All arts aspire to the condition of Musil
“But how, Diotima wondered, can humanity provide itself even with roast chicken without violence?"I'm not the only one who thinks this great Austrian writer has something to say to crime fiction readers and writers. Here's a comment David Whish-Wilson posted on one of my previous Musil posts:
*“Moosbrugger’s experience and conviction was that one could not pick any one thing out all by itself, because each one hangs together with the next one." [Moosbrugger is a murderer.]
*“And yet such examples of lying ‘between’ are provided by every moral maxim, for instance by the well-known and simple one: thou shalt not kill. One can see at the first glance that it is neither a verity nor a subjective statement. We know that in many respects we keep to it strictly; in other respects certain very numerous but precisely defined exceptions are admitted. But in a very large number of cases of a third kind, as for instance in the imagination, in our desires, in the drama, or in the enjoyment of newspaper reports, we roam in a quite unregulated manner between abhorrence and allurement."
*“Man’s feeling towards this maxim is a mixture of blockheaded obedience (including the ‘healthy nature’ that refuses even to think of such a thing, but, if just slightly deranged by alcohol or passion, instantly does it) and thoughtless splashing in a wave of possibilities."
*“But I’m just trying to show you that people like that, who lose their balance so easily, are extremely unpleasant. Impartiality is an attitude one can only really adopt towards them when it’s someone else who is taking the beating. Then, I grant you, they bring out the very tenderest feelings in us, then they’re the victims of a social system, or of fate. You must admit nobody can be blamed for his faults if one looks at them through his own eyes. For him, at the worst they’re mistakes or bad qualities that don’t make the person as a whole any the less good. And of course he’s perfectly right.'"
*“All the same, the result was that crime, love and melancholy had fused in her to form one circuit of ideas, one that was highly dangerous."
Re Musil and crime (and more broadly, the human condition), I chose this quote of his to open my first novel:Happy New Year!
"And with one foot beyond the frontier I declare myself incapable of going further. For one step beyond the point where we have halted - and we should move out of the realm of stupidity, which is even still full of variety, and into the realm of wisdom, territory that is bleak and in general shunned..."
© Peter Rozovsky 2012