On days like these, you can see to the very blue depths of things, to their unknown surfaces, those marvelous expressions of mathematical equality—which exist in even the most usual and everyday objects.
And I don’t know—perhaps it was somewhere in her eyes or eyebrows—there was a kind of strange and irritating X to her, and I couldn’t pin it down, couldn’t give it a numerical expression
With particular pleasure, I listened to our contemporary music […]. Crystal chromatic degrees converging and diverging in infinite sequences and the summarizing chords of Taylor and Maclaurin formulae with a gait like Pythagorean pant-legs, so whole-toned and quadrilateral-heavy […]. What magnificence! What unwavering predictability! And how pitiful that whimsical music of the Ancients, delimited by nothing except wild fantasy.
…Strange: I was writing today about the highest of heights in human history and all the while breathing the cleanest mountain air of thought, but, meanwhile, there were clouds and cobwebs and a cross, some kind of four-pawed X, inside me. Maybe it was my own paws, since they were in front of me on the table all this time—my shaggy paws. I don’t like talking about them and I don’t like them: they are evidence of the savage epoch. Could there actually be, within me—
Freedom and crime are so indissolubly connected to each other, like…well, like the movement of the aero and its velocity. When the velocity of the aero = 0, it doesn’t move; when the freedom of a person = 0, he doesn’t commit crime.
“Oh come on—knowledge! This knowledge of yours is utter cowardice. Yes, that’s it—really. You just want to build a little wall around infinity—and you’re afraid to look behind it! Peek over it and you’ll have to squeeze your eyes shut—ha!”
[The Ancients], however, worshipped their absurd, unknown God whereas we worship a non-absurd one—one with a very precise visual appearance. Their God didn’t give them anything except an eternal, torturous journey; their God didn’t think up anything more clever than that. And there’s no apparent reason why it sacrificed itself. We, on the other hand, make sacrifices to our God, the One State—calm, carefully considered, reasonable sacrifices.
There were two of me. One me was the former, D-503, cipher D-503, but the other one…Before, he only just managed to stick his shaggy paws out of my shell, but now he has crawled out whole, the shell is cracked open, now shattered into pieces and…and what next?
“I hate the fog. I am afraid of fog.”
“That means you love it. You’re afraid of it—because it is stronger than you. You hate it—because you are afraid of it. You love it—because you can’t conquer it yourself. You see, you can only love the unconquerable.”
Through the fog, I see: long glass tables; sphere-heads are chewing in time, slowly and silently. From a distance, through the fog, a metronome is tapping, and under the regular caress of this music, I count to fifty, mechanically, together with everyone: the fifty mandatory masticatory motions to each bite. I go downstairs, mechanically, on the beat, and I write my name down in the exit book, as everyone does. But I feel: I live separately from everyone else, alone, fenced in by a soft, sound-muffling wall, and behind this wall is my world…
Didn’t I populate these pages with all of you? Not long ago they were just four-cornered, white deserts. Without me, would you have ever been seen by all those that I am leading through the narrow footpaths of these written lines?
What if today’s essentially irrelevant occurrence—what if all this is only the beginning , only the first meteorite in a whole series of rumbling, burning rocks, spilling through infinity toward our glass paradise?
With a ridiculous, muddled flood of words, I attempt to tell her that I am a crystal and that there is a door inside me and that I feel like a happy chair. But such nonsense comes out that I stop.
The sun…it wasn’t our sun, evenly distributed along the mirrored surfaces of the streets: it was live splinters and incessantly jumping dots, blinding your eyes and spinning your head. And the trees were like candles jutting right up into the sky; like spiders on gnarled paws squatting on the earth; like mute, green fountains…And everything is crawling, stirring, rustling, and a sort of rough, little tangle rushes up underfoot and I am riveted, I can’ take one step because it is not level under my feet—do you understand? It was not level but sort of repulsively soft, yielding, living, green, bouncy.
In a blink, I am somewhere up high and underneath me are heads and heads, and gaping, screaming mouths, and arms pouring upward and then falling. This was exceptionally strange, intoxicating: I felt myself above everyone, I was myself, a separate thing, a world; I stopped being a component, as I had been, and I became the number one.
“Well, which final revolution do you want then? There isn’t a final one. Revolutions are infinite. Final things are for children because infinity scares children and it is important that children sleep peacefully at night…”
The beauty of a mechanism is in its steadfast, precise, and pendulum-like rhythm. But then you, who have been nurtured by Taylorist systems from childhood, haven’t you grown up to be pendulum precise?
With one exception: mechanisms don’t have imaginations.
Have you ever seen an inanely dreaming and distant smile break across the physiognomy of a pump cylinder while it was at work? Have you ever heard of a crane, in the nighttime, in the hours allocated for repose, turning over in agitation and sighing?
A ridiculous feeling but I was sure of it: yes, I must help. Ridiculous, because it was a duty and yet another crime. Ridiculous, because a white duty cannot, at the same time, be a black duty and a crime—they can’t coincide. Life is either blackless or whiteless and its color only depends on a basic, logical premise. And if the premise is that I gave her a child illegally…
“Because I…I was afraid, that if she was…that they would have…you would have…you would stop lov…Oh, I can’t—I couldn’t have!”
I understood: this was the truth. A ridiculous, funny, human truth!
“The most merciful Christian, God himself, slowly burning all the recalcitrants in the fires of Hell—is he not an executioner? And were there really fewer burned at the stake by the Christians than Christians who were burned themselves? And yet, understand this, and yet, they glorified this God as the God of Love. Absurd? No, the opposite: it is testimony, written in blood, to the ineradicable good sense of a human. Even then—wild, shaggy as they were—they understood: true algebraic love toward humankind is inhuman—and the sure sign of truth is its cruelty.”
If only I had a mother like the Ancients: my—yes, exactly—my own mother. She would know me as—not the Builder of the Integral, and not cipher D-503, and not a molecule of the One State—but simply a fragment of humanity, a fragment of herself, trampled, squashed, thrown away…”