6d 1924 THE WAY IS THE GOAL
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Werfel and Hulda are walking on the way to the camp of the pioneers up the hill. Hulda is walking in a sustained rhythm, and Werfel is barely keeping pace with her.
WERFEL (short of breath:) Wait, wait! Where are you going?! Please, don't run so fast!
HULDA What's the matter with you? You're only 33 years old!
WERFEL Oh! You know my age?
HULDA I know a lot more than that. You'd be surprised. I was a great admirer of your early poetry. You were the idol of my youth.
WERFEL Your youth? How old are you now?
HULDA Almost 23.
WERFEL Oh! What a decrepit old lady!
HULDA If you want to crack jokes, you'd better return to the broken car, and join your frustrated grumbling woman.
WERFEL Alma is not a frustrated woman.
HULDA But she is. And how! Who wouldn't be, in her place, after what Mahler did to her? Her destiny is the typical fate of creative women in our time: she was given a glimpse of her potential, and then violently robbed of her vocation. All she's been able to do ever since is to take revenge on creative men who follow their calling and shape our times. In my mind she is the epitome of our Zeitgeist.
WERFEL How do you know all about her? Was she also the idol of your youth?
HULDA I knew Kokoschka and Gropius.
WERFEL Did you have affairs with them?
HULDA Are you interested in gossip?
HULDA I'm not.
WERFEL Would you mind telling me your plans as far as I'm concerned?
HULDA I wouldn't have proposed to accompany you, if I didn't feel you were standing at a crossroads in your life.
WERFEL I am, am I?
HULDA I've read every work you ever published. You were a very promising poet, and since you became Alma's plaything, you've become a very successful writer. But the unique sound of your true voice remains unexpressed.
WERFEL If you're insinuating that Alma is distracting me from my vocation, I want you to know that she is the best thing that ever happened to me!
HULDA Or the worst catastrophe. It all depends. As long as you stick to her, she will keep you fettered within the borders of European provincial culture.
WERFEL Oh! Those are very broad boundaries.
HULDA But are they your boundaries?
WERFEL You mean, I have to break my ties with German culture, and come to your Eretz Israel? To start a new existence? No, thank you. The German language is my language. The European culture is my culture. Pluck me out of it, and I'm a dead man.
HULDA Stick to it, and you're a dead writer.
WERFEL But I have obligations, I have relationships! For instance: I have a strong relationship with Alma.
HULDA I've been watching you for the last couple of days. All you have with her is a substitute relationship, a fetish.
WERFEL One thing I know for sure: I have a sexual relationship with her. That at least is beyond any doubt!
HULDA I haven't had the privilege of watching you have sex with her, but I wonder if it isn't just another fetish.
WERFEL Just another fetish? - I know that I perform marvellously well. Both of us do. We have never encountered any problems of malfunction. Whenever there is a demand from one partner, the other is there to supply it, and the goods are delivered with extreme punctuality of timing, quantity and quality to the total satisfaction of both parties involved.
HULDA And you always know when to stop? Just at the right moment
WERFEL On the contrary! The truth is: we can't stop. We are both screaming for help! That's murder, she yells at me, carry on! Slaughter me! But I can't stop no matter what. We are both so voluptuous! Sometimes it becomes painful... But I don't spare her. In the beginning of our relationship - she was already seven months pregnant - it wasn't clear if it was my baby or Walter Gropius's - but I couldn't care less - I lashed and smashed at her like a steam-hammer -- in the morning the room looked like a slaughterhouse - the poor baby was born so damaged that it didn't last ten months, the poor thing my little Martin, my son! - You call that just another fetish?
HULDA When nothing is real, the only concrete thing that remains beyond doubt is pain. Physical pain. Therefore the best service you can provide one another is to inflict pain, torture and humiliation. And this is the rotten stuff that you are doomed to ruminate on, over, as long as you insist on writing only within the limits of the declining Occidental civilization.
WERFEL You propose that I come and stay with you?
HULDA No, I invite you to set out with us on a journey.
WERFEL A journey? Where to?
HULDA There is no where. We have no goal. It's the journey that counts. The way is the goal.
WERFEL Yes, but every way must lead somewhere!
HULDA No! This is your limited way of thinking. We are on the way.
WERFEL Always on the way?
HULDA Yes. Always on the way. - When we left Europe, we opened up everything. You see, we are living temporarily on that mountain. We work during the day, and at night we sit together and discuss our future. We don't know yet what form of life we're going to create for ourselves. We know that it's going to be different from anything that's ever existed, but we don't know yet what it will look like. We don't even know what form we will give to relationships between the sexes. We know that we don't want the master--slave relationship of couples, but we don't know yet what's going to replace it. All choices lie open before us. I invite you to join us. To be part of our adventure.
WERFEL I'll be frank with you: it scares me.
HULDA Why? Why?! Give yourself the chance to become a child again.
WERFEL A child?! What exactly do you mean by that?
HULDA A child doesn't know the names of things. (She touches Werfel's face:) A child touches things for the first time. Like I'm touching you now. It's not »An Author« I'm touching or »A Man«. What is it? It's flesh. No. It's naked matter. It's nakedness. Darkness. What do you feel?
WERFEL I feel so strange.
HULDA Hush. Don't talk.
WERFEL I don't know what's happening to me. I'm sweating all over. Is it the climate?
HULDA No, it's the excitement.
WERFEL I feel so stupid! I'm trying to think of something to say -
HULDA Stop thinking for a while. Let yourself be.
WERFEL ,You were trembling, so I thought you were afraid -
HULDA I'm trembling from the nice feeling. What should I be afraid of?
WERFEL I thought you were afraid I would lose control -
HULDA On the contrary: lose control.
WERFEL You mean -
HULDA I mean nothing. Don't be so tense. It's not an operation.
WERFEL I am not tense.
HULDA You are tense as a coil. . Let yourself go. Stop trying so hard. .
it's strange, but I
I've never felt so close
so close to my real self. I have almost
a feeling of happiness. Yes
! A feeling of happiness! I know that you're right. You must be. The future lies here
it lies here, I can even smell it
How is it possible? I'm holding you in my arms, and I can feel
I can feel
that somnolent monster
whose hair is dipped in the Mediterranean
, its feet are paddling the Pacific Ocean
, while it's heart is beating here
where God first spoke to Man... where he invited them
to take part in your adventure... in your adventure
HULDA This is your salvation! This is your salvation! There is no possible salvation in the world without a return! The return of life to its origin, to its roots! We're members of a dispersed People! Dispersed all over the globe! Stay with us, Franz,! Franz, stay with us. And you will find your voice. The voice which has been never heard before! The unborn voice. The voice of a child
WERFEL Yes, yes, I'm staying, I will. I will do it, yes!! I will stay! I will stay with you! I'll stay! I'll stay!!