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  • Writer's pictureCorbin Allardice

October 8, 1911

Two weeks.

I’ve been living without self-consciousness. I’m almost well. But something is missing. What? I do ugly things, for I am full of pettiness and malice which leap, from time to time, out of their hiding place. I am very weak. The least change in my life kills all self-consciousness; it is as if I become drunk, entirely without will. I have caprices in place of will.


These present moments will, too, effect my future life. What am I doing? Borrowing books. That is bad, and yet it is [my] best. Am I not spinning around, like a malfunctioning machine? I am becoming idiotic. My speech--without mind. I can’t think--soon all manner of images will dance out, pestering me and following me about. I am supposedly apathetic towards people. A lie. I don’t want to be apathetic. But my apathy, my dead will, wants nothing.


And why am I not afraid in the face of nothing, and why am I ashamed of nothing? Do I speak only of myself--and not of some distance other, who is not concerned with me? I am a nest of illness and ugliness--which I am not afraid of? I am without fear, because calm and calming is--madness. She [madness] solves everything, liberates from anything. She caresses and cradles like a good mother. No, that’s not it. Things are not so light for me, I am not free. Rather, this is all some enduring intoxication.


An individual[ity] is, of course, frightened in the face of dissolution; I do not need to be afraid.* I am not. For me, there are no dangers. I am unworried, like the frog with its brain removed.**


I tell myself: these are symptoms of illness. You are sick--heal yourself, and not your ratiocinations.*** Must every sick man heal? Yes. Sick men profane life. Their psyche is rot.


So it was. Someone locked me in a circle. Did I draw the circle myself, am I drawing it?


By Moyshe Varshe

Translated by Corbin Allardice


*- In Varshe’s usage, as in contemporaneous sources, the word tsufalung denotes rotting, decaying, dissolution, collapsing, and so on. It is, for instance, used to translate bot Verfaulung [rotting] and Auflösung [dissolution] in the Communist Manifesto.

**- It is unclear if this is a specific textual allusion, or perhaps a broader reference to experiments involving dead frogs, perhaps specifically the ostensible animation of their bodies through electric shocks?

***- Khakire/חקירה, meaning “philosophical speculation.”


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