My life was a world life – I lived the life of the world. But the world stopped living for several decades, and then in a few years it advanced a century! So I am only now coming into my own, having somewhere lost 30 years on the way – waiting for Godot – until the world caught up again, caught up to me. In retrospect, it is all quite strange, the martyrdom of isolation was only apparent – ultimately, I was only waiting for myself. Now the scales are weighed against us – against you, against me – because in ten years, I would stand vindicated in my own lifetime. My work is for Asia and Africa, for the new peoples. The West should bring them spiritual and intellectual assistance; instead the west is destroying the tradition of the 19th century and is even demolishing its Victorian ideals… My ideas at last are drawing opposition and that is a good sign, I would dearly love to live to fight for them, but man is a mortal being.
Karl Polanyi: Letter written to a lifetime friend, Bé de Waard,1958, cited in Kari Levitt and Marguerite Mendell, ‘Karl Polanyi his Life and Times’ Studies in Political Economy, spring 1987 issue no.22 pp. 7-39