NOISE, NERVES, AND THE CITY
It was not only its educated bourgeois elitism that became a problem for the Anti-Noise Society but also the way in which that elitism and the noise question as a whole were combined with the contemporary discourse on nervousness. As early as the first issue of the Anti-Rüpel, in a piece called « Kultur und Nerven » (« Culture and nerves »), Lessing found himself having to take issue with the claim that the anti-noise activists were nothing more than a small band of nervous scholars whose concerns did not need to be taken seriously. Lessing certainly repudiated this accusation, but he did not comple-tely reject the label « nervous ». Rather, he believed that there was « no kind of intellectual life that does not presuppose a refined and sophisticated life of the senses » : « It is not possible for an alert, astute, constantly active mind to sleep peacefully surrounded by the noise of steam trains. Anyone who has the senses for the stimuli of life today, for the arts of today, cannot possibly have nerves like the metalworker who spends his life in an iron rolling mill ! ».