Let it come with all its horrors

I just remembered a book I read a few years ago when doing a research for my graduate collection. It’s a novel by swedish writer Karin Boye called ‘Kallocain’. Of all the things I read and watched back then this one perhaps made the strongest impression on me. Two and a half years ago I quoted in my sketchbook:

“I have wondered for years where that place might be. If we will reach it after we have devoured our neighbor-state, or the neighbor-state has devoured us? Will roads then spring up as easily between human beings as they grow between cities and districts? Let it come soon then! Let it come – come with all its horrors! Or wouldn’t even that be enough? Will the armored tank have grown so strong before that time that it no longer can be transformed from a god into a tool? Can ever a god, even if he is the deadest of all gods, surrender his power voluntarily? – I wanted so to believe there was a green depth in the human being, a sea of undefiled growing-power that melted all dead remnants in its crucible and healed and created in eternity. . . .  But I have not seen it. What I do know is that by sick parents and sick teachers still sicker children are being brought up, until the sick has now become the norm and the healthy a horror. From lone beings are born even lonelier, from the frightened come more frightened ones. . . .  Where might even one seed of health be hiding away, that could grow and burst through the armor? . . .  Those poor people whom we called lunatics played with their symbols. It was at least something, at least they knew there was something they missed. As long as they knew what they were doing at least something was left. But it doesn’t lead anywhere! Where can anything lead! If I should shout at a Metro station when the multitudes emerge, or at a great festival with a loudspeaker in front of me – yet my shouts would only reach a few eardrums in the million-mile Worldstate, and would bounce back as a vacuous sound. I am a cog. I am a being who has been robbed of life. . . . And yet: just now I know it is not the truth. It must be the Kallocain, I guess, that makes me unreasonably hopeful – everything seems easy and clear and peaceful. I am still alive – in spite of all they have robbed me of – and just     now I know that what I am goes somewhere. I have seen the powers of death spread through the world in ever widening waves – but then must not the powers of life also have their waves, even though I have been unable to discern them? . . .  Oh well – I know it is the effect of the Kallocain, but even so – why couldn’t it be the truth?”



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