Is the destruction not, rather, irrefutable proof that the catastrophes which develop, so to speak, in our hands and seem to break out suddenly are a kind of experiment, anticipating the point at which we shall drop out of what we will have thought for so long to be our autonomous history and back into the history of nature?
It was as if an illness that had been latent in me for a long time were now threatening to erupt, as if some soul-destroying and inexorable force had fastened upon me and would gradually paralyze my entire system.
Where I grew up, in a remote village at the back of a valley, the old still thought the dead needed attending to - a notion so universal, it's enscribed in all religions. If you didn't, they might exact revenge upon the living.
Perhaps we all lose our sense of reality to the precise degree to which we are engrossed in our own work, and perhaps that is why we see in the increasing complexity of our mental constructs a means for greater understanding, even while intuitively we know that we shall never be able to fathom the imponderables that govern our course through life.
Anthropological theory assumes that exposure in a treeless situation where all escape upwards was cut off led to the invention of myths. Kafka's ape, dragged into human society, expresses very similar ideas in his 'Report for an Academy'. It is the absence of any way of escape that has forced him to become human himself.
Unfortunately I am a completely impractical person, caught up in endless trains of thought. All of us are fantasists, ill-equipped for life, the children as much as myself. It seems to me sometimes that we never get used to being on this earth and life is just one great, ongoing, incomprehensible blunder.
From the outset my main concern was with the shape and the self-contained nature of discrete things, the curve of banisters on a staircase, the molding of a stone arch over a gateway, the tangled precision of the blades in a tussock of dried grass.
It is a sore point, because you do have advantages if you have access to more than one language. You also have problems, because on bad days you don't trust yourself, either in your first or your second language, and so you feel like a complete halfwit.
To this day there is something illusionistic and illusory about the relationship of time and space as we experience it in traveling, which is why whenever we come home from elsewhere we never feel quite sure if we have really been abroad.
This then, I thought, as I looked round about me, is the representation of history. It requires a falsification of perspective. We, the survivors, see everything from above, see everything at once, and still we do not know how it was.
To set one's name to a work gives no one a title to be remembered, for who knows how many of the best of men have gone without a trace? The iniquity of oblivion blindly scatters her poppyseed and when wretchedness falls upon us one summer's day like snow, all we wish for is to be forgotten.
Because (in principle) things outlast us, they know more about us than we know about them: they carry the experiences they have had with us inside them and are - in fact- the book of our history opened before us.
It is hard, said Mme Landau, when I told her about those railway lessons, in the end it is hard to know what it is that someone dies of. Yes, it is very hard, said Mme Landau, one really doesn't know.
There is a beauty in nature and culture that we no longer have access to. Those things you can't forget, you embroider... The further you tell, the further you travel from truth, which means, of course, that literature is a lie.
From the earliest times, human civilization has been no more than a strange luminescence growing more intense by the hour, of which no one can say when it will begin to wane and when it will fade away.
You could grow up in Germany in the postwar years without ever meeting a Jewish person. There were small communities in Frankfurt or Berlin, but in a provincial town in south Germany, Jewish people didn't exist.
There was nothing he found so unbearable as a well-dusted house, and he never felt more at home than in places where things remained undisturbed, muted under the grey, velvety sinter left when matter dissolved, little by little, into nothingness.