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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 17, No. 11. June 24, 1953

An Existentialist Short Story

An Existentialist Short Story

Guilielmus de saint-preux. last survivor of his ancient family scat, was walking through the streets of Paris. Looking up at the sky, he felt plunged into the infinite depths of Non-Being. He tripped over a child, and it seemed to be saying to him "Arc you your Existence? Are you sure that you Are you. . . ."

"Yes," he argued passionately, "for Being is Non-Being. Aristotle and the famous medium Madame Blitheronsky, the prophet of Syracuse, have proved it beyond doubt. And, as my friend von Puffenhauser has taught me, this is the Absurd."

Guilielmus passed the shop Kierkegaaldie et Stains. But biting into an apple he felt a sudden misgiving: is the Absurd absurd ? The ob-jective in-scape of the landscape prevented an e-scape. It was saying to him: The Absurd is the all, but all is not absurd, in fact that is why nothing is absurd. "But Nothing is." Guilielmus said to himself agitatedly, watching a prostitute walk past. Then ho said "Nothing is not, that is, is-not." showing clearly by this that he at last understood the difference between the Existential and the Existentiel and was now realising with all his ec-sistence that Being and Becoming, the En-soi and the Pour-soi, the Ego and the Id, were One.

Saint-Preux followed the prostitute to her house. But at the door he went into a trance. He looked at it for two hours. Never had he been so aware of his in-sistence. He could see it—there, in that door. But what, he asked himself miserably, what was the in-ness of in? Was it in 'in,' "in." or even perhaps in ""in"'? For that matter, what was the whatness of what. . . .

After waiting only four hours more it came on him like a flash. It was the door-bell! Fronziedly he rang it, but as the door opened he could at first say Nothing, for its having-been-openedness was reflecting the what-ness of what. Of what? he thought, but controlling himself, cried aloud. "We must love each other. We must, logically, and we logically must. For only then are we free!"

"Yes, for Being is Non-Being," was the solemn reply. And then Guielielmus remembered: he had met her in the Existentialist Cafe nine days before (nine, the mystic number), while the band had been playing "Hei-jegger Jig." Then, of course, her face and clothes had been completely black, as von Puffenhauser had made this compulsory for all existential embodiments of the Eternal Feminine, which as Goethe said, "lead us on."

"This is loo perfect, said Guilielmus. "This moment is sheer Nothingness. We must vanish into the in-being whence it came."

They did.

Peter Dronke