For a torture to be effective, the pain has to be spread out; it has to come at regular intervals, with no end in sight. The water falls , drop after drop after drop, like the second hand of a watch, carving up time. The shock of each individual drop is insignificant, but the sensation is impossible to ignore. At first, one might manage to think about other things, but after five hours, after ten hours, it becomes unendurable. The repeated stimulation excites the nerves to a point where they literally explode, and every sensation in the body is absorbed into that one spot on the forehead---indeed, you come to feel that you are nothing but a forehead, into which a fine needle is being forced millimeter by millimeter. You can’t sleep or even speak, hypnotized by a suffering that is greater than any mere pain. In general, the victim goes mad before a day has passed.
In my own shire, if I was sadHomely comforters I had:The earth, because my heart was sore,Sorrowed for the son she bore;And standing hills, long to remain,Shared their short-lived comrade's pain.And bound for the same bourn as I,On every road I wandered by,Trod beside me, close and dear,The beautiful and death-struck year:Whether in the woodland brownI heard the beechnut rustle down,And saw the purple crocus paleFlower about the autumn dale;Or littering far the fields of MayLady-smocks a-bleaching lay,And like a skylit water stoodThe bluebells in the azured wood. Yonder, lightening other loads,The season range the country roads,But here in London streets I kenNo such helpmates, only men;And these are not in plight to bear,If they would, another's care.They have enough as 'tis: I seeIn many an eye that measures meThe mortal sickness of a mindToo unhappy to be kind.Undone with misery, all they canIs to hate their fellow man;And till they drop they needs must stillLook at you and wish you ill.
I must have had some high object in life, for I feel unbounded strength within me. But I never discovered it and was carried away by the allurements of empty, un-rewarding passions. I was tempered in their flames and came out cold and hard as steel, but I'd lost forever that fire of noble endeavour, that finest flower of life. How many time since then have I been an axe in the hands of fate? Like an engine of execution, I've descended on the heads of the condemned, often without malice, but always without pity. My love has brought no one happiness, for I've never sacrificed a thing for those I've loved. I've loved for myself, for my own pleasure, I've only tried to satisfy a strange inner need. I've fed on their feelings, love, joys and sufferings, and always wanted more. I'm like a starving man who falls asleep exhausted and sees rich food and sparkling wines before him. He rapturously falls on these phantom gifts of the imagination and feels better, but the moment he wakes up his dream disappears and he's left more hungry and desperate than before.
What are the dead, anyway, but waves and energy? Light shining from a dead star?That, by the way, is a phrase of Julian's. I remember it from a lecture of his on the Iliad, when Patroklos appears to Achilles in a dream. There is a very moving passage where Achilles overjoyed at the sight of the apparition – tries to throw his arms around the ghost of his old friend, and it vanishes. The dead appear to us in dreams, said Julian, because that's the only way they can make us see them; what we see is only a projection, beamed from a great distance, light shining at us from a dead star…Which reminds me, by the way, of a dream I had a couple of weeks ago.I found myself in a strange deserted city – an old city, like London – underpopulated by war or disease. It was night; the streets were dark, bombed-out, abandoned. For a long time, I wandered aimlessly – past ruined parks, blasted statuary, vacant lots overgrown with weeds and collapsed apartment houses with rusted girders poking out of their sides like ribs. But here and there, interspersed among the desolate shells of the heavy old public buildings, I began to see new buildings, too, which were connected by futuristic walkways lit from beneath. Long, cool perspectives of modern architecture, rising phosphorescent and eerie from the rubble.I went inside one of these new buildings. It was like a laboratory, maybe, or a museum. My footsteps echoed on the tile floors.There was a cluster of men, all smoking pipes, gathered around an exhibit in a glass case that gleamed in the dim light and lit their faces ghoulishly from below.I drew nearer. In the case was a machine revolving slowly on a turntable, a machine with metal parts that slid in and out and collapsed in upon themselves to form new images. An Inca temple… click click click… the Pyramids… the Parthenon.History passing beneath my very eyes, changing every moment.'I thought I'd find you here,' said a voice at my elbow.It was Henry. His gaze was steady and impassive in the dim light. Above his ear, beneath the wire stem of his spectacles, I could just make out the powder burn and the dark hole in his right temple.I was glad to see him, though not exactly surprised. 'You know,' I said to him, 'everybody is saying that you're dead.'He stared down at the machine. The Colosseum… click click click… the Pantheon. 'I'm not dead,' he said. 'I'm only having a bit of trouble with my passport.''What?'He cleared his throat. 'My movements are restricted,' he said.'I no longer have the ability to travel as freely as I would like.'Hagia Sophia. St. Mark's, in Venice. 'What is this place?' I asked him.'That information is classified, I'm afraid.'1 looked around curiously. It seemed that I was the only visitor.'Is it open to the public?' I said.'Not generally, no.'I looked at him. There was so much I wanted to ask him, so much I wanted to say; but somehow I knew there wasn't time and even if there was, that it was all, somehow, beside the point.'Are you happy here?' I said at last.He considered this for a moment. 'Not particularly,' he said.'But you're not very happy where you are, either.'St. Basil's, in Moscow. Chartres. Salisbury and Amiens. He glanced at his watch.'I hope you'll excuse me,' he said, 'but I'm late for an appointment.'He turned from me and walked away. I watched his back receding down the long, gleaming hall.
Why kid ourselves, people have nothing to say to one another, they all talk about their own troubles and nothing else. Each man for himself, the earth for us all. They try to unload their unhappiness on someone else when making love, they do their damnedest, but it doesn't work, they keep it all, and then they start all over again, trying to find a place for it. "Your pretty, Mademoiselle," they say. And life takes hold of them again until the next time, and then they try the same little gimmick. "You're very pretty, Mademoiselle..."And in between they boast that they've succeeded in getting rid of their unhappiness, but everyone knows it's not true and they've simply kept it all to themselves. Since at the little game you get uglier and more repulsive as you grow older, you can't hope to hide your unhappiness, your bankruptcy, any longer. In the end your features are marked with that hideous grimace that takes twenty, thrity years or more to climb form your belly to your face. That's all a man is good for, that and no more, a grimace that he takes a whole lifetime to compose. The grimace a man would need to express his true soul without losing any of it is so heavy and complicated that he doesn't always succeed in completing it.
When I was in junior high, I used to think I would turn out to be one of the guys, and boys would say, 'Oh, you're so great,' but they wouldn't date me. I thought I wasn't pretty enough. But then I got to Ault and first of all, I'm not really friends with any guys. And then, with you this year, I thought, if Cross will keep hooking up with me, maybe I'm okay after all. But time passed and I never became your girlfriend. And so then I thought, not only was I wrong, but my life turned out to be the opposite of what I expected. Meaning, it wasn't my appearance--that's not the bad thing about me. It's my personality. But how do I know which part? I have no idea. I've tried to think about if it's one thing in isolation or everything together, or what can I do to fix it, or how can I convince you. Then I thought, maybe it is my looks, maybe I was right before. And I never figured it out. Obviously, I didn't. But I've spent a lot of time this year trying. And the reason I'm telling you all this is that I want you to know no one in my life has ever made me feel worse about myself than you.
But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness, I want sin.''In fact,' said Mustapha Mond, 'you're claiming the right to be unhappy.' 'All right then,' said the Savage defiantly, 'I'm claiming the right to be unhappy.''Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.' There was a long silence. 'I claim them all,' said the Savage at last.Mustapha Mond shrugged his shoulders. 'You're welcome," he said.