The Journey

The Journey by H. G. Adler

Book: The Journey by H. G. Adler Read Free Book Online
Authors: H. G. Adler
of the passing years, and so everything is absorbed within them, such that not even memory seems believable. Now only blind reverence maintains their abiding artifice, for they are not freed of their duty.
    But you all want to continually ask whether or not there is anything left of you that is recognizable, because if there is something, then the flames of your will must still exist, you would not have become snakes, but rather remained birds, and your crutches would turn into feathered wings. Then freedom would exist once again, reality no longer contradicted byunreality. So it would be. So it would be for you. You could still reach for it. You believe you still know it to be there. You are insatiable, your desire fills the cold emptiness until something is there. You have not sworn that you will deny everything. Instead you are always ready to see it; you believe that you can observe it before it is ready to be seen. But this can happen only when you do not notice that even this has been taken from you. And so any question about reality is worthless.
    You always want to reply that at least the question is still there, that reality will be conjured again as a result, the question alone not enough in itself once it is asked. Then the end would be defeated, the last threat of danger overcome, and a beginning launched through whose vast gate everything must pass once more in order to gather before lewd looks and hands. That’s how it should be, you say. But something is missing! What should be simply is not; you cannot begin again that easily. Remember that nothing is, and nothingness disavows even itself. There is always a “no” that hollows out every subject, and absence doesn’t answer back. Indeed, only the humiliated think that it does.
    Everything is a mockery, the snake’s cunning circles back on itself. If there is nothing, then there is really nothing, but even that is a lie. Belief in that leads to despair and a destructive madness that can crush an army of apparitions, while what is essential flees it and repels every approach. The misery of such deep disturbance is already enough in itself to refute such destruction. For then nothing more will come to harm, all that is fleeting is restored, the world in its inseparable twining of the beautiful and the horrible rises anew and carries on. You slippery snakes, however, have your part, and if it’s miserable, then so it is; that changes nothing about the truth of life, the course of history remains undisturbed. It’s up to you all whether or not you know to call it a blessing or a curse.
    Yet you don’t know what to say because you are the reflections of our helplessness, and therefore you are doubly and triply ridiculous in your own helplessness. Yet the snakes do not sense what others think of their weakness. They’ve reached the top of the hill, from where they can look down in order to better observe what is being destroyed. They lift their heads and sway back and forth, for now they are not afraid. Below, towns have been built in which things do not go so well, even though they containfenced-in buildings separated into apartments, broken up into rooms and chambers, which have been leased by many people who have no idea what is to come. They themselves have the right to move about and to leave their apartments. Without asking permission, each of them leaves home to head out and take care of his business and pleasure. No one lurks, full of jealousy, watching every step, and the living are not treated as suspect. Yet perhaps that’s an illusion, for it could just be that they’re allowed to walk around because the authorities are careless or the guards on duty too lazy or because there are so few guards. It could seem to them that people enjoy a certain amount of freedom and go along their way undisturbed. Why should they care about the law through which the authorities impose their own commandments? They can escape such traps, they are also snakes, though

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