This is about an experience I had about a year ago (in my thirtieth year) and was exactly the opposite of Lenin’s when he sat through one of Beethoven’s sonatas. – It was a small tropical fish in an aquarium in a zoo, of the most unheard of, unnameable colors. Colors, at the sight of which I could have howled, I mean, given my life – and that each time made me understand, that I would always forget everything before such glory. – Lenin, at the time, said about his sonata, this sonata is glorious – and it is not for us – for us right now, it is a question of knocking together heads (i.e., broadening a way on which many persons could find a way to this beautiful entrance). Bur here, standing before the fish (and similar to the fish had I felt the same many times before certain visions of Balzac: the Grenadiere, Colonel Chabert, the Medecin de Campagne), I believed that I knew, down to my deepest foundation, that I could never my whole life long become political (that is, overwhelmingly so). Not for instance that I deluded myself into thinking I was thereby assuming a higher standpoint! It was simply a question of belonging, conditioned through the person. One cannot be more and will as Lenin, only other and other.” – Ludwig Hohl
MANY YEARS LATER as he faced the firing squad, Roger Gathman was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover
ice. Or rather, to discover the profit making potential of selling bags of ice to picnicking Atlantans, the most glorious of the old man's Get Rich schemes, the one that devoured the most energy, the one that seemed so rational for a time, the one that, like all the others - the farm, the housebuilding business, the plastic sign business, chimney cleaning, well drilling, candy machine renting - was drawn by an inexorable black hole that opened up between skill and lack of business sense, imagination and macro-economics, to blow a huge hole in the family savings account. But before discovering the ice machine at 12, Roger had discovered many other things - for instance, he had a distinct memory of learning how to tie his shoes. It was in the big colonial, a house in the Syracuse metro area that had been built to sell and that stubbornly wouldn't - hence, the family had moved into it. He remembered bending over the shoes, he remembered that clumsy feeling in his hands - clumsiness, for the first time, had a habitation, it was made up of this obscure machine, the shoe, and it presaged a lifetime of struggle with machine after machine.