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A Dilemma

Why people don't go out and get better jobs, or finally come to some sense of themselves which might allow a more profitable exploitation . . . On the one hand, there are too many people—you cannot kill them all, you cannot find a logic quite sufficient to do this. And if they will not die quickly enough with sickness, or tiredness, old age and the like, then at least they can be confined to those places where one will not have to, simply, consider them.

A logic is fashioned like this, a logic of impenetrable worthiness. It follows that, between a man and his wife, there must be constantly some means whereby she can spit on him—and he, likewise, on her. Love, at best, will become a question of sensation. And on good days she will sigh, "my lover . . . ," and on bad days she will spit, "my lover . . . ," etc. He will live in a room. With luck, someone will buy him, i.e., someone also bought, and so with means, will buy him—which is the hierarchy of how to live, literally. To make money—at the first, enough to live on, by which I mean, to eat with, to be clothed with, and then, very soon, also to allow that better stance, to be 'better' clothed, and so on.

But some people, if they are still 'people,' have been removed from this by war, by 'depression' areas, by many things finally, in terms of which they are neither very interesting nor important. And let me make very clear that this is not a question of any bitterness or sentimentality or whatever. Some people cannot 'live' any-

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more. There is neither reason for them to nor room nor means nor values, nor any of those things by which others, certainly more fortunate, may still claim 'significance.' And by much the same token, it is a little hysterical to feel our own securities are endangered by the specific reality of something like the hydrogen bomb, i.e., suppose one were to install, say, plumbing in a house, a toilet and all that, and then the toilet is flushed, and, all things being equal—can it be a surprise, or even the point, that (of course!) the toilet flushed?

Heretofore our dangers have been of two kinds, the one (big) metaphoric and the other (contained) literal. So that to trip on a stone, then, meant, (a) we stubbed a toe (literal) and (b) this pain was token of the possibility of all pain, accident, and what might happen (metaphoric). Now enough is accomplished to make an end to that, i.e., we can have the two as one. We can all die at one time.

Which is not, really, a relief. It might be, just as for some people any death not now too painful, not too long, might be. What is there for an alternative except the dreary love too often exercised as it is. Belief—in what. And so on. Dead people already, at best.

I am sorry myself not to care anymore, or not to care for much beyond one or two things. That, say, to love anyone becomes more impossible. "I did love . . . ," one says, etc. I still want to, etc. Perhaps against the distortion, lying, deceit, viciousness, horror, cruelty, and all that, it will still be possible to make that most minimal of defenses—at least the knowledge that there might be others likewise confronted.


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