terça-feira, 27 de dezembro de 2011
Welcome, Spores! The Funeral of Mankind: “You are afraid of it because it is stronger than you; you hate it because you are afraid of it; you love it because you cannot subdue it to your will. Only the unsubduable can be loved.” Yevgeny Zamyatin (Евге́ний Ива́нович Замя́тин), "We" ("Мы")
A Decidedly Absurd Adventure
I awoke at dawn. The rose-colored firmament looked into my eyes. Everything was beautiful, round. "O-go is to come tonight. Surely I am healthy again." I smiled and fell asleep. The Morning Bell! I got up; everything looked different. Through the glass of the ceiling, through the walls, nothing could be seen but fog—fog everywhere, strange clouds, becoming heavier and nearer; the boundary between earth and sky disappeared. Everything seemed to be floating and thawing and falling. . . .
Not a thing to hold on to. No houses to be seen; they were all dissolved in the fog like crystals of salt in water. On the sidewalks and inside the houses dark figures, like suspended particles in a strange milky solution, were hanging, below, above, up to the tenth floor. Everything seemed to be covered with smoke, as though a fire were raging somewhere noiselessly.
At eleven-forty-five exactly (I looked at the clock particularly at that time to catch the figures, to save at least the figures), at eleven-forty-five, just before leaving, according to our Table of Hours, to go and occupy myself with physical labor, I dropped into my room for a moment. Suddenly the telephone rang.
A voice—a long needle slowly penetrating my heart:
"Oh, you are at home? I am very glad! Wait for me at the corner. We shall go together. .. . Where? Well, you'll see."
"You know perfectly well that I am going to work now."
"You know perfectly well that you'll do as I say! Au revoir. In two minutes! ..."
I stood at the corner. I had to wait to try to make clear to her that only the United State directs me, not she. "You'll do as I say!" How sure she is! One hears it in her voice. And what if . ..?
Unifs, dull gray as if woven of damp fog, would appear for a second at my side and then soundlessly redissolve. I was unable to turn my eyes away from the clock. ... I seemed myself to have become that sharp, quivering hand that marked the seconds. Ten, eight minutes ... three ... two minutes to twelve.... Of course! I was late! Oh, how I hated her. Yet I had to wait to prove that I...
A red line in the milky whiteness of the fog—like blood, like a wound made by a sharp knife—her lips.
"I made you wait, I think. And now you are late for your work anyway?"
"How . . .? Well, yes, it is too late now." I glanced at her lips in silence. All women are lips, lips only. Some are rosy lips, tense and round, a ring, a tender fence separating one from the world. But these! A second ago they were not here, and suddenly ... the slash of a knife! I seemed even to see the sweet, dripping blood She came nearer. She leaned gently against my shoulder; we became one. Something streamed from her into me.
I felt, I knew, it should be so. Every fiber of my nervous
system told me this, every hair on my head, every painfully sweet heartbeat. And what a joy it was to submit to what should be. A fragment of iron ore probably feels the same joy of submission to precise, inevitable law when it clings to a lodestone. The same joy is in a stone which, thrown aloft, hesitates a little at the height of its flight and then rushes down to the ground. It is the same with a man
when in his final convulsion he takes a last deep breath and dies.
I remember I smiled vaguely and said for no reason at all, "Fog... very." "Thou lovest fog, dost thou?"
This ancient, long-forgotten thou—the thou of a master
to his slave—penetrated me slowly, sharply. .. . Yes, I was
a slave This, too, was inevitable, was good.
"Yes, good ..." I said aloud to myself, and then to her, "I hate fog. I am afraid of fog."
"You are afraid of it because it is stronger than you; you hate it because you are afraid of it; you love it because you cannot subdue it to your will. Only the unsubduable can be loved."
"Yes, that is so. That is why . . . that is precisely why I . . ."
We were walking—as one. Somewhere beyond the fog the sun was singing in a faint tone, gradually swelling, filling the air with tension and with pearl and gold and rose and red. . . .
The whole world is one immense woman, and we are in her very womb, we are not yet born, we are joyfully ripening. It was clear to me, absolutely clear, that everything existed only for me: the sun, the fog, the gold—for me. I did not ask where we were going; what did it matter? It was a pleasure to walk, to ripen, to become stronger and more tense. ...
"Here . .." I-330 stopped at a door. "It so happens that today there is someone on duty who ... I told you about him in the Ancient House."
Carefully guarding the forces ripening within me, I read the sign:' "Medical Bureau." Only automatically I understood.
... A glass room, filled with golden fog; shelves of glass, colored bottles, jars, electric wires, bluish sparks in tubes; and a male Number—a very thin flattened man. He might have been cut out of a sheet of paper. Wherever he was, whichever way he turned, he showed only a profile, a sharply pointed, glittering blade of a nose, and lips like scissors.
I could not hear what I-330 told him. I merely saw her lips when she was talking, and I felt that I was smiling, irrepressibly, blissfully. The scissors-like lips glittered and the doctor said, "Yes, yes, I see. A most dangerous disease. I know of nothing more dangerous." And he laughed. With his thin, flat, papery hand he wrote something on a piece of paper and gave it to I-330; he wrote on another piece of paper and handed it over to me. He had given us certificates, testifying that we were ill, that we were unable to go to work. Thus I stole my work from the United State; I was a thief; I deserved to be put beneath the Machine of the Well-Doer.
Yet I was indifferent to this thought; it was as distant from me as though it were written in a novel. I took the certificate without an instant's hesitation. I, all my being, my eyes, my lips, my hands, knew it was as it should be. At the corner, from a half-empty garage, we took an aero. I-330 took the wheel as she had done before, pressed the starter, and we tore away from the earth. We soared. Behind us the golden haze, the sun. The thin, blade-like profile of the doctor seemed to me suddenly so dear, so
beloved. Formerly I knew everything revolves around the sun. Now I knew everything was revolving around me. Slowly, blissfully, with half-closed eyes At the gate of the Ancient House we found the same old woman.
What a dear mouth, with lips grown together and raylike wrinkles around it! Probably those lips have remained grown together all these days; but now they parted and smiled.
"Ah! you mischievous girl, you! Work is too much for you? Well, all right, all right. If anything happens, I'll run up and warn you."
A heavy, squeaky, opaque door. It closed behind us, and at once my heart opened painfully, widely, still wider. ... My lips . . . hers. ... I drank and drank from them. I tore myself away; in silence I looked into her widely open eyes, and then again. ...
The room in half dusk. ... Blue and saffron-yellow lights, dark green morocco leather, the golden smile of Buddha, a wide mahogany bed, a glimmer of mirrors. . . . And my dream of a few days before became so comprehensible, so clear to me; everything seemed saturated with the golden prime juice of life, and it seemed that I was overflowing with it—one second more and it would splash out.. ..
Like iron ore to a lodestone, in sweet submission to the precise and unchangeable law, inevitably, I clung to her. . . . There was no pink check, no counting, no United State; I was myself no more. Only, drawn together, the tenderly sharp teeth were there, only her golden, widely open eyes, and through them I saw deeper within. . . . And silence. . . . Only somewhere in a corner, thousands of miles away it seemed, drops of water were dripping from the faucet of the washstand. I was the Universe! . . .And between drops whole epochs, eras, were elapsing. ...
I put on my unif and bent over I-330 to draw her into me with my eyes—for the last time.
"I knew it. ... I knew you," said I-330 in a very low voice. She passed her hand over her face as though brushing something away; then she arose brusquely, put on her unif and her usual sharp, bite-like smile.
"Well, my fallen angel, you perished just now, do you know that? No? You are not afraid? Well, au revoir. You shall go home alone. Well?"
She opened the mirror door of the cupboard and, looking at me over her shoulder, she waited. I left the room obediently. Yet no sooner had I left the room than I felt it was urgent that she touch me with her shoulder—only for one second with her shoulder, nothing more. I ran back into the room, where, I presumed, she was standing before the mirror, busily buttoning up her unif; I rushed in, and stopped abruptly. I saw—I remember it clearly—
I saw the key in the keyhole of the closet, and the ancient ring upon it was still swinging, but I-330 was not there. She could not have left the room as there was but one exit. . .. Yet I-330 was not there! I looked around everywhere. I even opened the cupboard and felt of the different ancient dresses; nobody. ...
I feel somewhat ridiculous, my dear planetary readers, relating to you this most improbable adventure.
But what else can I do since it all happened exactly as I relate it? Was not the whole day, from early morning, full of improbable adventures? Does it not all resemble the ancient disease of dream seeing? If this be so, what does it matter if I relate one absurdity more, or one less? Moreover, I am convinced that sooner or later I shall be able to include all these absurdities in some kind of logical sequence. This thought comforts me as I hope it will com¬fort you.
. . . How overwhelmed I am! If only you knew how overwhelmed!
The Limit of the Function Easter
To Cross Out Everything
I am like a motor set in motion at a speed of too many revolutions per second; the bearings have become too hot, and in one more minute the molten metal will begin to drip and everything will go to the devil. Cold water! Quick! Some logic! I pour on pailfuls of it, but my logic merely sizzles on the hot metal and disappears into the air in the form of vapor.
Of course it is clear that in order to establish the true meaning of a function one must establish its limit. It is also clear that yesterday's "dissolution in the universe" taken to its limit is death. For death is exactly the most complete dissolution of the self in the universe. Hence: L=f (D), love is the function of death.
The Christian God
About My Mother
It is very strange that a kind of empty white page should be left in my hand. How I walked there, how I waited (I remember I had to wait), I know nothing about it; I remember not a sound, not a face, not a gesture, as if all communicating wires between me and the world were cut.
When I came to, I found myself standing before Him. I was afraid to raise my eyes; I saw only the enormous cast-iron hands upon His knees. Those hands weighed upon Him, bending His knees with their weight. He was slowly moving His fingers. His face was somewhere above, as if in fog. And, only because His voice came to my ears from such a height, it did not roar like thunder, it did not deafen me but appeared to be an ordinary, human voice.
"Then you, too, you, the Builder of the Integral] You, whose lot it was to become the greatest of all conquistadores You, whose name was to have been at the head of a glorious new chapter in the history of the United State! You..."
Blood ran to my head, to my cheeks—and here again a white page; only the pulsation in my temples and the heavy voice from above; but I remember not a word. Only when He became silent, I came to and noticed how His hand moved heavily like a thousand pounds, and crawled slowly—His finger threatened me.
"Well? Why are you silent? Is it true, or not? Executioner? So!"
"So," I repeated submissively. And then I heard clearly every one of His words.
"Well, then? Do you think I am afraid of the Word? Did you ever try to take off its shell and look into its inner meaning? I shall tell you. . . . Remember a blue hill, a crowd, a cross? Some up on the hill, sprinkled with blood, are busy nailing a body to the cross; others below, sprinkled with tears, are gazing upward. Does it not occur to you that the part which those above must play is the more difficult, the more important part? If it were not for them, how could that magnificent tragedy ever have been staged?
True, they were hissed by the dark crowd, but for that the author of the tragedy, God, should have remunerated them the more liberally, should He not? And the most clement, Christian God himself, who burned all the infidels on a slow fire, is He not an executioner? Was the number of those burned by the Christians less than the number of burned Christians? Yet (you must understand this!), yet this God was for centuries glorified as the God of love! Absurd? Oh, no. Just the contrary. It is instead a testament to the imperishable wisdom of man, written in blood.
Even at the time when he still was wild and hairy, man knew that real, algebraic love for humanity must inevitably be inhuman, and that the inevitable mark of truth is cruelty—just as the inevitable mark of fire is its property of causing the sensation of burning. Could you show me a fire that would not hurt? Well, now prove your point! Proceed! Argue!"
How could I argue? How could I argue when those thoughts were once mine, though I was never able to dress them in such a splendid, tempered armor? I remained silent.
"If your silence is intended to mean that you agree with me, then let us talk as adults do after the children have gone to bed; let us talk to the logical end. I ask: what was it that man from his diaper age dreamed of, tormented himself for, prayed for? He longed for that day when someone would tell him what happiness is, and then would chain him to it. What else are we doing now? The ancient dream about a paradise . . . Remember: there in paradise they know no desires any more, no pity, no love; there they are all—blessed. An operation has been performed upon their center of fancy; that is why they are blessed, angels, servants of God....
And now, at the very moment when we have caught up with that dream, when we hold it like this" (He clenched his hand so hard, that if he had held a stone in it sap would have run out!) ". . . At the moment when all that was left for us was to adorn our prize and distribute it among all in equal pieces, at that very moment you, you ..."
The cast-iron roar was suddenly broken off. I was as red as a piece of iron on an anvil under the moulding sledge hammer. The hammer seemed to have stopped for a second, hanging in the air, and I waited, waited . . . until suddenly:
"How old are you?"
"Just double the age, and as simple as at sixteen! Listen. Is it possible that it really never occurred to you that they (we do not yet know their names, but I am certain you will disclose them to us), that they were interested in you only as the Builder of the Integral? Only in order to be able, through the use of you—"
"Don't! Don't!" I cried. But it was like protecting yourself with your hands and crying to a bullet: you may still be hearing your own "don't," but meanwhile the bullet has burned you through, and writhing with pain you are prostrated on the ground.
Yes, yes: the Builder of the Integral . . . Yes, yes. At once there came back to me the angry face of U- with twitching, brick-red gills, on that morning when both of them ...
I remember now, clearly, how I raised my eyes and laughed. A Socrates-like, bald-headed man was sitting before me; and small drops of sweat dotted the bald surface of his head.
How simple, how magnificently trivial everything was! How simple...almost to the point of being ridiculous! Laughter was choking me and bursting forth in puffs; I covered my mouth with my hand and rushed wildly out. . ..
Steps. Wind. Damp, leaping fragments of lights and faces ... And while running: "No! Only to see her! To see her once more!"
Here again an empty white page. All I remember is feet: not people, just feet, hundreds of feet, confusedly stamping feet, falling from somewhere in the pavement, a heavy rain of feet. . . And some cheerful, daring voice, and a shout that was probably for me: "Hey, hey! Come here! Come along with us!"
Afterward—a deserted square heavily overloaded with tense wind. In the middle of the square a dim, heavy, threatening mass—the Machine of the Well-Doer. And a seemingly unexpected image arose within me in response to the sight of the Machine: a snow-white pillow, and on the pillow a head thrown back, and half-closed eyes, and a sharp, sweet line of teeth. . . All this seemed so absurdly, so terribly connected with the Machine. I know how this connection has come about, but I do not yet want to see it nor to say it aloud—I don't want to! I don't!
I closed my eyes and sat down on the steps which led upward to the Machine. I must have been running hard, for my face was wet. From somewhere far away cries were coming. But nobody heard them; nobody heard me crying: "Save me from it—save me!"
If only I had a mother as the ancients had—my mother, mine, for whom I should be not the Builder of the Integral, and not D-530, not a molecule of the United State, but merely a living human piece, a piece of herself, a trampled, smothered, cast-off piece . . . And though I were driving the nails into the cross, or being nailed to it (perhaps it is the same), she would hear what no one else could hear, her old, grown-together, wrinkled lips. ...
THE BENUMBED WAVES
EVERYTHING IS IMPROVING
I AM A MICROBE
I am aware of myself. And, of course, the only things that are aware of themselves and conscious of their individuality are irritated eyes, cut fingers, sore teeth. A healthy eye, finger, tooth might as well not even be there. Isn't it clear that individual consciousness is just sickness?
Elizabeth: I hate you.
Dr. Kibner: We don't hate you - there's no need for hate now. Or love.
Elizabeth: There are people who will fight you. Stop you.
Dr. Kibner: In an hour you won't want them to. Don't be trapped by old concepts, Matthew, you're evolving into a new lifeform.
Welcome, Spores, WE
We comes from God, I from the Devil
Yevgeny Zamyatin, "We"