Utdrag fra et brev Rainer Maria Rilke skrev til Alexandre Benois i 1901:
«It is always forgotten that the philosopher, just like the poet, is the carrier of futures among us, and that he may therefore not count as strongly on the support of his time. Philosophers and poets are contemporaries of the people in the far-off future, and as soon as they are done with agitating the neighbours they have no reason to reach order or draw conclusions in their development, aside from those systematic compilations that they need in order to survey their own situation but that they destroy again as quickly to advance their internal progress.
Once his achievement has been systematized and expressed in words, once students, disciples, and friends rally around it and enemies attack it, then the philosopher has lost the right to rattle the foundation of this now inhabited system and jeopardize the thousands of individuals whose livelihood now depends on it. He has impeded his own ruthless progress, which perhaps could arise only from the ruins of this order, and while only yesterday he had still
been unlimited master of thousands of developments, who could indulge every nuance of his will in a king’s fashion, he has now become the highest servant of a system that grows larger than its founder with each passing day.
Philosophers should be patient and wait and not harbour wishes to reign over an empire supported by the means of its time. They are the kings of what is yet to come, and their crowns are still one with the ore buried in the veins of our mountains.
The fact is that the most progressive individuals bestow things on the future and consequently have to be stern in their dealings with the present. They don’t have any bread to offer the hungry – no matter how often they themselves may think so. . .they have stones that their contemporaries mistake for bread and nourishment but that at bottom will lie as the foundations for future days, which they must not give away. Consider the infinite freedom of the individual who is without fame and unknown; this is the kind of freedom the philosopher must guard for himself: that every day he may be someone new, a refuter of himself».