The Final Roadside Circle of Picnic Paradise

Everything is now understandable. It’s odious, that I understand…. Better if I understood nothing, better if, upon regaining consciousness, I shrugged my shoulders and climbed out of the bath. Would it have been understandable to Strogoff and Einstein and Petrarch? Imagination is a priceless gift, but it must not be given an inward direction. Only outward, only outward… What a tasty worm some corrupter has dropped from his rod into this stagnant pool! And how accurately timed! Yes indeed, if I were commander of Wells’ Martians, I would not have bothered with fighter tripods, heat rays, and other such nonsense. Illusory existence … no, this is not a narcotic, a narcotic has a long way to go to approach it. In a. way this is exactly appropriate. Here. Now. To each time its own. Poppy seeds and hemp, the kingdom of sweet blurred shadows and peace — for the beggar, the worn-out, the downtrodden… But here no one wants peace, here no one is dying of hunger, here is simply a bore. A well-fed, well-heated, drunken bore. It’s not that the world is bad, it’s just plain dreary. World without prospects, world without promise. But in the end man is not a carp, he still remains a man. Yes, it is no kingdom of shades, it is indeed the real existence, without detraction, without dreary confusion. Slug is moving on the world and the world will not mind subjecting itself to it.






Some strange and very new sensation was slowly filling him. He realized that this sensation wasn’t actually new, that it had long been hiding somewhere inside him, but he only now became aware of it, and everything fell into place. And an idea, which had previously seemed like nonsense, like the insane ravings of a senile old man, turned out to be his sole hope and his sole meaning of life. It was only now that he’d understood—the one thing that he still had left, the one thing that had kept him afloat in recent months, was the hope for a miracle. He, the idiot, the dummy, had been spurning this hope, trampling on it, mocking it, drinking it away—because that’s what he was used to and because his whole life, ever since his childhood, he had never relied on anyone but himself. And ever since his childhood, this self-reliance had always been measured by the amount of money he managed to wrench, wrestle, and wring out of the surrounding indifferent chaos. That’s how it had always been, and that’s how it would have continued, if he hadn’t found himself in a hole from which no amount of money could rescue him, in which self-reliance was utterly pointless. And now this hope—no longer the hope but the certainty of a miracle—was filling him to the brim, and he was already amazed that he’d managed to live in such a bleak, cheerless gloom …

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