After the death of my mother, I came to Vienna for the third time. This visit was destined to last several years. Since I had been there before, I had recovered my old calm and resoluteness. The former self assurance had come back, and I had my eyes steadily fixed on my goal. I would be an architect. Obstacles are placed across our path in life, not to be boggled at but to be surmounted. And I was fully determined to surmount these 0bstacles, having the picture of my father constantly before my mind, who had raised himself by his own efforts to the position of civil servant though he was the poor son of village shoemaker. I had a better start, and possibilities of struggling through were better. At that time my lot in life seemed to me a harsh one; but today I see in it the wise workings of Providence. The Goddess of fate clutched me in her hands and often threatened to smash me; but the will grew stronger as the obstacles increased, and finally the will triumphed.
I am thankful to that period of me life, because it hardened me & enabled me to be as tough as I now am. And I am more thankful because I appreciate the fact that I was thus saved from the emptiness of life of ease and that a mother’s darling was taken from tender arms and handed to Adversity as to a new mother. Though I then rebelled against it as too hard a fate, I am grateful that I was thrown out into a world of misery and poverty and thus came to know the people for whom I was afterwords to fight.
I had no other pleasure in my life except my books. I read a great deal then, and I pondered deeply over what I read. All the free time after work was devoted exclusively to study. Thus within few years; I was able to acquire a stock of knowledge which I find useful even today.
But more than that. During those years a view of life and definite outlook of the world took shape in my mind. These became the granite basis of my conduct at that time. Since then I have extended my foundation only very little, and I have changed nothing in it.
On the contrary: I am firmly convince today that, generally speaking, it is in youth that men lay the essential groundwork of their creative thought, were that creative thought exists. I make the distinction between the wisdom of age-which can only arise from the grater profundity and foresight that are based on experience of a long life- and the creative genius of youth, which blossoms out in thought and ideas with inexhaustible fertility, without being able to put these into practice immediately, because of their very superabundance. These furnish the building materials and plans for the future; and it is from them that age takes the stone and builds the edifice, unless the so called wisdom of the years may have smothered the creative genius of youth.
Years of studying and suffering in Vienna