Tuesday, August 26, 2008

# 64- The Other Side of the World - Pashinyan

64. ամբոխները խելագարված

Երբ աչքերս բացեցի, Պավել Իվանիչը էլի նստած էր կուպեի նեղ սեղանի մոտ եւ ուռած աչքերով նայում էր իր առաջ դրած խոշոր բաժակին:

The other side of the world
- N Pashinyan

64. The Mobs Gone Wild

When I opened my eyes, Pavel Ivanich was sitting again by the narrow table of the cabin and with his eyes swollen; he was looking at the large glass before him. He was looking in such a way that I couldn’t decided whether he considered that glass his friend or his enemy. Maybe that’s how they looked at women they loved, the ones they suspected of adultery. In the same way, it wasn’t clear if the glass was a friend or an enemy. This time he didn’t offer me any, and downed the contents of the glass with the expression of someone climbing Golgotha, the cross on his shoulder. I kept witnessing the same scene periodically on the second day, and started to think that he was intentionally waiting for me to wake up. Maybe he needed an audience, maybe it helped when I watched him, or maybe he had to have a quick drink after waking up and head for the bathroom, so that I didn’t use it before he did. He came out of the bathroom all freshened up, shaven. I took a bath as well, but didn’t shave. And when I had dressed up, he said, with certainly, ‘let’s go.’ I realized that he was referring to getting some coffee, but didn’t say anything:

“Aren’t you coming to have coffee?”

“No,” I said.

“You’re not dinking coffee?”

“I will.”



“Later when?”

“Let’s say, in a half hour.”

“Okay, then, in a half hour,” said Pavel and sat down.

“You go ahead,” I advised him.

“I’m drinking coffee in half an hour,”

“I’m the one who’s drinking coffee in a half hour,” I answered, and realized that there was something adolescent in my behavior.

“So are you saying that it’s not when you’ll be having coffee but that you don’t want to drink it with me?”

“I’ve decided that I want to drink it alone.”

“If you have something to say, say it.”

“What should I say? You know what I mean. And then, what would be the use?”

“The meaning of what?”

“Saying anything to you.”

“Let’s say, listening.”

“Listening to what?” I didn’t understand him.

“That, which I will say in answer to you,” explained Pavel and asked, “are you judging me?”

“Isn’t it obvious?”

“And how do you know that I’m saying anything that should be judged?”

“You said it.”

“Very well. So, if you’re so honest, go ahead and tell me something from your own life and activities so that I may have the chance to judge you. I said things to you, I revealed things to you; you should do the same so we’ll be talking on the same level.”

I was quiet and said nothing. Pavel was patiently following my silence:

“Oh, sure, ‘blin’ you’re an angel. Why didn’t I notice it before?” he scorned and continued, “so, admit it, admit it, you’re an angel and I ask your forgiveness on bended knee. I only hope that your name is not Gabriel.”

“Listen, can you come for coffee?” I asked.

“I promise to come, if you promise to confess something from your life, so that I may have the chance to look down at you. I hope you won’t insist that there are no such things in your life.”

“So you’re a father confessor now, are you? Why should I confess anything to you?”

“Didn’t I confess to you?” Pavel was surprised.

“You didn’t confess. You were telling me things to shock me, so that I would admire you and think that you’re a tough guy.”

“Sure; and aren’t I powerful? I have a 10 thousand dollar watch on my wrist.”

“You’re a falsifier, my friend.”

“Yup, that’s true. And aren’t you a falsifier? You falsify in the way you can, and I falsify in my own way, in the way that I can. Forgery-Morgery. And hasn’t it ever occurred to you that honesty is a form of falsification?” asked Pavel.

“Ah, so now you’re a thinker. But I admit, I didn’t think that your kind is so wide-spread in the world. You know, I even agree with your idea that everyone falsifies. But you know that falsifiers are divided into two groups. The first group tries to overcome the forgery, to be free of the forgery they’re stuck with, and to struggle against it, meaning that you struggle against yourself. But the second tries to further enrich the soil for falsification. And do you know how it’s done? It’s done through the use of very simple and readily understandable sentences. It’s all the same, everyone falsifies; everyone will falsify, and nothing changes, all men are animals. Maybe it’s true; maybe all men are animals. But those who comment on that calmly and with smiling faces are simply struggling to keep their right to be animals, they’re simply trying to justify their animalism, and most importantly, not to be responsible for their being animals and turning others into animals. Do you see where the difference is? Both groups make mistakes and are guilty, and those are sometimes of equal weight. But do you know the difference between them?”

“Explain it to me, explain it,” Pavel said, waving his hand and with an unpleasant expression on his face.

“The difference is that, let’s say one group lives untroubled in guile, while the other group moves away from it through an exerted effort. It happens that sometimes that group relapses into excrement; and it’s possible that they may come out of that excrement, and then turn around and fall into garbage.”

“Just a second. I don’t get it. Which one of the two groups is in your heart?” asked Pavel.

“The one that comes out of the trash, and falls into the other, of course.”

Pavel began laughing loudly.

“You’re laughing because you don’t understand. Because the man who comes out of guile, falls into the trash is, however full he may be of guile, is still a man. But he who lives in guile happily and with contentment becomes, even in his own eyes, an insignificant and common hookworm. But he who struggles against his own dirty reality, that is, first of all against himself, his own weaknesses, his own sins, his fears, his brown-nosing, has the chance of finding himself in a totally different environment, has the chance of shaping a totally different environment, and can become a part of a totally different environment. But the others don’t want that chance. They are born as human beings, but die as animals.”

“And do you know anyone who has not died as an animal?” Pavel was trying to counter argue.

“I can give you scores, hundreds of names, but I won’t, because your problem, excuse me, is born of the herd mentality and unfortunately it’s the herd mentality that reigns in may parts of the world today. Do you know what that is? A lot of people think ‘Everyone behaves that way, so will I.’ Or the opposite ‘if someone can do that, than so can I.’ This is the logic of the herd because just as you ask ‘do you know anyone who hasn’t died as an animal,’ I can ask you: do you know anyone who was born before? My friend, isn’t it clear that man differs from the animal in that he, I mean every individual, must have his own unique, irreproducible, path and options? And he who tries to construct his personal life only on the example of others, simply takes the human race closer to the herd.”

“Nobody takes it closer to nothing. The human race is itself a herd,” insisted Pavel.

“You know what, my brother, that’s already a matter of taste. People who think like that only justify the fact that they’re animals,’ I threw out.

Pavel was furious:

“But why, isn’t the thing called people a herd—a mob and nothing else.”

I became equally furious:

“I admit, I can tell you’ve been schooled. If you say mob, okay, let it be a mob. But you haven’t understood, and will not understand, that what you call a mob is only the response to the reality that you and the likes of you create. You consider us animals? Well, then, enjoy what you’ve cooked up, you animals.”

Pavel was worried:

“The mob crucified Christ,” he said.

“It’s you and I who crucify Christ every day. The mob did that which it had to do, that which was predestined for it to do,” I said.

“C’mon, let’s go have some coffee—like brothers,” said Pavel.

“Let’s go,” I said.

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