"Consider coal and steel. There is a place where they meet. The interface between coal and steel is coal-tar. Imagine coal, down in the earth, dead black, no light, the very substance of death. Death ancient, prehistoric, species we will never see again. Growing older, blacker, deeper, in layers of perpetual night. Above ground, the steel rolls out fiery, bright. But to make steel, the coal tars, darker and heavier, must be taken from the original coal. Earth's excrement, purged out for the ennoblement of shining steel. Passed over.
"We thought of this as an industrial process. It was more. We passed over the coal-tars. A thousand different molecules waited in the preterite dung. This is the sign of revealing. Of unfolding. This is one meaning of mauve, the first new color on Earth, leaping to Earth's light from its grave miles and aeons below. There is the other meaning… the succession… I can't see that far yet…
"But this is all the impersonation of life. The real movement is not from death to any rebirth. It is from death to death-transfigured. The best you can do is to polymerize a few dead molecules. But polymerizing is not resurrection. I mean your IG, Generaldirektor."
"'Our IG, I should have thought," replies Smaragd with more than the usual ice and stiffness.
"That's for you to work out. If you prefer to call this a liaison, do. I am here for as long as you need me. You don't have to listen. You think you'd rather hear about what you call 'life': the growing, organic Kartell. But it's only another illusion. A very clever robot. The more dynamic it seems to you, the more deep and dead, in reality, it grows. Look at the smokestacks, how they proliferate, fanning the wastes of original waste over greater and greater masses of city. Structurally, they are strongest in compression. A smokestack can survive any explosion-even the shock wave from one of the new cosmic bombs"- a bit of a murmur around the table at this-"as you all must know. The persistence, then, of structures favoring death. Death converted into more death. Perfecting its reign, just as the buried coal grows denser, and overlaid with more strata-epoch on top of epoch, city on top of ruined city. This is the sign of Death the impersonator.
"These signs are real. They are also symptoms of a process. The process follows the same form, the same structure. To apprehend it you will follow the signs. All talk of cause and effect is secular history, and secular history is a diversionary tactic. Useful to you, gentlemen, but no longer so to us here. If you want the truth-I know I presume-you must look into the technology of these matters. Even into the hearts of certain molecules-it is they after all which dictate temperatures, pressures, rates of flow, costs, profits, the shapes of towers…
"You must ask two questions. First, what is the real nature of synthesis? And then: what is the real nature of control?
"You think you know, you cling to your beliefs. But sooner or later you will have to let them go…"
A silence, which prolongs itself.