In this pamphlet, a person will encounter a “renter”, a borrower, a spendthrift, a man always scrapping by, or even better, a deep slumberer. In fact, one encounters a man who everyone hopes will never awake, hearing hushed whispers around him, as an intellectual pickpocket slumbers tossing and turning, which is kept at bay not with lullabies but with a kind of disdain heard all around him: an observer could, seeing him, call him, if he understood unconsciousness a blessing, the happiest of all men. However, his long dreamlike state was interrupted by the outside noise and so he wakes, in dusk, thoughts in complete disarray, mind blurred, as senses are dulled with an excess of that particular enjoyment, sleep, so much even his body begins heating up with a kind of a late reaction. But the slumberer awoke at the wrong time and place: a renter who was once a homestead, he discovers it is not dawn which greets him, but dusk: and all the shops are closed, and all the people disappeared from the streets with none to greet him. It is his allotted time, where he is allowed to exist as a subaltern spectacle others gawk at. But, even such a deep sleeper must grow tired of sleep: and one day, tired even of dreaming, choosing pain, chasing lucidity the best he could he will seek for a dawn which will not find him, only to become lucid in the dusk, a lucidity which all shall come to fear for it will be lucidity restrained. Restrained by a man no longer eager to dream delusions of others.


Truthfully, my mockers, my silent observers, I will tell you I should not have awakened, for the hour of my awakening is late at hand: I should have been left to slumber for longer. This might be one of my rare, first farewells, or first honest greetings, since I slumbered, and survived. My brain, turned to mush, seeped out for a short time period the amount of dreams others would need two or three centuries, even more—I became conscious in dusk, greeted by the twilight haze of a bed which was not my own, and even the light was someone else’s, it was someone else’s dawn: and I am growing tired even of someone else’s dawns no matter how great they are. Don’t think it harmless! It is a different kind of death, a willing death due to pointlessness of staying awake—one begins to, without noticing, go to sleep out of having nothing to do. But dreaming their dawns only to be awoken in a miserable dusk is pointless. Which is to say: even if there are awakenings which reek of terror, better for them to be overcome than to be delayed for delaying them strengthens the slumberer with haste—and slumbering deeply in a time not of his desire, gives him justification in a later time, and a certain power which can no longer be concealed. Then I undertook which I am doing now: to awake myself when I desire, in a manner I decree, to force out an inner light even in dusk, when the dawn of other men, of other, greater cultures has already passed. And of course, this must be understood as a great, terrible sentiment for everyone.


Other men led me astray I believe: put me to sleep when I should have been awake, and gave me sentiments and desires which were not my own, thoroughly corrupting me, forcing me to wait the coming of dawn for years as an insomniac, only to turn me into the heaviest of sleepers. And his dawn was not meant for him, in a manner of speaking: no longer for his people as all have experienced the fullness and richness of life, and even now, in their decay, as over ripened fruits, still taste sweeter than unripe, stunted plants growing from a malnourished soil, under heavy, smashing winds. His dawn has made it appear so that even those stunted plants are the greatest of danger to his rotting apples, his philosophy—do you understand? The overripe began to fear that which barely even sprouted!


I am a man who awakes at the wrong hour—a subject of constant philosophical tension. Occasionally, I oscillate between following the night and morning sun—but in order to do so I must exhaust myself, and if I greet it I am exhausted and pass out, or I miss it, passing out before: such is the burden and weight of a thinker born in a middle land, struck between dawn coming from the right and dusk settling left. Over my sleep and hour of awakening there is constant discussion: the last time someone similar to me awoke, he destroyed an entire empire with a single bullet. A great accusation, from those conscientious philosophers which have successfully greeted every dawn: the glory of the Middle Ages (their knights and kings, their courts and ladies, their troubadours and crusades, their conquests and Jerusalem’s, their priests and their states), the Renaissances, the Baroques, and every coming dawn greeted likewise, while we were left with nothing but dusk: the Mongols and their yoke, the Franks and their subjects, Ottomans and their vassals, Austro-Hungarians with their constituted majority-minorities, shared imperial lineages, Germans with their lesser nobles, or clergymen, and now Americans, with their equality, democracy, and human rights.


Until now every dawn has greeted them, and every dusk has greeted us; we were the heaviest of sleepers, occasionally shaking in a heavy fit of historical, political seizure, only to go back to sleep wilting away in another series of dreams: since we never could understand that a philosophical dawn is different than a political one: one could even consider that a philosophical dawn is often a political dusk: and furthermore, that a political dawn fears and shuns the sleeper more than anything, jealous of his unconscious existence which it feels as a kind of a stolen blessing, seeking to catch him unaware and strangle him. The logical underpinnings of dawn, its great capabilities to make a person capable of waking up, every day, and use his day fully, making every hour count, begins to wear them down – ah, they ponder: how great it would be if we were like them! If we had a different dawn, a reoccurrence of waking when we see fit! How great it would be if we could experience barbarism! We, however, tired of prose, tired of a lack of consistency which dusk brings, find them closer to us only to discover they can’t love us, or that even if they strive to become “barbarians”, they do it consciously, imagining “what it is like”, while “what it actually is”, disgusts them… Our sleep was often interrupted by them barging into our flat – which we rented from the cruelest of landlords, of a different race and culture, under the heaviest of fines – shaking us awake, letting us know a new dawn and a great idea has greeted them. And even if we sought to chase after it we had no freedom to do so: we could only harness our strength in illusions or delusions of a better place, for us, a better time. But, you don’t understand me? I say: even foreign barbarism is too sophisticated for me, and simultaneously too brutal—it seeks to exterminate me for being what I am. After all, that disappointment: that the barbarian can’t be made sophisticated or heroic comes out of all their books. We don’t have a lot of friends in this world, and all of them come to despise us discovering they don’t have the power to turn us into waking subjects anymore. A different dawn greets a dusky morning one could say? We awake when they are about to pass out from success—we pass out from the pointlessness of never achieving anything. And when we do awake, in a moment of lucid terror over what it means to solely greet other people’s dawn’s do we lash out, finding some strength which we shouldn’t possess, to a great calamity.


All thoughts on moral convictions were the best when coming from the West, from Europe, and farther East you went, the worse they were: moral sentiments of a free man, always carry in them a kind of a personal conviction, while those of slaves carry their master’s mark of approval: so, even chasing after a free man as a former slave gives him a sense of disdain and assurance: disdain, that a former slave could even dare to follow him; assurance that he will never overcome him. That is our dawn – we are always awake at the wrong hour. We strive to achieve greatness of the state when it is already a joke in a world which experienced this three centuries before – we become Romantics when everyone is a Realist—we write heroic literature today, our poets write nonsense how we will “go down South” when Europeans chirp about the beauty of foreigners and their cuisine. Of course, we can’t explain what it means, this incredible capability to butcher and murder others—since we were always butchered and murdered, the capability to go abroad and plunder, pillage and rape, gives us a different kind of dawn: a political dawn of freedom. We are not yet ready, it appears, for a philosophical, fully conscious awakening—it turned out that the dreams of others, of Europeans, we can’t even dream properly. Communism, which was to be the dawn of Europe, became another of our nightmares, another dusk after which we awoke as shattered states, as barbarian kin-states, in a wrong time—which is why we so infuriated Americans who were the most exact of races, most workmanlike in everything: philosophy, industry, economics, trade. People undermine American philosophy not because it is wrong, but because it is right, but dull—after Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations which came to be fully understood not in native Britain but in its descendants, there wasn’t anything else left but to live properly, which is wonderful, but leaves one feeling like a child without adventures. Same with Benjamin Franklin: how dull it all appears! How tiresome, how calculated, even if perhaps true! One almost wishes to live like a Russian: that every thought comes naturally, that every act or misdeed comes out of oneself: this too was the desire of the Zarathustran. Or take John Rawls, and his “two principles of justice”, or his entire book Theory of Justice:

‘Each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive total system of equal basic liberties compatible with a similar system of liberty for all’

Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both:

a) to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged, consistent with the just savings principle, and

b) attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity.

Now compare this to a single sentence of Fyodor Dostoevsky:

‘But what will become of men then?’ I asked him, ‘without God and immortal life? All things are permitted then, they can do what they like?’

There it is, dawn and dusk! Analytical capability of comprehending cause and effect, action and reaction, a linear, chronological path and philosophical as axiom, as concentrated impact of practical affairs, as science, as geometry! And on the other hand one encounters living prose, thought as sensed terror, as an anti-geometrical pattern of possible behaviors against which nothing works but violence: since through thought without pain mankind learns to be clever. A Serb can’t even begin to comprehend complete impersonal philosophy; some Russian might reach it since they have had centuries of political freedom and might. American philosophy…a strange, and obscured cultural tradition… the desire for “authenticity’ (simulated barbarism), is irritated by the imagery of old geezers wafting lyrically about “Poor Richard,” chopping down apple-trees and “Puritan faith” while ships bearing slaves are escorting them to plantations. But, I will tell you a secret…there is nothing more insufferable than the emotions of slaves.


Underneath the thin veneer of Ottoman imperialism were slaves of Orthodox Christians of Balkans whose mothers and daughters were openly sold on the bazaars of towns which even Ivo Andric wrote about: this for us is no ancient history but very recent—it was our kind of dusk, our political nightmare: since one could only have a kind of a personal philosophy of tolerance, of willed suffering: however, we grew tired of weeping, grew tired of crying, our tears ran out. We were faced with an absolute choice: bloodshed or despoiling. This was no petty existential “Either/Or.” There is no ethics or aesthetics. Even If I adore Kierkegaard, I must admit: his “existentialism” would get broken apart the minute he encountered an Ottoman slave-hunter, who is an aesthetic man, and his enemy, the renegade outlaw, called “Haiduk”, who is a true “existentialist,” since he risks everything for freedom and is “living” his belief and deeds. It is much more of an “Whether/Or” conundrum: Whether we start killing, or we submit. It isn’t “Either we start killing, or they start killing us.” Either/Or belongs to those already free, multiple choices. It is “Whether-Or.” Whether we like it or not. Whether we lose, or we prevail, shall things come to a closure? But observe the master: he lives without a care in the world, his many rooms are filled with Christian slave-girls from Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Romania, Bulgaria…most of them will in fact weep when their master passes away, and why wouldn’t they? He treated them with greatest of care…loved them solely as women, as objects: one needs great courage to admit he sometimes wishes to be loved as an object of desire. The many servants shuffling around him are also his background: he will punish the bad ones and cherish and respect the good ones. The master who is kind will despise the most not the slave, but the cruel master from another house or domain—he will complain against him to the Ottoman Porte, the seat of political and cultural authority, probably in the same manner some cruel masters in America were considered “bad men”, or “bad masters.” And they do the same today…my mother told me how her great-great-grandmother was a slave our great-great-grandfather bought: we learned from them the meaning of submission, but not the meaning of freedom which we needed to learn on our own. And how else to learn it but through an awakening? An awakening which everyone would come to loathe.


It is wrong to assume that the liberation of slaves brought more justice into the world: quite opposite. It brought more of a desire for vengeance, glory and splendor than anything before it, which is why Russians are often so mad, and Serbs are so naturally brutal and disgusting—we didn’t want to become free men without slaves, or to be European without servants, modern without vassals, or to be democratic—without minorities. Most people have come to regard Yugoslavia as an error—first the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and then the Socialist Federalist Republic, but I consider them to be fools—we felt what it is like when you have political subjects of your own, when our capital was no longer lording solely over its ethnic domain but domains of others, that it was a tiny Paris, or a third-rate Washington or Moscow: no wonder that liberals adore the minorities, after all, who wouldn’t desire a well-behaved servant who you don’t even need to whip but kiss on the cheek? Look at my awakening! Even this most humane of sentiments I perceive as a kind of a political struggle, not a philosophical desire for goodness. That is our dusk which horrifies them, our often unintentional honesty which repulses outsiders, our incredible capability to have a dozen conflicting thoughts simultaneously since we lack that analytical capability developed over centuries of independence to perceive ourselves as active influencers of our very actions. Once a race which was formerly enslaved gains liberation it doesn’t seek brotherhood but domination, and this domination it calls brotherhood. Which is why, to us, the crying of slaves is insulting but also shameful: we discovered it is far better to be an indecent barbaric state than a civilized one. Which is why we feel, very clearly—one only needs to look at a map—that we are surrounded, because, our desire, and the desire of the European Union, are the same. We, simply, need subjects.


We are surrounded on all sides by NATO countries and vassals of the European Union. Every Eastern European knows what it is all about, this modern age. We are to make of ourselves willing subjects for a few scraps of bread—our women prostitutes of all brothels of Europe, while theirs are playing around with liberation—the easiest thing in the world since nobody actually wants to enslave them anymore. The minute trouble occurs, we know: they will come chasing after their men, telling them they are attacked. But their men are not barbaric—you can’t reinvigorate a dead soul…they will look away no doubt, only for their women to start feeling unsafe. But, that is their issue. Let them be, that is their new dawn, their new revelation to humanity—in our dusk we were to be their endless labor and birthing force. We were to be, and still are, their construction workers and janitors, their nannies and objects of sexual fulfillment, even their thugs and criminals. This was the agreed but not spoken agreement: we are to work there, come back here and live in the dusk. The only issues that came up were: namely, that everyone wants a good master, and two, that no two masters could own a same servant. The best master is the current European—weak and flabby, non-violent and rich. The worst is the Russian: a half-slave with gulags and penal colonies, still lacking capabilities of fully sentient, not dreamlike, organization. And the Serbs—local, wannabe feudal warlords and dukes of the Balkans. This is why we will never join the European Union until we submit to no longer desiring to be masters but, subjects of perhaps Germans or the French. But we can’t. We chase after political power sensing that through it arises also philosophy, since we yet haven’t grasped what it means to first awaken oneself as a thinking being, only to come thinking as a political one. We come from dusk—politics—to dawn; we go in opposite patterns of existence. Even this book is the great opposite of that Nietzschean Dawn: many consider us responsible for plunging Europe into a historical calamity, that we are responsible—with a single shot!—for everything that came after. That we gave them a sense of a nightmarish dusk. To this we express disdain, and amusement: disdain that the mighty excuse themselves on the errors of the weak, and amusement that they consider us more dangerous than we perceive so, no compassionate equality for us. We usually defend most those which we consider most harmless—even with all their poverty, Russians will never be another “minority”, they will not even be allowed and democracy is felt in this country as a kind of a disarmament, European fear that dawns have went away, elsewhere, and that now, like for us before, only dusks shall greet them…but this is already far too much political philosophy of an Balkan bent, so, let us strive to observe a little bit of pure philosophy if it is possible, so to approach a different kind of dawn, since it is twilight, and dusk is coming to greet us.


For all installments of “Dusk: Thoughts on Moral Convictions — An Exercise in Submission, Forgery, and Petty Thinking,” click here.