Category Archives: Musil

(..) einiges nicht in Ordnung

“Er hat sich augenblicklich zu der Erkenntnis durchgerungen, dass es in der Geschichte der Menschheit kein freiwilliges Zurück gibt. Aber das Erschwerende ist, dass wir ja auch kein brauchbares Vorwärts haben. Gestatten Sie mir, es als eine merkwürdige Lage zu bezeichnen, wenn es weder vorwärts noch zurück geht und der gegenwärtige Augenblick auch als unerträglich empfunden wird.”
R. Musil, Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften, RoRoRo, 1978, p. 272.

[Amateuristic English translation: “He immediately came to the insight that, in human history, there’s no voluntary going back. But the really aggravating circumstance is that there is also no useful way forward. Allow me to put it to you that it is a most curious situation in which there is neither a way forward nor a way back and in which the current moment is also considered as equally unbearable.”]

[Re-osted from The Old Site, original dd. 15-04-201. This is the last one, if you find more here, they will be new.]

It’s definitely a bummer to think you’re at least somewhat original – and then reread something you read so long ago you couldn’t precisely remember why it
retained the impression of greatness … just to find that much of where you thought you were original wasn’t just anticipated but anticipated by something you can’t honestly claim not to have known!

Anyway, the twin monsters of ‘The Meaning of Life’ are cultural pessimism and utopianism, or in other words absolutism and essentialism. Looking back to the more innocent times of the past, or longing for the times to come where we will be finally redeemed and saved from all this mess which is the current.

The monsters are twins and therefore share the same genetic code: Continue reading


‘Ausserdem lehrt die Zoologie dass aus einer Summe von reduzierten Individuen sehr wohl ein geniales Ganzes bestehen kann.
Robert Musil, Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften, Band I, p. 32, Rowholt (rororo), 1978.

[Amateuristic English translation below: “Besides, Zoology teaches us that out of the sum of reduced individuals may well emerge a brilliant whole.”]

[Re-posted from The Old Site, original dd. 18-03-2010. Ah, my Musil period ;-]

I’m tired. I could just go with the irony of this & make it easy on myself. Heroism is, after all, the easiest interpretation of human value. Heroism combined with some praise of the supporting sheepishness, insofar as it supports the survival of the heroic queen bee. This is after all the classical conservative worldview of the many that are merely the fuel for the engine of greatness that, from time to time, delivers a prophet or a sage or an enlightened philosopher or a paradigm-shifting artist.

But I won’t make it that easy on myself. Continue reading