11 July 2013

He Said It: Zemyatin

"It is an error to divide people into the living and the dead: there are people who are dead-alive, and people who are alive-alive. The dead-alive also write, walk, speak, act. But they make no mistakes; only machines make no mistakes, and they produce only dead things. The alive-alive are constantly in error, in search, in questions, in torment." 

--Yevgeny Zemyatin, "On Literature, Revolution, Entropy, and Other Matters" (1923), quoted in the "Introduction" to Zemyatin's 1920/21 novel We (New York: Modern Library, 2006), p. xi.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the Talmudic saying: "The righteous are considered 'alive' even in death; the wicked are considered 'dead' even while alive. (Berachot 18a-b). Though, it would be a stretch to deem those who make no mistakes as "wicked"!