translated by Rebecca Bella Wangh & Katya Nanson

 

 

In his nape, they cut out a segment-shaped section. Along with the sun, the whole world gazes at it. This unnerves him, distracts him from his work, and furthermore, makes him cross, that he alone should be excluded from the spectacle.

 

At this very time, he is colliding with a decisive historical moment, when it seems that everything is in question, when laws, beliefs, the State, the world on the Other Side, and the world of the past—everything—without work or effort is slipping into non-existence.

 

The messiah will come only when the need for him has passed; he will come the day after the Coming—not on the last day, but on the very last day.

 

To the touch, his ear is fresh, scratchy, moist, juicy—like a leaf.

 

Just a word, just a prayer, just a sigh, just the confirmation that you are still alive and waiting. No, it doesn’t even take prayer—just a sigh, not even a sigh—just a presence, not even a presence—just a thought, not even a thought, just the quiet of sleep.

 

Messianic time is the operative one, the one that pulses in the gut of chronological time, hurries and corrodes it, transforms it from within; this is the time we need to bring time to its end, and thus, messianic time is the time that is left.

 

Dispersed throughout the whole body (apparatus) of Europe is this feeling, which must be escorted further—where it will spread like smoke.

 

He is not perceived by any sensation, his embodiment does not have any presence in the world; it gushes out of joyful tears. Thus, it is sublime, an imperceptible affectation, a presence perceived only by the heart. How can it appear in the flesh, when the preacher only talks about it? He is not the one who brings the tears. We cry by Grace.

 

A short, painful prick on the right, below the eye.

The true picture of the past slips away. The past can only be captured as a vision, flaring up, knowable but for a minute, never to return again. After all, this fleeting image of the past is under threat of dissolution at any appearance of the present, for the present is incapable of seeing itself by inference in that image of the past.1

 

For this world in its present form is passing away.2

 

Terrorists are those who, in desiring absolute freedom, know that they desire their own deaths. They see the freedom they are defending as the consummation of their own death; thus, while still alive, they function not as living people among the living, but as beings deprived of their being, like general ideas, pure abstractions; beyond history, they hold court and pass judgment in the name of all of history in its entirety.3

 

If our assumption of chronological time as the time in which we are positioned separates us from ourselves, turns us into powerless spectators of our own selves with no time (except to gaze at the fleeting time, and our own unceasing lack of our selves), then messianic time, as the operative time that we seize and fill with our assumptions of time, is the time of which we are made; the only real time, the only kind of time we really have.

 

I am writing this precisely because of the despair I feel on account of my own body, of the future of this body.

 

I can’t light the fire. I don’t know the prayers. I can’t yet find the place in the woods.  I can’t even tell the story. All I can do is tell about how I can’t tell this story any more. And this should be enough.

 

As soon as a classless society was identified as the endless task, empty and homogenous time was immediately transformed, into an anteroom of sorts, where one could await, in relative calm, the arrival of a revolutionary situation. Yet
in reality, there is not one moment that does not contain its own revolutionary possibility. One must simply understand it as specific, as the chance for a completely new determination, required by an entirely new task. 

 

A revolutionary thinker confirms specific revolutionary possibilities in the context of the given political situation. But to no less an extent, a key act of violent momentum against the distinctly locked quietude of the past also serves as an affirmation. Intrusion into this quietude strongly coincides with political action, and through this intrusion, the action, however disruptive, makes itself known as a messianic one.4

 

Take me into your embrace, into its depth. If you don’t want to now, let it be—later.5

 

And on that day, each prophet will be ashamed of the vision that he proclaims.

 

What matter who’s speaking.6

 

Pressed between prophecy and anxiety. You are always remembering that this too will happen, and the only part that is happening is the part you should remember about it. And this “ought to be enough.” It should even be enough to remember that you should remember. It should likewise be enough to remember that you don’t remember any more. That alone should be enough to protect the infinite and the awaited.

 

I walk by a brothel as if by my sweetheart’s house.

 

A seamstress in the streaming rain.

 

The realm of the messianic is not the end of time, but the time of the end.

 

The purpose of wandering is the desert itself and as it draws near, it henceforward becomes the new Promised Land.

 

 

2002

 

1 Walter Benjamin, Notes on the Concept of History, Thesis V

2 Paul the Apostle, 1st Corinthians 7:29, Holy Bible, New International Version

3 Maurice Blanchot, The Work of Fire, p. 320.

4 Walter Benjamin, Notes on the Concept of History, final thesis.

5 From Kafka's diary

6 Marcel Foucault citing Samuel Beckett.

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