Fiction Day, reading The Melancholy of Resistance by László Krasznahorkai. Here he describes a group of travelers sitting in a train station waiting for a train that may or may not arrive:
“To tell the truth, none of this really surprised anyone any more since rail travel, like everything else, was subject to the prevailing conditions: all normal expectations went by the board and one’s daily habits were disrupted by a sense of ever-spreading all-consuming chaos which rendered the future unpredictable, the past unrecallable and ordinary life so haphazard that people simply assumed that whatever could be imagined might come to pass, that if there were only one door in a building it would no longer open, that wheat would grow head downwards into the earth not out of it, and that, since one could only note the symptoms of disintegration, the reasons for it remaining unfathomable and inconceivable, there was nothing anyone could do except to get a tenacious grip on anything that was still tangible; which is precisely what people at the village station continued to do when, in hope of taking possession of the essentially limited seating to which they were entitled, they stormed the carriage doors, which being frozen up proved very difficult to open.”
This sense of fatalism and indifference in the face of a world that no longer fits the fictions and habitual notions most of us live by seems to be par for the course as we enter this last age of the human. What do they call it now? Anthropocene? A sort of hyperbole for the cesspool of time…. the drip of toxic soup upon the alter of a bad joke. It’s as if all the ways we’ve represented life to ourselves in philosophical or religious literature were suddenly null and void, as if we might as well chunk it all into a large barrel and burn it to keep warm, because our expectations and reality no longer coalesce. Frank Ruda puts it this way,
“This desire, however, is not caused by the soul itself. It may appear as if it were a product of free self-determination, but it lacks freedom. Thus in order to avoid following a desire that obeys an external form of causality that one does not recognize as what it is (i.e., to not simply follow the solicitations of the body but to act as an embodied free being), the soul has to struggle “with these representations, aiming at instituting other associations than those formed by nature or habit.””1
László Krasznahorkai’s world is one where everything has already happened; where everything has been foretold; where the multiplicity of signs spell utter doom; and, where the scraps of news received day by day offers merely the “omens of what was referred to by a growing number of people as ‘the coming catastrophe’”. As if the event were a thing of the past, seen from the future, a retroactive movement of rupture unfolding from some undefinable and unfathomable collapse of Time.
- Ruda, Frank. Abolishing Freedom: A Plea for a Contemporary Use of Fatalism (Provocations) (Kindle Locations 736-740). UNP – Nebraska. Kindle Edition.