“…you know, sometimes an electric lightbulb goes out all of a sudden. Fizzles, you say. And this burned-out bulb, if you shake it, it flashes again and it’ll burn a little longer. Inside the bulb it’s a disaster. The wolfram filaments are breaking up, and when the fragments touch, life returns to the bulb. A brief, unnatural, undeniably doomed life—a fever, a too-bright incandescence, a flash. The comes the darkness, life never returns, and in the darkness the dead, incinerated filaments are just going to rattle around. Are you following me? But the brief flash is magnificent!
“I want to shake…
“I want to shake the heart of a fizzled era. The lightbulb of the heart, so that the broken pieces touch…
“I look into the past of this earth and serious myriads of tragic shadows floating slowly over climes and ages! Their hands stretch hopelessly into space, their bony ribs tear through the lean, thin skin, their eyes are filled with tears, and their sighs have dried up their throats. I see blood and madness, violence and falsehood, I hear their oaths, which they constantly betray, their prayers to God, in which, with every word of mercy and forgiveness, they curse their own earth. Wherever I look, I see the earth smoking in convulsion; no matter in which direction I strain my ear, I hear everywhere unceasing moans: or is the womb of the earth itself filled with moaning? I see a myriad cups about me, but no matter which of them my lips may touch, I find it filled with rust and vinegar: or has man no other drink? And this is man?
I knew them before. I have seen them before. But I looked upon them as Augustus did from his box upon the galaxy of his victims: Ave, Cæsar! These who are about to die salute you. And I looked upon them with the eyes of an eagle and my wise, belaureled head did not disdain to take notice of their groaning cries even with so much as a nod: they came and disappeared, they marched on in endless procession—and endless was the indifference of my Cæsar-like gaze. And now…is it really I who walks on so hastily, playing with the sand of the arena? And am I this dirty, emaciated, hungry slave who lifts his convict face into the air, yelling hoarsely into the indifferent eyes of Fate:
“Ave, Cæsar! Ave, Cæsar!”
I feel a sharp whip upon my back and with a cry of pain I fall to the ground. Is it some Master who is beating me? No, it is another slave, who has been ordered to whip a slave: very soon his knout will be in my hand and his back will be covered with blood and he will be chewing the sand, the sand which now grates between my teeth.”—from Satan’s Diary - Leonid Andreyev. (via cerasiferae)