To Peter (or “Elo”) Konheim [Letter 435]

Item Reference Code: 142_KBx_033_001

Date(s) of creation

October 6, 1950


Peter (“Elo”) Konheim


[Page 1]
October 6, 1950

Dear Peter:

Thank you for your letter. I appreciate the feeling which prompted you to write it and I always appreciate an honest statement.

It is not a question of forgiveness or resentment on my part against you. The difference between us came apparently from a fundamental difference in philosophy. I am glad to know, and I believe you, that you did not intend to hurt my feelings. But this does not change the fact that the ideas which led to your actions are the ones of which I disapprove very highly and which are the opposite of my ideas. I form my opinion of people according to their actions and their convictions—and, therefore, if their convictions are the opposite of mine I cannot feel about them as I did before I discovered it.

However, ideas are always open to discussion. If you feel that this is not a fundamental difference between us, but only a misunderstanding, I will be glad to discuss it with you when I come to New York and I will be glad to straighten it out. It is difficult to discuss it by letter because it involves some very wide issues. For instance, I am unable to like people for their faults, as you say you do. I like them for their virtues. I have always liked you for the good qualities which I saw in you, such as your intelligence and your courage. If I see a quality which I consider a major defect, I cannot forget it, I have to include it in my estimate of a person. But if I find in the future that this difference between us can be eliminated, I will be happy to return to my original estimate of you. It is not that I resent you now, it is simply that I disagree, and my feeling towards people proceeds from my ideas.

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October 6, 1950     2.

I do think, if I judge by your letter, that we will be able to straighten it out eventually. I do not know yet when I will come to New York, but it does not mean that I will be your enemy until that time. We will merely let the issue rest until then, and in the meantime I will wish you happiness and success in your new home and your work.