I know that our efforts all come to nothing. Analyze life, tear its trappings off, lay it bare with thought, with logic, with philosophy, and its emptiness is revealed as a bottomless pit; its nothingness frankly confesses to nothingness, and Despair comes to perch in the soulI know the end of us all is nothing, I know that at the end of Time, the reward of our toil will be nothing— and again nothing. I know that all our handiwork and all our ideas will be destroyed. I know that not even ash will be left from the fires that consume us. I know that our ideals, even those we achieve, will vanish in the eternal darkness of oblivion and final non-being. There is no hope, none, in my heart. I know, No promise, none, can I make to myself and to others. No recompense can I expect for my labors. No fruit will be born of my thoughts. I know the time—eternal seducer of all men, eternal cause of all effects—offers me nothing but the blank prospect of annihilation. So, my dignity is broken and weak, in recognition of my impending defeat
The man who is alone, who stands on his own feet, who is stripped bare, who asks for nothing and wants nothing, who has reached the apex of disinterestedness not through blind renunciation but through excess of clear vision, turns to the world which stretches out before him as a burned prairie, as a devastated city —a world in which no churches, asylums, refuges, ideals, are left—and says: «Though you promise me nothing I am still with you, I am still an atom of your energies, my work is part of your work; I am your companion and your mirror as you march on your merciless way. But I owe nothing to any one. I would be responsible to freedom alone.