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Ermoza Ben-David

Bar Ilan University, Israel

DANILO KIŠ'S "GARDEN, ASHES":

THE CHARACTER OF THE AUTHOR'S FATHER

Abstract:
Danilo Kiš in his book Garden Ashes writes about his own father, a mad genius and a
Holocaust victim. This essay deals with few different topics. The first theme is how it
is possible to reconstruct the original (the real father), if the childhood experience of
father is an experience of absence, if we have only an incomplete documentation
about him.The Jewishness and madness of the Father is the other theme. Foucault's
reflection about the relationship between madness and European culture proves as
extremely useful to shed light on the Father's madness in the context of the
enlightened Europe. Also, his Jewish destiny and assimilation poses a question
about the essential relationship between Modernity, embodied in Enlightenment, and
the Holocaust. This essay tries to show that the essential link between the Europian
Enlightment (the constitutive movement of European Moderna) and the Haskalah
(the Jewish Enlightment – the constitutive movement of the Jewish assimilation)
consists in an effort to erase the Jewish identity as a nation, to uproot the Jewish
nation – in the name of the fundamental concepts of European moderna, such as
equality and freedom, reason and progress. The hero of this novel, the Father,
personifying (the prototype of the modern Jewish intellectuals, the assimilated Jewish
products of the Moderna, ended up as a victim of the Enlightened values he believed
in.

Key words:

The Holocaust, Totalitarianism, Original, Fiction, Masks -Simulacrum, Madness,


Reason, Jewishness, the Other, the Wandering Jew, Encyclopedia, Enlightenment,
Haskala, Assimilation, Free-Thinkers, Homelessness -Uprootedness, Yellow Star,
Pantheism, Subject, Cogito, Spinoza, Descartes, Nietzsche, Foucault, Adorno-
Horkenheimer.
"My Father first saw the light of day in the western part of Hungary. He
completed trade school in the hometown of a certain Mr. Viraga who,
thanks to Mr. Joyce, would become the famous Leopold Bloom. I
suppose it was because of the liberal politics of Francis Joseph II and
at the same time the desire to assimilate that my grandfather gave his
very young son a Hungarian name. There are, however, many other
elements from our family history that will remain forever obscure
because in 1944 my father along with all of our relatives was taken to
Auschwitz from where almost none of them returned."1
The first page of "The Railway Timetable", edited by Eduard M. Kiš

"This magnificent manuscript had absorbed all cities, all land areas and
all the seas, all the skies, all climates, all meridians. The most remote
cities and islands were joined together in this manuscript in a mosaic,
in an ideal line. Siberia, Kamchatka, Celebes, Ceylon, Mexico City, and
New Orleans were represented with as much weight as Vienna, Paris,
or Budapest. This was an apocryphal, sacral bible in which the miracle
of genesis was repeated, yet in which all divine injustices and the
impotence of man were rectified. In this pentateuch, distances between
worlds – divided so cruelly by divine will and original sin – had been cut
back to human scale once more. With the blind rage of a Prometheus
and a demiurge, my father refused to acknowledge the distance
between earth and heaven. In this anarchical and esoteric new
testament, the seeds of a new brotherhood and a new religion had
been sown, the theory of a universal revolution against god and all His
restrictions. It was a marvelous – I should even say sick – mixture of
Spinozist pantheism, Rousseauism, Bakuninism, Trotskyism, and an
entirely modern unanimism, an unhealthy amalgam of
anthropocentrism and anthropomorphism. In short, it was an ingenious
pantheistic and pandemoniac theory based on scientific achievements,
on the principles of modern civilization and the technology of the
modern era, and on the natural achievements of the earth's crust and
the oceans. Yet it endeavored to institute harmony between the new
materialistic theories and the occult sciences of the Middle Ages."

Garden, Ashes, p. 34, 352


The Puzzle of the Author: Who is Danilo Kiš?

"The father became more idealized because I knew him so little; he


was often away. My own father died at Auschwitz in 1944. He became
mythical to me when I realized that he had an exceptional destiny and
that my own destiny was marked by his Jewishness. I kept my father’s
documents during the war with an idea—a very clear idea, I would say
now—that one day these documents and these letters would become
part of my literature. The long letter which is reproduced at the end of
Hourglass showed me that my father was something of a writer
manque. I knew my father so vaguely that I was able to use certain
facts to transform an ordinary Central-European man into a mythical
character; I could assign him certain of my own ideas."3

Who is Danilo Kiš? There are different answers to this question. The concise
biographical answer would be: Danilo Kiš (1935 –1989) was a Yugoslavian
writer of Hungarian/Jewish – Serbian/Montenegrin origin. The most important
books are: Garden, Ashes, (1965) Early Sorrows (1965), Hourglass (1972), A
Tomb for Boris Davidovich (1976), The Encyclopedia of the Dead (1983),
Homo Poeticus: Essays and Interviews (1983). He was the son of Eduard Kiš
(Kiš Ede), a Hungarian Jewish railway inspector, and Milica Kiš (née
Dragićević), a Montenegrin from Cetinje, Montenegro. During World War II, he
lost his father and several other family members, who died in various Nazi
camps. His mother took him and his older sister to Hungary for the duration of
the war. After the end of the war, the family moved to Cetinje, Montenegro,
Yugoslavia. Kiš studied literature at the University of Belgrade. He spent most
of his life in Paris and working as a lecturer elsewhere in France. 4
He describes himself as a weird mixture made of collisions and
contradictions; an offspring of a strange race which will disappear with him.
The fact of his birth is unusual, his funeral also. The encounter between his
parents he describes as something rare, unusual for that time, as a
collision of two different (although somehow similar) worlds. His literature
is homage to his childhood, marked by the Father's malady and his
frequent absence – to his childhood crippled in the Holocaust. Kiš
dedicated three books from the so-called Family Cycle to the memory of
his father. His other books, about different totalitarianisms – Communist or
Christian, whatsoever (A Tomb for Boris Davidovich and The Encyclopedia
of the Dead), were under the Father's shadow, as well. – A specific Kiš's
victimology is an outcome of his childhood and the Father's tragic fate. As
such, he was a target of the totalitarian literary critics. In his book Čas
Anatomije (A Lesson in Anatomy, 1981), he tried to defend himself against
allegations that his book A Tomb for Boris Davidovich was a "betrayal" of the
national interests and a "betrayal of the revolutionary cause".5

In his book Gorki talog iskustva (The bitter residue of experience, 1990) the
author speaks about the malady of his disturbing otherness. He admits that
was very young when realized that had been marked by his Jewish being,
whatever it may be. His literature is under the shadow of this markedness.
The Father's Jewishness predetermined his destiny and forced him to
writing; to writing about his own experience, about totalitarianism as such–
about the Holocaust and the Stalinism. The writing is not only a self-
confession of the author, but the deepest need to cry out the truth, from the
abysses of one's own being. He claims that a scenario of pain, persecution
and death is a very fundament of his work. From the birth to the funeral, his
life resembles to his own literature. A child of a non-Jewish mother and a Jew,
a self-declared non-believer, was buried, according to his alleged last will, as
a Christian. He was eulogized, even though he had been against any eulogy,
by a politically notorious Orthodox Christian bishop (vladika). This bishop,
playing his role and expressing his deepest beliefs, designated the author's
alleged testament to be buried within the Orthodox Christian Church as the
total sum of his life, assuming that everything else is secondary compared to
that "fact". Through the very act of the funeral, the totalitarian powers tried to
void both his life and his death – the author repeated the destiny of his own
literary character Boris Davidovich Novski.

The author has been dead for almost twenty years. He is no longer here to
explain us what his intention would be, what he did try to convey us through
his works. Only his books left, as well as his interviews, his archive, his library.
What was the writer's intention is beyond our grasp, we can only diligently dig
into his documentation, researching what has been left after him. And try to
reconstruct his own character and intention, just as he tried to reconstruct his
own father from the poor documentation that had left after him. And there is
no guarantee that our description will be similar to the original. If Jacques
Derrida is right, only textuality left, which calls us to a free play of
interpretation.
Who is Eduard Sham? Who is this man?

"And now, in addition to the physical description, which is guaranteed


to bear a resemblance to the original and is based on contemporary
photographs and sketches, here is the rest of what we know about this
man, everything that we have learned about him in the course of long
years of effort and reflection, here are the results of our investigations,
....here – in a word – is the sum total of all our uncertain knowledge
about him..."

Garden, Ashes, p. 124

"Sometimes, when I tended Mr. Molnar's cows in the Count's forest, in


places where I thought no human foot fever touched the ground, I
would come upon a faded scrap of the Neues Tageblatt and I would
think to myself in surprise: my father was wandering along here not
long ago.

Two years after his departure, when it was clear to us that he would
never return, I found one of these faded scraps of newspaper in a
clearing in the Count's forest, amidst the grass and cornflowers, and I
told my sister Anna: 'Look, this is all that's left of our father.' "

Garden, Ashes, p. 98

Who is this man - Eduard Sham (i.e. Eduard Kiš, born as Edu Kohn), the
mysterious writer's Father and the character of his Trilogy? The Father is an
insane prophet of a coming cataclysm, which will finally happen; to him and to
his family. The Holocaust is an event equal to the biblical flood, which
metaphor is present in the entire book.

When the Father was alive, he was almost always absent; when the writer
was a child, he was not able to discern who the real Father was, but had
access to his masks only. The Father was a kind of simulacrum, which hides
nothing behind, no truth, no original. Instead of the Father, he was able to see
only his different masks: of the Wandering Jew, of the ingenious writer, brilliant
intellectual, chess-player, revolutionist-anarchist, alcoholic, neurotic, madman,
flatfoot person, free thinker, hermit, of the wandering pantheist, of a prophet of
a new religion and of a coming cataclysm, a persecuted person which will
finally become a victim and whose prophecies will finally fulfill themselves.

Obviously, it is impossible to grasp the real, historical father, to reconstruct the


original. All that is left from the Father are traces – his published masterpiece,
his "Urfaust" under the name The Railway Timetable, old photographs and
letters, medical and police documentation, fade memories and unreliable
witnesses are everything that the writer has. Everything that left from him is
only "the sum total of all our uncertain knowledge about him" (Garden, Ashes,
p. 124).

The original or the truth of the original evades, even though the reconstruction
of the Father's character is based on a twenty years survey, on the legend
about him (p. 124). How is it possible to find out the truth about him if
everything we have are mere traces, it the original as such is nothing but an
absence, if the Father was absent, in his life and in his death whatsoever. The
writer reasonably asks "who is this man?" (Garden, Ashes, p. 121). How to
find out who is, in fact, the Father, if we can reach only his masks – his
simulacrums? We cannot know is there any relation between the character of
the Father and the real, historical author's father. Like simulacrums in the
world of Moderna, the main motif of the French theoretician Baudrillard,6 the
simulacrum of the Father lost the connection with the things that should
represent. The Father as a literary fiction is something between the
documentarity and fake. Something like a real paraphrase of Joyce's literary
character – he was born in the hometown of a certain Mr. Viraga, who will
become later the famous Leopold Bloom. The father is immortal in the eyes of
the writer-boy – even as an adult, he believes that the mythical, Ahasveric
figure of his father had the power to cheat death as such. The writer's father
miraculously survived the massacre in Novi Sad that the Hungarian fascist
committed over the Jews and Serbs living in Hungarian-occupied Vojvodina,
in January 1942. The father was one of those waiting in line to become one of
the cadavers thrown in the frozen Danube. It was a miracle that the holes in
the ice were overfull of the dead bodies, so he escaped death at that time.
(The Bitter Residue of Experience, 202)

He is a kind of a revolutionary, a rebel against God, similar to Nietzsche, who


stated "There cannot be a God because if there were one, I could not believe
that I was not He". His madness manifests itself in an unlimited will to
encyclopedic knowledge in all possible fields. As the author stressed out, this
enterprise was also a specific rebellion against God and the limits He set up
to the mankind and the world.

He is an intellectual rebel whose "stiff white celluloid collar" was a symbol of


his belonging to "the strict ranks of European freethinkers" (p. 126). As such,
he fits perfectly into Deutscher's description of non-Jewish Jews of Moderna,
who, like the Talmudic Akher, left the boundaries of Judaism. "You may, if you
like, see Akher as a prototype of these great revolutionaries of modern
thought: Spinoza, Heine, Marx, Rosa Luxemburg, Trotzky, and Freud." 7 As
Deutscher says, they were rootless, but " they had the deepest roots in
intellectual tradition and in the noblest aspirations of their times",
"excommunicated by Jewish rabbis" and "persecuted by Christian priests",
hunted down by the gendarmes of absolute rulers and by the soldateska",
"exiled from their countries", whose books "were burned at the stake",
determinists, "believers in humanity" who didn't address their thoughts to
Jews, but to mankind and who 'believed in the relativity of moral standards",
but they were naive enough, being unable to "imagine that it would be
possible for 'civilized' Europe in the twentieth century to sink to a depth of
barbarity".8 And also, as the pioneers of "the international society of equals"9,
they felt as the citizens of the world.The Father shares all those features of
those non-Jewish Jewish free-thinkers, except the very last one. He was able
both to imagine and to predict the end of the European order in the barbarism
of holocaust.

He unites in himself the characters of the lone heretic and the mad genius, he
unites Spinoza's and Nietzsche's fate; he had all the possible complexes and
neurosis of his time and his Weltanschauung embodies all the intellectual
isms and tendencies of his time, what is obvious from the list of the topics of
the third edition of his Timetable (Garden, Ashes ,p. 37-39) He breaks with his
own family and with the Jewish people in general; in a word, he extirpates and
excommunicates himself. He declared war to the whole world, to the gods and
religions. We can assume that his own family was already assimilated and
that his fall is only the final consequence of that assimilation. The Father is a
typical representative of an enlightened Jew, double uprooted – as a Jew,
from his own land, as an assimilated Jew, from his own people.
The Twofold Otherness of the Father

"The authorities made shorthand record of their spies' reports and filed
them in the thick folder kept in my father's name, but they did it with a
certain derisive indifference, with total disinterest, sealing the whole
confused and voluminous file just in case, with a physician's certificate
concerning my father's unbalanced state, which freed them of any real
responsibility in the matter. Still, the authorities were waiting for one of
his outbursts to discredit him completely and to get rid of him simply
and painlessly. The Church, on the other hand, possessed definitive
proof of his disruptive and blasphemous activities. The fact that my
father had second sight, that he was a clairvoyant and a madman, was
evidence enough to the Church of his dealings with dark forces,
because in the opinion of the clergy he was but a sinner, an evil force
through a medium."

Garden, Ashes, p. 90

"In any case, the Reason-Madness nexus constitutes for Western


culture one of the dimension of its originality..."

Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization, Preface, p. XI10

In his book Madness and Insanity, Michel Foucault considers madness as a


border-line experience, in which the Western logos opposes its Otherness.
He considers madness as a phenomenon complementary to reason. His
purpose in this book is to write down a history of limits by which a culture
represses something that is beyond it.

He also considers the practical measures institutionally undertook against the


eccentrics, the different persons; juridical judgments, police measures,
pedagogical lessons, corporal punishment, control, brain washing. Foucault
accounts the epochal cuts that break down the history of madness: high
middle age, which refers to the beginnings of the Greek logos, the
Renaissance and finally, the classical period (from the middle 17th century by
the end of the 18th century).

Foucault gives deeper meaning to those epochs, according to the unsteady


constellation of reason and madness. He attaches to the 16th century a
certain self-critical discomfort and the openness with regard to the
phenomenon of madness. Madness is still connected the tragic and
clairvoyance and is still a place of the apocryphal truths; it is a kind of mirror
which ironically discloses the weakness of reason. Namely, the receptivity for
illusion belongs to reason itself. That means that during the Renaissance was
not deleted the reversibility in the relation of reason to its other.

There are two crucial moments in this historical process: in the mid 17th
century every hundredth citizen of Paris was institutionalized in the internment
camps. By the end of the 18th century, those camps and asylums became
closed hospitals for the clinically insane – the psychiatric hospitals as they are
today were born at that time.

Both of those events, the removing of the insane, criminals, vagabonds,


released from the prison, eccentrics of every kind, and later, the foundation of
the psychiatric clinic, witness about a specific practices. Those practices lead
to the assimilating of the heterogenic elements from the monologue of the
subject elevated up to the common human reason, making from everything its
object.

The Father was the Other in every respect – as a madman and as a Jew.
Unbridled mob that persecuted him, in a medieval ambient of the Count's
forest, ready to kill him, finally had a kind of respect for the insane person,
whatever different he was, taken in by his arguments and left him alone. But,
it was not the case with the Hungarian authorities. The Hungarian Jews were
not deported to concentration camps like those in Germany and the
conquered areas not until the Germans invaded Hungary itself on March 19
1944. 437,000 Hungarian Jews were sent to Auschwitz in July.

We can say that the madmen and the Jews had the similar treatment in
Europe. The Jew is a symbol of the Other, the eternal Stranger of the
European culture, the metaphysical enemy from the religious and racist
publication that molded the consciousness of the cultural Europe. The
European history was "progressing" from the pogroms and the physical
isolation, symbolized in the yellow star, to the institutions of the concentration
camps. Theoreticians like Adorno and Horkheimer in their Dialectics of
Enlightenment, or Zygmunt Bauman, showed that the Holocaust is a product
of modernity that has often been seen in connection with the Enlightenment.

The Mythology of Subjectivity or How Enlightenment becomes a Myth

"Enlightenment, understood in the widest sense as the advance of


thought, has always aimed at liberating human beings from fear and
installing them as masters. Yet the wholly enlightened earth radiates
under the sign of disaster triumphant"

Adorno and Horkheimer, Dialectics of Enlightenment, 1

"I have flown up to heaven, my dear sir. Yes, to the heaven of pure
abstraction."

Hourglass, p. 26, 2711

It seems that he insanity of the author's Father, his diagnosed "anxiety


neurosis" is a result of his assimilation, of the assimilation of his family and
the European Jewry in general – which is itself a result of the Haskala
movement which credo, based on the rationality of the European
Enlightenment, was that the Jews need to leave ghetto, not only physically
also but mentally, and to assimilate into their environments. And also, it is an
expression of the European Enlightenment in general. As I already have
mentioned, His madness manifests itself in an unlimited will to encyclopedic
knowledge in all possible fields. He tried to incorporate the sum of all possible
knowledge of his time into the third edition of his Timetable, trying to fulfill the
enlightened dream about the universal, all-inclusive Encyclopedia. His trial
was also a specific rebellion against God, requesting the unlimited freedom
for man. The Father put on the mask of the modern free thinker which finally
broke with God and his origins, embodied in his family - he excommunicated
himself from the Jewish people. He is a biblical critic of a Spinozist type, who
was, under the influence of Spinoza's Theologico-Political Treatise, analyzing
Judaism on the basis of "reason".
The continuous wondering was a symptom of his madness. "Garden, Ashes"
is also a book about the trains and purposeless wonderings. The trains are
symbol of the intoxication by travel (Garden, Ashes, p. 22) and the Father's
fate which will end with the last train, in the locked wagon. The Father is an
incarnation of Ahasver, or better, of the Anti-Semitic myth about the
Wandering Jew, about the figure of the doomed sinner, forced to wander
without the hope of rest in death till the second coming of "the Crucified". His
insanity and his wondering are expressions of the uprootedness of the person
who lost his identity consciously renouncing it – renouncing his family, his last
name (he changed his name from Kohn to the hungarized Kiš). His insanity is
a symbol of uprootedness and homelessness of the sons of Israel, expelled
from their land, persecuted and finally assimilated, decadent and degenerated
in their assimilation, and also, in the Heideggerian language, of the
uprootedness and homelessness of the modern man. The author says
something about that, relating the legend about the father of his Father: '"We
visualize the man with the harelip as an eccentric, a decadent offshoot of a
once-powerful tribe that degenerated following the move from its original
homeland to the shores of the New World. From that harelip, as from the
fossil wing of prehistoric bird, we infer the overall appearance of the species,
climatic conditions and cataclysms. In the absence of sufficient evidence,
however, we withdraw in utter disillusionment, we relinquish our quest in the
face of the temptations opened up by our bold hypotheses." ( p. Garden,
Ashes 126)

His madness is an expression of the decay of Cartesian Subject of the


enlightened Europe ("My pitiful split self" – Hourglass, p. 150) which,
dreaming about progress, rushed directly into fascism; another book of Danilo
Kiš, also dedicated to his father, Hourglass, contains the descriptions of the
Father's madness – the illusion of the insane consciousness won over the
clear and distinct Cartesian knowledge – the Cartesian Subject lost here any
relation with the extended, material substance and becomes self-sufficient.)
This disconnection between Subject and Object is just the decay of the world
of the Cartesian Subject, which reached its culmination with Nazism. This
decay is symbolized by a picture in Hourglass (p. 57, 58) – of the brain of Dr.
Freud (a well-known surgeon in Novi Sad) in the snow, after the massacre in
Novi Sad. The insanity as an outbreak of the irrational is the end of the rule of
Subject – and the end of the cataclysm that the Father anticipated; the
cataclysm of the Father himself, of his family of the middle-European and the
European Jewry in general. This cataclysm is described as the trembling of
Being, as "some peril, some terrible existential catastrophe"; from the cracked
mirror of the subject are gazing the mad eyes of the other self, of the other,
irrational side of Subject.12 What happens here is exactly the apocalypse
fundamental for the European Nihilism – Heidegger accounts that in his book
about Nietzsche – the essence of Subjectivity appears as brutality and
bestiality.13

And the Holocaust is an expression of that apocalypse that the Father


prophesied in his delirious rapture. A hidden tendency of the enlightened
aspiration for the cognition of the Nature – i.e. to rule over the Nature and
mankind - woke up in the Nazi will to rule over the whole world. The cold,
clear and steady world of Reason shattered – inconceivable things are
happening now – even though Descartes in the Sixth Meditation assumes that
exist only the things of which we have a clear and distinct idea.

The modern claim for certainty is present also in Spinoza's "Ethics". Here
speaks up a threatened subject who needs the mathematical method in order
to protect himself from the uncertainty of fate and from the caprices of affects,
building a metaphysical tower of the certain knowledge exposed by the
mathematical order, an abstract, undisturbed iron logic and strictly scientific
metaphysical abstraction, in order to step out from the natural necessity, in
which he is only a link on an infinite chain, only a waive in the ocean, under
the power of the endless and interminably mighty forces, into an abstract, cold
and serene company of the logical necessity in which it can be a sovereign
master of his own life, causa sui of his own destiny, the destiny of man as a
self-conscious being. "Consequently, he who knows things by this kind of
knowledge passes to the summit of human perfection, and is therefore
affected by the highest pleasure, such pleasure being accompanied by the
idea of himself and his own virtue; thus, from this kind of knowledge arises
the highest possible acquiescence." (Ethics, Book 5, Prop. XXVII). Under the
logical cloak of the necessary and certain knowledge speaks up the destiny of
the lone and persecuted person, who put on the armor of abstraction, in order
to protect himself from all the threats of life. To quote Nietzsche: "Or consider
the hocus-pocus of mathematical form with which Spinoza a clad his
philosophy - really "the love of his wisdom," to render that word fairly and
squarely - in mail and mask, to strike terror at the very outset into the heart of
any assailant who should dare to glance at that invincible maiden and Pallas
Athena: how much personal timidity and vulnerability this masquerade of a
sick hermit betrays!" (Beyond Good and Evil, I, 5)14
The Prophet of Pantheism

"Yet one should not assume that his oral creativity, which derived from
remote antiquity, from the Biblical eras of the Semitic tribes, was
devoid of lyrical cadences, or that it was confined, as it might seem at
first glance, to a dull Spinozist variant of Semitic philosophy. By no
means. In this intimate contact with nature, amidst the lacework of the
ferns and the prickles of the evergreens, in the smell of resins and the
singing of blackbirds and yellowhammers, my father's philosophy
underwent an extraordinary metamorphosis. Especially when
compared with the principles and style of the so-called Travel Guide of
1939, which remains the fundamental, in fact, and regrettably, the sole
source for the study of his pantheism."

Garden, Ashes, p. 89

"He moved through the fields like a sleepwalker, lost in thought, waving
his cane high in the air, following his star, which he would lose amid the
sunflowers, only to find again at the edge of the field – on his greasy
black frock coat"

Garden, Ashes, p. 88

But, did the Father fulfill the Spinozian ideal of the undisturbed knowledge of
God? He didn't accept calmly his fate, predetermined fate. According to
Spinoza, the knowledge of God leads to the freedom from passions and fears
– it was not a case with the Father. Also, his pantheism in its final phase was
not the abstract pantheism of Spinoza, but the literary pantheism of the unity
with the physical nature, animals and herbs. Spinoza assumes that God is the
infinite substance which exists in itself and which contains everything. There
is no being beyond God. Everything follows from this infinite divine power of
the self-realization (God as Causa Sui). "Whatsoever is is in God, and without
God nothing can be, or be conceived. (Ethica, Book I, post. XV15). The
particular things are only conditions, the dependent existence, in which God's
essence expresses itself in a certain and determined way.
Spinoza's God is like a spider which spins from itself the whole world, the
spider of abstraction, in whose net everything particular and individual
disappears. The world vanishes in the Substance, as life passes away from
the body of a tuberculosis sufferer. "The cause of his death was consumption,
from which he had long been a sufferer; this was in harmony with his system
of philosophy, according to which all particularity and individuality pass away
in the one substance." (Hegel, History of Philosophy, Part III, Spinoza16)

In his last phase, the Father became a materialist pantheist, which identified
the physical nature (universe) and God. His wondering in the Count's forest
gave him another mask – a mask of the pantheistic hermit and the wondering
philosopher, preaching his pantheistic psalms and his new religion of future to
herbs and birds, and also to the mob of the zealous catholic peasants which
conspired to kill him, roaming through the forest, days and weeks, chased by
his star on the sky that was leading him through the dark of forest and through
his wondering, and that finally transformed into the star on his chest. That
finally took him to death. He disappeared in 1944, together with his family, in
Auschwitz.
1
NOTES:

http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-15074122.html
2
Danilo Kiš, Garden, Ashes, London-Boston, 1985
3
http://dalkeyarchive.com/interviews/590/danilo-kis
4
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danilo_Ki%C5%A1
5
http://www.eurolang.mq.edu.au/croatian/skvorc.htm
6
Cf. http://www.colorado.edu/Sociology/Mayer/Contemporary%20Theory/De-
Constructing%20Social%20Science_files/frame.htm
7
Isaac Deutzscher, The Non-Jewish Jew (1958), in: Zionism Reconsidered, (ed. Michael
Seltzer), New York, 1969, p. 74.
8
Ibid, p. 80, 81, 82, 83
9
Ibid, p. 85.
10
Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilisation, New York, 1973.
11
Danilo Kiš, Hourglass, London, 1992.
12
Cf. Hourglass, p. 148. "… the trembling inside me, the mad eyes of my other self looking at
me from the cracked mirror as I shave, they show that death is involved, some peril, some
terrible existential catastrophe – of that, there can be no doubt."
13
Cf. Martin Heidegger, Nietzsche, San Francisco, 1979, vol. 4, 147-48.
14
For the Internet version of Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil see:
http://nietzsche.holtof.com/Nietzsche_beyond_good_and_evil/index.htm
15
For Internet version of Spinoza's Ethics see:
http://frank.mtsu.edu/~rbombard/RB/Spinoza/ethica-front.html
16
For Internet version of Hegel's History of Philosophy see:
http://www.class.uidaho.edu/mickelsen/texts/Hegel%20-%20Hist%20Phil/spinoza.htm

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