Sunday, March 18, 2012

Number Seventy-Six

Dieses Gefühl: »hier ankere ich nicht« - und gleich die wogende, tragende Flut um sich fühlen! Ein Umschwung. Lauernd, ängstlich, hoffend umschleicht die Antwort die Frage, sucht verzweifelt in ihrem unzugänglichen Gesicht, folgt ihr auf den sinnlosesten, das heißt von der Antwort möglichst wegstrebenden Wegen.

This feeling: "Here I shall not anchor" -- and instantly to feel the billowing, supporting swell around one! *A veering round. Peering, timid, hopeful, the answer prowls round the question, desperately looking into its impenetrable face, following it along the most senseless paths, that is, along the paths leading as far as possible away from the answer. [Kaiser/Wilkins]

The feeling: "I'm not dropping anchor here," and straightaway the feeling of the sustaining sea-swell around one. // A reversal. Lurking, fretful, hoping, the answer creeps around the question, peers despairingly into its averted face, follows it on its most abstruse journeys -- that is, those that have least to do with the answer. [Hofmann]


Kaiser/Wilkins marks the first half of this one cancelled, while Hofmann simply notes a break.

It is a relief to be provisional.

The answers do not eliminate the questions but only accompany them. Questions are eliminated when they are shown up as false questions; a real question does not get eliminated. They can be dropped, but they don't fade like abandoned things. After eight hundred years they are every bit as fresh and dewy and painful and humiliating as ever. Becoming a question is a key to immortality.

Here's how I would translate the opening of the second part: "A drastic change. Lying in wait, anxious, trusting, the answer pads along beside the question, gazing earnestly into its aloof face ..." The idea here is that the answer is the question's dog. There is no search for the answer, actually the answer is searching out the question, but when it finds its question, there must be an acknowledgement. Instead, the question simply goes on about its business like always, because it is a part of things, and can't be dismissed by an answer.

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