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"...from the outset words had worked to drive me farther and farther from the group. moreover, feeling as I did that I lacked the physical ability to blend with the group, and that I was therefore constantly rejected by it, i desired somehow to justify myself. it was this desire that led me to polish words so assiduously, with the natural result that the kind of words i dealt in constantly rejected the significance of the group. or should I say that the rain of words that fell so steadily within me during the period when my existence was barely adumbrated, like a rain that begins falling before the break of dawn, was, in itself, a forecast of my inability to adopt the group. the first thing I did in life was to build up a self amidst that rain.

 

the intuition of my infancy - the intuitive sense that the group represented the principle of the flesh - was correct. to this day, i have never once felt the need to amend it. but it was only in later years, when I first came to know what I have called the dawn of the flesh - that rosy vertigo that descends on one after grueling work of the body and intense fatigue that I began to perceive the significance of the group.

 

the group was concerned with all those things that can never emerge from words - sweat, and tears, and cries of joy and pain. if one probed deeper still, it was concerned with the blood that words could never cause to flow. the reason perhaps why the testaments of the doomed are oddly remote from the individual expression, impressing one rather with their stereotyped quality, is that they are the words of the flesh.

 

at the moment when i first realized that the use of strength and the ensuing fatigue, the sweat and the blood, could reveal to my eyes that sacred, ever-swaying blue that the shrine bearers gazed on together, and could confer the glorious sense of being the same as others, i already had a foresight perhaps, of that as yet distant day when I should step beyond the realm of individuality into which I had been driven by words and awaken to the meaning of the group.

 

there is, of course, such a thing as the language of the group but it is in no sense a self-sufficient language. a speech, a slogan, and the words of a play all depend on the physical presence of the public speaker, the campaigner, the actor. whether it is written down on paper or shouted aloud, the language of the group resolves itself ultimately into physical expression. it is not a language for transmitting private messages from the solitude of one closed room to the solitude of another distant, closed room. the group is a concept of uncommunicable shared suffering, a concept that ultimately rejects the agency of words.

 

for shared suffering, more than anything else, is the ultimate opponent of verbal expression. not even the mightiest weltschmerz in the heart of the solitary writer, billowing upwards to the starry heavens like some great circus tent, can create a community of shared suffering. for though verbal expression may convey pleasure or grief, it cannot convey shared pain; though pleasure may be readily fired by ideas, only bodies, placed under the same circumstances, can experience a common suffering.

 

only through the group, i realized - through sharing the suffering of the group - could the body reach that height of existence that the individual alone could never attain. and for the body to reach that level at which the divine might be glimpsed, a dissolution of the individuality was necessary. the tragic quality of the group was also necessary - the quality that constantly raised the group out of the abandon and torpor into which it was prone to lapse, leading it on to ever-mounting shared suffering and so to death, which was the ultimate suffering. the group must be open to death - which meant, of course, that it must be a community of warriors...

 

in the dim light of early morning I was running, one of a group. a cotton towel with the symbol of a red sun on it was tied about my forehead, and I was stripped to the waist in the freezing air. through the common suffering, the shared cries of encouragement, the shared pace, and the chorus of voices, i felt the slow emergence, like the sweat that gradually beaded my skin, of that "tragic" quality that is the affirmation of identity. It was a flame of the flesh, flickering up faintly beneath the biting breeze - a flame, one might almost say, of nobility. the sense of surrendering one's body to a cause gave new life to the muscles. we were united in seeking death and glory; it was not merely my personal quest.

 

the pounding of the heart communicated itself to the group; we shared the same swift pulse. self-awareness by now was as remote as the distant rumour of the town. i belonged to them, they belonged to me; the two formed an unmistakable "us". To belong - what more intense form of existence could there be? our small circle of oneness was a means to a vision of that vast, dimly gleaming circle of oneness. and - all the while foreseeing that this imitation of tragedy was, in the same way as my own narrow happiness, condemned to vanish with the wind, to resolve itself into nothing more than muscles that simply existed - i had a vision where something that, if i were alone, would have resolved back into muscles and words, was held fast by the power of the group and led me away to a far land, whence there would be no return. it was, perhaps, the beginning of my placing reliance on others, a reliance that was mutual; and each of us, by commiting himself to this immeasureable power, belonged to the whole.

 

in this way, the group for me, had come to represent a bridge, a bridge that, once crossed, left no means of return."

 

SY january 2008