Pierre Hadot, Don’t Forget to Live: Goethe and the Tradition of Spiritual Exercises – University of Chicago Press, March 2023, translated by Michael Chase, with a Foreword by Arnold I. Davidson and Daniele Lorenzini
In his final book, renowned philosopher Pierre Hadot explores Goethe’s relationship with spiritual exercises—transformative acts of intellect, imagination, or will. Goethe sought both an intense experience of a single moment as well as a kind of cosmic consciousness through practices that alternatively concentrated on or distanced himself from his present life. These practices, in Hadot’s reading of the poem “Urworte,” shaped Goethe’s audacious hope against mortality’s Momento mori (don’t forget to die)—the demonic, chance, love, and necessity that condition human life. Ultimately, Hadot reveals how Goethe cultivated a deep love for life around a new commandment: don’t forget to live.