Monday, September 8, 2014

A Voice from The Chorus by Adam Tertz


Consider the peculiarity of a situation in which you make up for the lack of a purpose in life by finding meaning only in the process of living out your days. It sometimes seems to me that in these conditions of simply waiting for their sentence to end, men may be happier than they are living in freedom – only they have not quite grasp the fact.

 All our troubles come from being ever caught in a divided state: we want to do something, but cannot – or vice versa. We constantly hover between life and death; feelings and actions are only half-realized. With fear and bated breath we wait: will something happen or not? Expectations or dreams fail to materialize. But once you are over the dividing line, plunged into a situation in which, however hopeless it may be, there is no turning back, no chance of escaping or trimming your sails, then the wholeness of an existence that neither threatens further loss nor holds out hope of gain envelops you in a feeling of serene and trusting calm…

I like the slow tempo of our existence here compared with the usual rhythm of life which people outside willy-nilly adopt in order to be on time for the bus, the office or the cinema. The mind, therefore works somehow more naturally in camp it, doesn’t have to calculate all the time how to get ahead of somebody else.  Apart from exceptional cases, one practically ceases to hurry (where to?). And existence opens its blue eyes all the wider…


 Coming out of prison is like making a posthumous appearance in the world. It is not like being born again, because one is old and weak, but much water has flowed under the bridges and we find it odd to observe that time has continued to pass by quite unconcerned and indifferent to our absence; and the fact that reality has just gone on impassively turning the handle of its hurdy-gurdy, regardless of who leaves or rejoins its merry cavalcade, is the chief cause of irritation and gloom in those who come back. The sensation of a secondary, posthumous existence arises from our lack of involvement I in life, from the fact that will still go on viewing it as distant observers even though it is now at close quarters again. Both mind and body are numbed. All you are aware of is your peculiar relationship to the world; your sense of existing in it as a specter. Hence your inability and unwillingness (itself somewhat half-hearted) to fall into any kind of fuss and bother, such as buying sandwiches, or drinking a bottle of beer – none of this is important or necessary, since all that really means anything to you is your function as a spectral presence. Life is not to blame for this – only one’s lack of interest in living it having once been buried. Possibly for this reason, it frequently happens that those who come back die fairly soon after their “return to life”. In theory they should live happily ever after (while they were in limbo it was the dream of doing so that gave them the strength to survive), but then the lose interest and no longer want to live. They simply lack the will or the desire to re-enter their former existence and wholly succumb to their view of themselves as ghosts…

There is a strange air of desolation about all these lights and cars, these advertisements, restaurants, shops, suits: something of the provinces or the suburbs. The center has disappeared (where has the center got too?). One feels nothing but growing pity for this provincial benightedness.  Poor children, poor dear children! Your amusements are not really much fun. How poverty-stricken they are, all these theatres and palaces of culture.  And look at that old woman fussing over her mink coat – in the old days, madam, such things were far grander, I assure you, and yet they have vanished without a trace. All those opulent furs and carriages have rotted away. And here you are with your car. What a joke


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