the lyrical mediocrity of Richard Wagner.