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4 UG (Unter Grund)

 Bartle Library

Bartle Library, Binghamton University, New York


A great liberation comes for those who thus find themselves suddenly dead, like the shock of an elevator hitting bottom – – – the soul is all at once convulsed, torn loose, torn away – – – the ‘self’ does not know what is happening. A drive and impulse rules and masters it like a command; a will and desire awakens to go off, anywhere, at any cost; a vehement dangerous curiosity for newly discovered world of hell that flames and burns in all its senses.


“Better to be reborn a worm than to go on living in hell”thus responds the imperious voice and temptation: and this ‘hell’, this ‘at home’ is everything it had hitherto embraced!


A sudden terror and suspicion of what the self had once loved, a lightning-bolt of contempt for what it called pleasurable, that rebellious, arbitrary, volcanically erupting desire for strange places, estrangements, coldness, soberness, frost, an ambiguity for love, perhaps a desecrating blow and glance backwards to where it formerly loved and worshipped, perhaps a hot blush of shame at what it has done and at the same time a delight that the self has done it, a drunken, inwardly exultant shudder which betrays that a victory has been won.


A victory? Over what? Over whom? Over death? An enigmatic, question packed, questionable victory, but it is considered a victory nonetheless: such bad and painful things are part of the self’s past history.


It was at the same time a sickness that destroyed the self who had it, this first outbreak of strength and will to self-determination, to acting on one’s own account. And how much sickness is expressed in the wild experiments and singularities through which the liberated prisoner once pursued – – – and now attempts to forget!


He had cruelly prowled around with a deep thirst for lasciviousness; what he once captured – – – he now has to apologize for – – – the perilous tension of his past; what once excited him he now tears apart.


Solitude encircles and embraces him, ever more threatening, suffocating, heart-tightening, that terrible being and savage person, the fallen one – – – but who that is alive knows what solitude is?


TOMORROW:  5 UG  (Unter Grund)