Sans soleil

That's for a start.
Now why this cut in time, this connection of memories?
That's just it, he can't understand.

He hasn't come from another planet,
he comes from our future,

Four thousand and one:
the time when the human brain has reached
the era of full employment.

Everything works to perfection,
all that we allow to slumber, including memory.

Logical consequence:
total recall is memory anesthetized.

After so many stories of men who had lost their memory,
here is the story of one who has lost forgetting,
and who—through some peculiarity of his nature—

instead of drawing pride from the fact and
scorning mankind of the past and its shadows,

turned to it first with curiosity and then with compassion.
In the world he comes from, to call forth a vision,
to be moved by a portrait,

to tremble at the sound of music,
can only be signs of a long and painful pre-history.

He wants to understand.
He feels these infirmities of time like an injustice,
and he reacts to that injustice like Ché Guevara,
like the youth of the sixties, with indignation.

He is a Third Worlder of time.
The idea that unhappiness had existed in his planet's past
is as unbearable to him

as to them the existence of poverty in their present.
Naturally he'll fail.
The unhappiness he discovers is as inaccessible to him
as the poverty of a poor country is unimaginable to the children of a rich one.

He has chosen to give up his privileges,
but he can do nothing about the privilege that has allowed him to choose.

His only recourse is precisely that which threw him into this absurd quest:
a song cycle by Mussorgsky.

They are still sung in the fortieth century.
Their meaning has been lost,
but it was then that for the first time,

he perceived the presence of that thing he didn't understand
which had something to do with unhappiness and memory,

and towards which slowly, heavily,
he began to walk.