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— “Well, so I maintained that nobody would carry out what he wants even if he could. You remember our files full of suggestions? And now I ask you—is there anyone who would not be at a loss if whatever he had been passionately demanding all his life long were suddenly to happen? If for instance the Kingdom of God were suddenly to burst on the Catholics or the Utopian State on the Socialists? But perhaps that doesn’t prove anything. One gets used to demanding and isn’t ready at a minute’s notice for the realisation of it. Many people may think that only natural. To pursue the enquiry, therefore... Undoubtedly a musician considers music the most important thing there is, and a painter, painting. Probably even a concrete expert thinks the same about the building of concrete houses. Do you think that the one will therefore imagine God Almighty as a super-specialist for reinforced concrete and the others will prefer a painted world, or a world blown on the bugle, to the real one? You will think this question nonsensical, but the deep seriousness of it lies in the fact that one ought to be demanding this nonsense. And please don’t think now that all I mean is that everyone is allured by what is difficult to put into practice and scorns what he can really have. What I do mean is that reality has in itself a nonsensical yearning for unreality.”
— “And what then would you do if you were the ruler of the world for one day?”
— “I suppose I would have no choice but to abolish reality!”
— “I should be very much interested to know how you would do that!”
— “I don’t know myself. I don’t even know exactly what I mean. We infinitely overvalue the present moment, the sense of the present, the Here and Now. I mean, the way you and I are here together now in this valley, as though we had been put into a basket and the lid of the moment had fallen shut. We overvalue that. We shall remember it. Perhaps even a year from now we shall be able to describe how we stood here. But what really moves us, speaking at least for myself, is always—to put it carefully, for I’m not looking for an explanation and a name for it!—to a certain extent in antagonism to this way of experiencing things. It is displaced by so much Here and Now, so much Present. So it can’t force its way through to becoming present!”

Robert Musil, The Man Without Qualities, 1930–1943

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