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In fact, after a few days of disorder, during which madness did rule and newspaper headlines became huge, all the political parties have simply resumed their old intrigues as if nothing had happened. I saw Claudine on rue Monge. In response she simply gave me her hand. We went to the corner bistro and we had a cup of coffee. We were very close again, very tender. The next morning we took the train and went to Pontoise, where I now spend every week-end visiting Maman.

My brother was there; his children cheered up Claudine. On Friday we had dinner with my friend Granville, who studies for a degree in pedagogy. I was rather somber at first, but I soon found it funny to watch our strange bohemian group. We looked like the survivors of a wreck, a band of drifters united by their uncertain destiny. Claudine was terribly out of place in her red party dress. Granville had plastered some sort of white powder over his face. I was wearing a dirty old jacket. I had been painting my walls all day, fixing up as best I could the little room into which I will soon be moving, at the other end of Paris.

My fingers were still spotted with paint. To make things worse we decided to eat at a fancy Chinese restaurant, where the waiters looked down on us in disapproval. Yet I felt this pantomime was a fitting way to bring to a close my two years of wandering in the old Latin Quarter, two years devoted more to the vibrant streets than to serious study on the hard benches of the Sorbonne.

When we got out of the restaurant we danced on the sidewalk like three idiots, not caring about tomorrow. Yet later, on the Metro, Claudine held my hand in a strange, serious, almost desperate way. My friend Marcel was right the other day when he asked me: "Why is it so damned important for you to study science?

It would be a drastic limitation to dedicate myself exclusively to the study of science, like a priest dedicating himself to God. I will indeed study science, but I will do it with the knowledge that an appreciation for art, fantasy and sensitivity is not a "negative trait' that I ought to suppress within myself. During my first year at the Sorbonne I was frequently discussing these lofty topics with a girl who had befriended me. One day she brought a small package: "This is for you," she said.

I think you should have it. I want to look behind the scenes of our human existence. Unfortunately I have found no one who is able to answer my questions about forbidden things: What is research? Does it consist simply in tiring our minds while looking for impossible solutions? Gould one find the ultimate secret by simply giving up the search, satiated with the pointless, superficial agitation of life, and looking instead at the infinite void beyond it? When we discuss love, sex and destiny Claudine cautions me: "You're only nineteen.

At twenty-two you will run the risk of discovering that you have already known what most men only experience at thirty or even, for most of them, never. Perhaps it is true that I have been here, inside this particular body, for nineteen years. But in reality I feel that I have always existed.

My brother is a hard-boiled physician, an agnostic and a cynic. But for his attitude towards life to be justified, the ancestral terrors I hear blowing through my soul would have to stop, the universe would have to become limited, time finite. Everything would have to die and go away. Who will tell me what death is? My father has ceased to think, to hear and to see. In the last few hours before he died he thought he heard music. He asked my mother if it was a piece by Bach playing on the radio.

But do I feel any call from him? No: nothing but the whispers of eternity itself, which I cannot hush within me. Night beckons to me in a similar way, can I deny it? I can almost hear the night, falling in fine drops around me, when I am holding Claudine's sleeping body against mine; and the starry night calls out to me too, a living mystery filled with other worlds.

What is this attraction of nothingness we feel, beyond the fabulous amount of matter radiating in the dark sky? So much substance, metals, energy, explosions, just to create the tiny point of a star in my eye! Nature is multiplying these orgies of time and distance beyond the understanding of my poor human spirit, and to prove what? The existence of Nothingness? This strange privilege you afforded me, giving me your body without letting me touch your soul.

What were you afraid of? Now I have my own room in Paris, close to Porte Champerret. It is one of the small rooms on the seventh floor of the building, under the roof, which in more elegant times used to be allocated to the chambermaids of the bourgeoisie. The elevator only reaches to the sixth floor, then I walk up one more level up the servants' stairs. This is a tiny place, barely ten feet long and seven feet wide, into which the slope of the roof cuts an angle. But it is mine. I am in bed at last, lying under a blue blanket. At first it was nothing but a dusty mess, to be truthful, my little mansarde.

I was thrilled two months ago when Claudine told me it was available, because I have no money and I certainly cannot afford an apartment or even a studio. I have made some improvements: a few electrical connections, a movable lamp. I cleaned up the floor, I installed a small water tank above a wash basin there is no running water, no sewer: I carry the waste water and empty it in the lavatory down the hall. I put up shelves for my books. I nailed a piece of plywood to the wall and I painted it black to serve as a chalkboard for math problems. This part of the city was unfamiliar to me, but it is now coming alive through many tiny scenes, as I wait for the 84 bus every day, or as I take my breakfast at the Cafe des Sports.

On Wednesday I found a letter from Claudine, so unsure of herself. So direct: "Pas ma fete a moi. Write to me, she was asking. Is there another level of life and awareness? My strengths become more clear then, my body goes on automatic. The spirit flies off. Whoever possesses this "other kind" of thought recognizes it at once. It comes with the feeling that we do not really "exist" any more in this world than a single note in a symphony exists, or a single spark in the fireplace.

We are both creators and tributaries of the universe we perceive. A chance meeting I recently had with one of my neighbors, a strange mystical man from the Middle East with an advanced degree in engineering and a passion for ancient texts, makes me experience once again this unusual ability of my mind.

He noticed the urgency I was putting into my work. He told me: "You seek to create in order to fulfill something within yourself. That's absurd, my friend. What is zero plus zero? Instead you should create through the mere desire to create: inspiration pure and simple. Never look at your own work. If you want to be a master some day you must find pleasure in creating without having a precise objective, without pursuing a rational goal.

I am now reading a book called Mysterieux Objets Celestes,1 which is challenging the very depths of my mind. It was while browsing at the Bazar de I'Hotel de Ville department store that the title caught my eye. I grabbed it immediately. At last, an intelligent book about flying saucers!

Yet I suppose that for those who are rooted in the ordinary world, it does not matter if a few researchers have found that the immense contour of other shapes, other civilizations, could be discerned beyond our world. Will these strange events begin again soon? Deep within myself I passionately want them to wait for me, and to find me established in my future life as a researcher.

This is an ironic thought, knowing as I do that I will probably die without seeing any solution to this immense problem, or without being able to contribute to it. On a more finite level I have a new girlfriend named Juliette. Something tells me that some serious developments could take place between us. Claudine has awakened my instincts in this domain where I was blind, deaf and mute. Yet there has been nothing said between Juliette and me, not even a hint of a flirting gesture. Only the atmosphere getting heavier.

My interest in "flying saucers" goes back to the Fall of when there was a deluge of sightings in France, and indeed throughout Europe, from England to Italy. Every day the front page of all the newspapers, from L'Aurore to France-Soir, carried big headlines and surprising claims which the radio amplified with commentaries and on-the-air interviews.

My father, a respected magistrate, a former investigative Judge who had been promoted to Paris as a Justice of the Court of Appeals, would scoff at such reports: in his profession, he pointed out, he had become leery of the weakness of human testimony. Especially that of experts. As a kid I remember hearing one of the earliest French witnesses, a railroad worker named Marius Dewilde, telling his story to radio broadcaster Jean Nohain in a live interview on the evening news: "I had gone out to piss He had seen two little robots next to a dark machine resting on the nearby railroad tracks.

The air police found traces of a large mass. A strange ray issued from the object and paralyzed Dewilde. I believed his story at the time. I still do. During the three months the wave lasted I carefully gathered such clippings and glued them into a fat copybook. It was during the following year, a Sunday in May , that I observed a flying saucer over Pontoise. My mother saw it first. She had been working in the yard, pulling weeds and caring for her flowers. She was getting ready to put her tools away to prepare the afternoon coffee, a sacred tradition in our family. She had to scream to get our attention, because my father and I were up in the attic, where he had his woodworking room.

He was busy and did not consider such an event significant enough for him to come down. I rushed to a window that had a Southern exposure but could see nothing. I ran down three flights of stairs into the yard to join my mother, and then I did see it.

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What I observed was a gray, metallic disk with a clear bubble on top. It was about the apparent size of the moon and it hovered silently in the sky above the church of Saint-Maclou. I have no recollection of seeing it go away. My mother says it flew off, leaving a few puffs of white substance behind. Remembering the war years, she first thought they were parachutes. I realized then and there that I would forever be ashamed of the human race if we simply ignored "their" presence. The next day I met with my closest friend Philippe at the College, where we were "cramming" for the Baccalaureate examinations.

He mentioned seeing the same strange object from his house, half a mile North of my position, on higher ground. He had watched it through binoculars, and confirmed my description. My father was sternly opposed to our making any kind of report. The family of a distinguished judge does not get his name into the papers with some flying saucer story. What we had seen must be some kind of new aircraft, he insisted, something explainable. I convinced myself that he must be right.

Now Aime Michel has reopened the whole question: studying all the sightings of , he has found that they fell along straight alignments that criss-cross the French territory. He calls this pattern "orthoteny," from Greek words that mean "drawn along a straight line. I have written to Aime Michel. My letter begins: I have just put down your book, and this is far from a gratuitous act On every fundamental point you bring reason where the best people who came before you gave us nothing but a multiplicity of excuses.

It is only with a few of his conclusions that I argue, when he despairs of our position with respect to the beings who control the objects. I find two arguments against this despair: 1. Faced with "orthoteny" the fact that saucer sightings seem to occur along straight lines , you compare us to an eight-year-old boy standing before Einstein's blackboard. Yet the boy, when he grows up to be thirty and is educated in math and physics, may be an even greater genius How can we believe that beings with the degree of evolution we can reasonably ascribe to "them" would not have methods of education superior to ours?

When we probe their behavior, what do we find? The gap between their knowledge and ours does not appear to be so enormous. And they seem to reason along a set of concepts analogous to ours. If we believe the flying saucer witnesses who speak of seeing small hairy beings, we should also believe them when they claim to have seen these same beings along with others who were morphologically human. This implies a similarity of level between us and them.

There are indeed differences, but mere "differences" can be bridged. I am only a math student, and my nineteen years do not give me that right to prophecy that some scientists are so quick to claim for themselves. But it seems to me that if we extrapolate our civilization by fifty or a hundred years, we could well find round flying machines in our own future, as well as excursions beyond the solar system. I close my long letter by thanking Aime Michel for writing the book: "It gives us a reason to face the problem. It enables us to begin valuable research quietly.

Serious work can start at last, because of you. How should one speak of a night of love? What is the use of words beyond meaning? I only want silence, warm lingering rest. My room has lost its arid, awkward face. Upon waking up, next to Juliette's long black hair curling up over the blanket, I cast an ironic eye on the word "Ascese," asceticism, which I had painted on a curtain in purer, lonelier days. This bed lost all shape last night, this narrow single bed torn away by passion. Why should I describe our trust on paper, when I can still taste it on my lips?

There are diverse ways towards life. I need to find one, and I need new ground on which to build, to open new roads: I must give free rein to a new intelligence within myself. I am not speaking so much of building my own life as of achieving the final destruction of the lives of others within myself. I long for the end of adolescence, that worthless tumult. Aime Michel has answered me. He thinks that I underestimate the problem of communication between us and X: My book gives a misleading feeling of simplicity because of the restrictions I imposed on myself.

There are some sightings, as credible as those I have quoted, where the witnesses saw the object disappear instantaneously without any spatial displacement. There are others where a solid geometric object changed shape in a fraction of a second. Can you imagine a pyramid turning into a cube? Remember what Poincare said about the fundamental importance of solid bodies in our logic. He points out that there are some domains in which no one will ever do better than man, not even God if He exists: Mozart's oboe and clarinet concerto, for instance. By the way, allow someone who was your age when you were born to give you some advice: you have a remarkably gifted mind.

Do not let yourself get abused by the idea of "getting to the bottom of things," which is only a mirage. Cultivate your mind like a flower but be careful: the pavot is a flower. The qualifying examinations come two days from now. I have another shot at General Mathematics.

When I read all this again later, I am not sure I will remember my obscure battle against the wind and the mud, the stupid fight in which I am now engaged as I try to get out of the quicksand of these studies. Today I have given myself solemn instructions for the creation of a new being. In two days I will go to this exam, this last fight. Do not be concerned with it. Born from me, leave me quickly. Bury me deep within the memory of Granville, Claudine and my other friends. I will be at ease there.

Be free and go, as a little Sphinx who already bites and flies. I do not understand your enigma, but I believe in an escape towards the new dimension you represent. I took the General Mathematics examinations on Tuesday and Wednesday. I spent both nights in chaste, peaceful sleep near my "sister" Claudine. Everyone says that the examination was tougher than at the June session, when I failed. I have passed the test. Egotistically, I savor this victory. I feel that I now belong to a new world, and I am proud of it.

It is the same happiness I experience when I am patiently scanning the craters of the moon, or watching whirling counters in the physics lab and when I think of all the people whose lives are confined to the weekly movie, the soccer game and the nearest bistro. My inner happiness doesn't come from being different from them, and I certainly do not feel superior to them. But I am proud to have gained a wider vantage point on the world.

My next goal: a bachelor's degree in science. How can I describe our crowded lecture rooms at the Sorbonne? Four hundred seats and eight hundred students, people sitting on the ledge of the windows, on the stairs? How can I describe this wretched French University system, against the backdrop of our continuing colonial wars which consume most of the available funds the government should be putting into education and the modernization of this old country? Our generation will have to re-invent everything. Centuries of civilization and philosophy seem of little help here.

Contemporary artists from Varese to Pierre Schaeffer and from Dali to Miro have already destroyed the old standards and the old morality, bringing the blast of their dynamite all the way into the exploded language, freeing up design and painting, yet science still follows the ancient models. It too will have to be shaken up. Then everything will have to be rebuilt within a society that doesn't provide us with any useful models. A kind of quiet harmony is spreading around me.

Perhaps it comes with the words of scientific reality exchanged among young men in impeccable white coats in the corridors of the Radium Institute, where I now attend some of the lectures. There are many lessons to be drawn from ancient Magic. For we are still in the Dark Ages: Consider our churches, our Lords!

Look at the serfs here, the Baroness passing by in her beautiful coach, our men-at-arms swinging their sticks'. See our fortresses, our quaint coins, our narrow minds! See the little compartments of our science humbly growing in the midst of public indifference. The only new fact is the uncontrolled use of this science by the government and the military. The wise men of the Middle Ages, at least, knew how to hide their discoveries behind obscure Latin paragraphs. If necessary they took them into their graves. I spent a long time talking to Claudine the other evening, in an ugly bistro on rue Saint Jacques.

The place looked like the inside of a submarine. But we were warmly squeezed against each other, like good close friends. The little cafe is very poorly lit. We have made it our headquarters because we are used to the fare. We bring along our mistresses, the girls bring their lovers on the back seat of little Italian motorcycles called "scooters. We have friends who arrive from Japan or China.

They speak slowly, with the peculiar tone of voice that becomes those who have travelled far in spite of themselves, and have seen much. They play absent-mindedly with the matchboxes left on the table, they drain their cup of coffee, and go back to the Sorbonne to apply for another travel grant. There is nothing here of the intense discussions I used to have with Granville and with Marcel, from which arose something mystical. Instead we confront serious, rational ideas. Coffee and conversation are thick with the dust of learning.

Occasionally I drag Claudine here, literally, by the hood of her white and blue coat. She is older than I am. She laughs at being treated like a kid. I write lyrical things, strange poems. People tell me I'm young, with the tone of an insult. I draw funny shapes on ashtrays.

My heart isn't in all this. I am growing tired of all the silliness of Paris. Instead of promoting mass communications one should isolate each man, isolate him inside himself, in order to build up his spiritual life. How useless, stale and empty is the intellectual life of this famous Rive Gauche!

How flat are the sex stories, how uniform are all these "original" people, gossiping about the obsolete Absolute! Since the death of my father almost a year ago, Maman has been living in this large house on Saint-Jean street. Her neighbors are provincial bourgeoises who share nothing of her enthusiasm for space exploration. The other day she heard on the radio that a team of English astronomers had bounced a signal off the moon. When Maman told her neighbor she had heard the exchange the lady looked at her skeptically: "My goodness," she said, "you must be spending all your time at that window!

Slowly, I am beginning to understand the feelings of people, I appreciate better their complexity. Could I have been touched? No, who could be touching me? Juliette has disappointed me, and Claudine is "just a friend. I seek the terrestrial foods, without flaw or complication or pretense. Now I am fed up with our little group which always meets at the same cafe near Port-Royal. Fed up with the people themselves, their humorless lives, their habit of talking forever about the same meaningless details of their petty lives. I want to move away. Every chance 1 get 1 rush to a little open-air bookshop on the Boulevard des Italiens which sells used science fiction.

Everything seems to confirm a single observation: we are living fake lives, absurd lives in today's cities. Nothing actually exists of these socalled "acts" and "opinions" of ours. Truly important decisions are made beyond our observation, beyond the control of ordinary citizens. Everything we see is fake, a stage drowned in movie fog. We come and go like puppets in search of their own strings. I long to send this message to a wiser man somewhere in time, far away: "You should know that down here we are managed, surveyed, and classified like insects by police and publicity men, or simply by the mechanical stupidity of our own bureaucracy.

In the meantime I am eager to learn what is outside all these events, I want to see the mechanism beyond time itself. Juliette wrote to me today: "Do not wait for me tonight, or tomorrow, or ever. It is too hard for me to start again, to rebuild something. Everything seemed to be collapsing. But the storm has now swept the sky clean. A proposal: To go straight ahead, wisely and quietly, without jealousy or hate. To walk through one's life in long equal steps.

To put everything we are, especially our love, into our gestures. At night I try unsuccessfully to travel in spirit through the whole night of Paris: I am quickly brought back to reality when a ten-ton truck rumbles down the canyon at the base of this huge building; in the next block a tall chimney throws up torrents of black smoke; hideous yellow dogs, taking hideous old yellow ladies on a routine walk at the end of a leash, piss all over my scooter parked on the sidewalk I drape the covers over the shoulders of the girl sleeping next to me.

We commune in warmth and tenderness. Some day we will leave this city for a place where we will no longer be cut off from nature. Janine is a schoolteacher from Normandy studying for a Master's degree in child psychology under Professor Piaget. She has moved into the room next to mine, a pretty brunette with green laughing eyes. For some reason she thought I worked as a photographer.

We happen to own the same records, easily heard through the thin wall at night. We made love for the first time a week ago, and we have been together since. It has to do with the adventures of a group of kids amidst the ruins left by war. The idea came over dinner with Granville, who told me of "something silly he was writing for a publisher, hoping to make a few francs.

I am letting the story develop. A year ago I found it hard and painful to write. I am surprised to see how much easier the process is becoming. The other day I found a note from Janine under my door: I went away from your room utterly distressed, probably because what you say resonates deeply within me. You will get through because you see things, not in terms of yourself but in a detached, impersonal way.

I have not reached that point yet. I feel I will only be able to achieve this after resolving some conflicts that I do not master, because I don't know where they come from. I am in love with her. I was speaking of a high point, of new horizons, yet I wasn't even able to see the landscape. Now I feel like a pilot in flight who suddenly breaks through the clouds and watches the sunshine illuminating some wonderful island below We are two crazy lovers. Janine has set a new machine into motion within me. She is holding my life on the highest wing of the storm. I have begun with even greater enthusiasm a science-fiction novel called Sub-Space?

I condense my current life within it: in the middle of a big stupid city there are people who love and search; they are forced to go beyond the limits of the world both outside and within themselves. It's a fun process, because the story writes itself in fury and disorder, carrying me at a gallop pace. When I see a new protagonist, he often moves without warning out of the context I had prepared for him. I am just as unable to say what my character Alexis Nivgorod will do in fifteen pages as what I will do in thirty years.

Horoscope du jour 7 SEPTEMBRE

Janine poses a deep question to me. She is carrying within herself a powerful secret anguish. Our love goes faster than light. At night the glow of the record player scatters iridescent droplets all around my room, and over the night shirt of simple white fabric she has dropped on the dark red carpet. The weather has turned hot and heavy.

I have to stay in Paris to study in the midst of mirages. The random notes I write down in these pages are only useful because they provide me with a standard, a reference point among all the illusions. It is so hot today that the asphalt melts, sticking to the feet and to the mind like caramel candy. The ugly buildings, with their rococo style, seem to crush our lives under the weight of their dripping ornaments.

Dust is flying, soft and sour, over Place du Chatelet. Tourists stare at the column through their binoculars. Who needs science fiction? No telepathic Martian with green tentacles will ever be more weird than they are. This city is only livable when you walk along with blinders on, going about your own business. You pay a high price for trying to get out of the maze, to think different thoughts, to discover an alternative to common customs.

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Within French society are lines of equi-stupidity which cannot be crossed without much pain and a huge energy quantum. This is an atrocious, absurd, unjust system. In the meantime I am within it, whether I like it or not. I have no choice but to get a bachelor's degree, sitting on the benches of the Sorbonne next to a few battalions of armored girls from the Catholic Center and a bunch of stubborn, narrow-minded fellows whose sole ambition is to graduate quickly to earn more money and buy bigger cars.

Thus I study under Godement in Analysis, Chevalley in Set Theory; a team of internationally known mathematicians has decided to train the mass of the younger students like me rather than concentrating on a small group of higher graduates. They are an exciting Faculty, but I am tired: I haven't had a vacation in three years. I just saw a movie about volcanoes directed by Tazieff. It contains a strong, appealing idea: No point on earth is immune to a sudden eruption.

Gemini 12222 Horoscope

In space the most ambitious realizations of Man only rest on a thin layer of the planet; in time they can be encompassed within the first page of the topmost book in a pile of volumes as tall as the Eiffel Tower. I do like this idea. It satisfies me to think that the Arc de Triomphe, for instance, that "bearer of eternal symbols" of military glory and horrible death is actually resting on the original boiling magma of the planet which makes a mockery of this exalted hoax. Thought and sex are the only human activities which are not totally ridiculous.

As soon as man makes a gesture which is not intended for love or for discovery he is nothing but a dirty little beast, a swindle, a pest unto the universe. Fantasy alone is what should drive me forward. It is a tumultuous torrent, but my boat is sturdy enough not to capsize within it. I had forgotten what Spring could be in blessed Ile-de-France, with these towering branches in bloom, these multiple levels of sumptuous colors in the leaves around us, and the majesty of the huge pine tree in the neighbor's yard. There is a song by Jacques Douai: Que sont mes amis devenus Que j'avais de si pres tenus, Et tant aimes?

What has become of my friends, Those I loved so dearly, And held so close? At twenty years of age my contemporaries are attracted by powerful myths: the myth of intellectual comfort, of material riches, of a "career path" to success and respectability among the bourgeois, leading to quiet retirement. At forty their minds are sclerosed. Rare are those who keep a strong spirit till the end.

I think of my father as an exception. His spirit came through in the way he would open a book by Barbey d'Aurevilly, the way he taught me the difference between oak leaves and aspen leaves as we walked through the woods. It was he who showed me how to make a slingshot, bows and arrows out of branches of hazelnut tree, whistles out of reeds. He had grown up between Caen and Cerences.

He knew all the tricks of the clever Norman farmers. Once he took me above the Pontoise railroad station, along the road to Rouen, to show me some large flat stones buried in the fields. They were the remains of an older highway: the road built by Julius Caesar when he crossed the Oise on his way to Great Britain, nearly two thousand years ago. From these trips with him I learned about the depth of time and the widely scattered wonders covered with moss and weeds, just waiting to be discovered and pulled out. The changes of the post-war period took my father by surprise.

He was shocked by the selfishness of politicians, the brash explosion of the media. He regarded the new movies as a social evil. French society was shaking free of its older models: the songs became irreverent, the moral references imposed by the established order collapsed. A free-thinker, a fervently independent mind, deeply devoted to the ideals of the Republic a framed Declaration of the Rights of Man was hanging on the wall behind his desk , he was not part of the traditional Old France of religion and wealth.

Yet when I confronted him about the stupidity of the Algerian war, as my brother before me had confronted him about France's attempts to keep its colonies in Indochina, he sought refuge in simple-minded slogans "My country is never wrong" which infuriated me. It is very important to refuse to take any of the predetermined paths society offers us. True initiation deals with the Whole, and with love. What is Destiny? Are some individuals just carried along by events, while others spin around in narrow circles, unable to find a solution to the simplest problems?

Events do happen at the right time if one knows how to place himself at the spot where their greatest probability of happening lies. Destiny might simply be a measure of this ability. These pages are nothing but a schoolboy's notebook, in the strange classroom we call life. Over the bridge at Bezons, the huge deserted bridge, twilight made the sky gray and mauve as I was riding through tonight on my way home. The wide road swept up and I could see nothing beyond it, only the tall street lights flooding the wide pool of asphalt, thin lines of sodium over the moribund Summer.

Suddenly this huge bridge appeared to me as a fine and rich thing, a novel image of beauty. I felt the approach of Winter. Under the rain or under the nourishing fog the most ordinary objects suddenly seem able to meditate and resonate beyond our wildest thoughts. Life in my little room is reduced to bare threads. I have passed a new batch of examinations.

I will gladly walk away from the Sorbonne, clutching my science diploma. Janine only comes to see me in the evening, when she mends my unstable existence. She has completed her Master's degree in psychology, and the Administration has reassigned her to a school in Amiens. Emotionally, we are both ready to leave Paris behind. Already, she has moved her things out of her own room. My thoughts are already shifting to the flat landscapes of the North of France, to the city of Lille where we have already made a few quick explorations together.

Lille is not too far from Amiens. Janine will be able to come and visit me often. I relish the idea of moving to a city where I do not know anyone, where nobody expects me to be. I like the sad, gray, quiet suburbs of Lille and its small, one-dome observatory where I will be studying towards a Master's degree next year. In Paris they teach astronomy without ever showing you the sky. The lecture halls are crowded with hundreds of students who have no interest in the subject but need the credits.

I was created in the form of a man. Science, too, is supposed to be obvious. But it is nature which is important, not science. Physics is nothing but a user's manual, a cookbook based on a narrow conventional language. Physics is a confession of weakness. I can only believe in simple, beautiful things. Why do they show us science as such a complicated structure? There is nothing very complicated in the world, only states of mind which get in the way and complicate simple things.

Today is my twentieth birthday. I am only myself when I am with you. Alone in my room, I wait for Janine. Winter is coming, my winter. This city is moribund, except for two movies by Ingmar Bergman that have just been released. It is odd, how his songs of death are supplying the only spark of life in these dull gray buildings, these idle masses of stone. Childhood: the spring itself is forgotten when we can see the river rolling along.

Yet it is the same water, in color and in taste. The memories of man, as far back as he goes, are lost in question marks. And the very source of being, one's origin, remains as exciting a mystery as the state that follows death. The records of our ancient dreams are the most fascinating of all bedside books. They paste an ironic smile over today's freshly hatched plans.

I was born in an interesting year, , a point of low birth rate for the French nation because of the combined effects of brewing international 28 SUB-SPACE tension and the lack of marriageable males, a long-term consequence of the massive killings of the First World War.

Virgo Daily Horoscope: Tomorrow

It was in that the first digital computer was demonstrated,5 and that Roosevelt learned from Einstein's secret letter that an atom bomb could be designed and built. Even the timing of my birth, on 24 September, was poorly chosen. The Second World War had been declared just three weeks previously. German planes were preparing future campaigns by executing bombing raids against strategic objectives. Pontoise was high on the list. It had both a highway bridge and a railroad bridge, and held the key to Normandy. The Luftwaffe was pounding away at the little town.

The midwife, who lived on the other side of the river, was unable to come. It was the doctor who delivered me amidst the sound of the first air strike. My father was fifty-five, my mother was thirty-nine, and I had a brother who was finishing High School. A few short months, and the invasion of Hitler's Panzers came from the East and the North. A great panic swept the French population into a mad exodus. My parents left Pontoise on 10 June to seek refuge among our cousins in the safer province of Normandy, where they spent several months.

I naturally have no memory of it. One day a former neighbor who was passing through Normandy told my parents what had happened to the fourth-floor apartment where they lived, and where I had been born: the Germans had entered Pontoise on June 11th. The day had been marked by numerous incidents. It was alleged that a sniper had hidden himself in the attic of our building. Wehrmacht soldiers rushed in and threw incendiary devices into every apartment, then they just watched the whole structure turn into ashes. The fire destroyed my parents' small treasure: a few pieces of furniture, many books; but we had escaped with our lives.

Amidst the great tragedy of Europe that was known as being lucky. When they returned to Pontoise they rented a small house on the nil! A little knowledge of history would have discouraged such a move. The medieval fortified site of Pontoise was the birthplace of alchemist Nicolas Flamel. Every invader since Julius Caesar had crossed the Oise at that spot. The British and the Americans now needed to destroy the bridge to cut off Hitler's forces from their reinforcements. They bombed the river, reducing many houses in the vicinity, including the one we rented, to mere dust.

I remember my mother picking me up in her arms and walking through the rubble. I stared at a door frame still standing amidst the destruction: it was all that was left of our previous home. Fortunately, just the day before, we had been evicted by Anna, our greedy landlady who was hoping to rent her house more profitably to some German officers. In fact that scene, too, has remained as one of my earliest memories, my mother holding me with one arm while striking Anna with her kitchen rag in utter frustration. This time my parents wisely moved farther away from the river, to the house on Saint-Jean street.

One evening the Resistance blew up the switches of the railroad station. We went up to the attic to watch the drama unfolding. My father, who had been at Verdun in the previous war, had a very sure sense of danger. He also knew that our cellar afforded no realistic shelter and that we were better off watching the battle. For a five-year-old child the spectacle of war was a fantastic game, a splendid education in the unreliability of the world.

I remember the rails being thrown up in the air like matchsticks. I watched aerial dogfights in which wings were torn off. German batteries would fire pitilessly at the bodies of helpless Allied pilots swinging down from the bright blue sky at the end of their white parachutes. Every day in the garden we gathered tinsel and radar-fooling "chaff. Interminable truck convoys took over the main roads. Slowly my parents resumed their existence, watching every franc and every sou.

In my father's papers, under the heading "rebuilding," I have found an official document dated from , eight years after the end of the war. He observed that no professional effects were in existence, except for a few books. The furniture currently used by this individual and his wife is old furniture coming from his mother's home. My father never owned a house, a car or even a telephone.

I am early for a physics class. Sitting in my car near the University I can see the wet cobblestones, the kids in their hooded coats fighting against the wind that shakes my old Renault 4CV with violent blows. Behind me the storm sweeps the Square Philippe Lebon in the gray morning. It picks up dead leaves and sends them flying clockwise around the statue. A shiny black car slowly drives by. The driver lowers his window and calls out to his girlfriend on the sidewalk. She stops, turns around; I see her eyes moist and wrinkled with stormy rain.

She laughs as she joins him. I cannot hear what she says. They are lost down the street, absorbed into the mystery that lies beyond the corner where an orange light continues to blink stubbornly. The rain batters the roof of my shelter. The howling wind blows, as it did last night in the fireplace of the room I am renting in a drab suburb South of the city. Girl students walk close to the walls like ghosts in their white raincoats. They look like the Touaregs of Morocco, their faces hidden by scarves and high collars.

Here in Lille abstract things seem easier to grasp. Abstraction lies in wait within every object and every gesture; every wall seems to contain an idea, fine and straight as a javelin, luminous and precise as the spot of an oscilloscope. Aime Michel writes to me: Any progress of the mind consists in gradually stripping away the preconceived ideas, the systems you have inherited. You are right to stir all that up. But do not expect to find the idea that will reassure you, "the Truth" if you will. Above all, Truth means understanding why we don't understand.

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Wisdom is to be able to measure what is certain and what is uncertain in science, a feat most so-called "scientists" are incapable of accomplishing. This evening we opened the dome of the observatory at p. We worked until 3 a. My first job: 1 have been making a little money by doing lengthy hand calculations of the integrated energy of eleven open "galactic" clusters, among them the Pleiades, Praesepe, Hyades and Coma for a research project headed up by Professor Kourganoff.

I also compute the integrated color. Each calculation represents a long set of operations with a Marchant tabulating machine. Although Lille University is one of the first campuses in France where programming of electronic computers is taught, we do not have any means of computation at the Observatory. Everything is still done by hand. Even the decision to teach about the new technology has caused something of a scandal: there was no one on the Faculty with any experience in programming, so we have to take a course which is taught and taught quite well by a local IBM engineer.

To save face the University has asked a prestigious academician, Professor Kampe de Fe'riet, to come from Paris twice a week to lecture on information theory. This gives the course on computers some semblance of respectability in this traditional, conservative institution Lille. One o'clock in the morning. From my little whirring car I step out into the silence, cross the deserted street to my room.

I will sleep like an animal. Tomorrow I must work on the math problem with a friend. Has he changed? Not at all. The crowd moves ahead like a mechanical storm, tough and swirling, heavy with obscure prophecies. We follow it, walking down the wide streets. We pass houses where landladies sit, knitting in the moist darkness of their hallways like spiders in their holes. The new sun is crushing the city. Men in shirt sleeves are taking the bus.

Now I find their documents to be an interesting spiritual complement to my scientific training. Every month I receive a set of course material through the mail. It includes both theoretical reading and instructions for simple rituals, promising insight into higher realities. Janine and I were married today at the Lille City Hall. We had made arrangements with a friend, a research associate at the Observatory, to be our witness, but the law required a second one.

On the sidewalk before the University entrance I found one of my classmates: "How would you like to be a witness at a wedding this morning? It was a very relaxed and informal affair. It isnt the external trappings that count, or how much one spends, but what we feel inside. We took our witnesses to the local student bistro for a couple of beers before returning to class. They are "awakened" to the absurdity of the world in which they have lived until then. They have to conquer it, not only outside but within themselves. The monsters from sub-space illustrate this transformation— At the end of the book the world appears no less absurd than it was at the beginning, but a dozen scientists have understood its genuine depth.

I end my letter with a timid request for a personal meeting. We now rent a single large room on the fifth floor of a hotel near the railway station, in the center of Lille. In one corner is a small kitchen with a primitive stove. There is no elevator. The bathroom we share with other tenants is five floors below, behind the bar. Our favorite dinner is a plate of Frankfurt sausages with French fries and mustard, eaten in some cheap bistro, listening nostalgically to Edith Piaf who sings Milord: "Vos peines sur mon coeur, et vos pieds sur une chaise The tension between the high potential and the petty reality of yet another series of examinations to prepare causes me both exaltation and pain.

Early this morning Janine has gone to her work in Amiens, leaving my room full of sunshine. I am immersed in my notes from the astrophysics course, taught with great wit and wisdom by Vladimir Kourganoff.


Janine and I have good long talks in the evening, until midnight. We discuss the course of our earlier studies and I see a similar force within both of us, a vision of life, an anticipation of the future, a certain way of committing ourselves to it. Something inside us seems to know where the path leads. It is as if we were marching towards another world, and as if we knew that other individuals throughout the earth are going in the same direction to meet us there.

Perhaps we are going towards Paul Eluard's other universe which, as he says so eloquently, "lies within this one. Beyond words is the second meaning, the third meaning, the true ones. Since September I have been working on a new science-fiction novel entitled Dark Satellite.

Every evening I am anxious to read the new pages to her. Georges Gallet of Hachette has answered me: I will be happy to see you if you come to Paris, any day next week at your convenience, as long as you let me know forty-eight hours in advance. In the meantime do not worry about your Sub-Space.

You will probably be pleased to learn that it is among the manuscripts we have selected for the Jules Verne Prize. Leo Astrology Galaxy PopSocket. Leo Illustrated PopSocket.

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