The Dwarfs

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Authors: Harold Pinter
said, but I know what you mean about an efficient idea. Like a nutcracker. You press the cracker and the cracker cracks the nut. There’s no waste of energy. It’s an exact process and an efficient one. The idea’s efficient.
    - No, Pete said, you’re wrong. There is waste. When you press the cracker with the proper purchase the nut cracks, but at the same time the hinge of the cracker gives out a friction, a heat, which is incidental. It’s unnecessary to the particular idea. It’s nearly efficient but not quite. Because there’s an escape and wastage of energy to no purpose. It’s uneconomic. It’s exactly the same, after all, with a work of art. Every particle of a work of art should crack a nut, or help form a pressure that’ll crack the final nut. Do you know what I mean? Each idea must possess stringency and economy and the image, if you like, that expresses it must stand in exact correspondence and relation to the idea. Only then can you speak of utterance and only then can you speak of achievement. If there’s any excess heat or friction, if there’s any waste, you’ve failed and you have to start again. It’s simple enough.
    - But what about the sun and moon? Len said. Isn’t there something ambiguous about the sun and moon?
    - Then again, Pete went on, there’s nothing against a geezer constructing his own efficient idea, but he’s got to be quite sure, in the first place, what he means by the term efficient. And once he’s understood it, he’s got to determine to what the idea is relevant, or whether it’s relevant at all. Some ideas that were adequate enough in the past wouldn’t take you farther than the Edgware Road now. You’ve got to beable to distinguish between a workaday efficiency and a relative one, one that might have been relevant once, or might be relevant in different circumstances, but isn’t now. It’s a matter of considering what world you’re relating it to.
    - Well, we can’t make any mistake about that, said Mark.
    - I don’t know, Pete said. I don’t know that we quite agree on that point, Mark.
    - You mean we may be talking about two different things?
    - Yes. What it comes down to is what world, exactly, are you talking about?
    - What world? The whole gamut as far as you can sniff. Backwards and forward and in and out.
    - Yes, but I sometimes think you’re omitting to sniff relevant matters which are right under your nose. You know what I mean?
    - I think I sniff what you’re getting at all right.
    - Well, quite frankly, Mark, I suggest you don’t pay enough attention to what goes on around you.
    - You mean the headlines.
    - There’s more to it than that. You’re subject to what goes on around you and you depend on it for your welfare and existence. I don’t see how you can fail to be involved. This is the society you live in and I wouldn’t say you’re fulfilling your part of the bargain.
    - You refer to the busticket world.
    - All right. You have tuppence in your pocket and you pay your fare. But it seems to me you regard that tuppence, and more to the point, the conveyance itself, as a divine right. The way you pay your tuppence you don’t really pay it at all. You’re getting a free ride. You don’t fully realize that the tuppence is sweat and the ride is sweat too.
    - I’m a liability on the world’s bank balance.
    - You’re not only a liability, Pete laughed, you’re a bloody hallucination! Sometimes I can’t believe you exist at all.
    - But where you do believe I exist, Mark said, is as a parasite.
    - Not entirely.
    - A parasite, Mark said, standing up. But it’s inaccurate. I don’t live on anyone’s earnings. I don’t pinch anything from the till. I’ve nothing but contempt for the till. I’m not concerned with the standards you’re talking about. I follow my itch, that’s all. It’s not going up your alley, it may not be going up anyone’s alley, so what? I don’t aspire to the great standards. They don’t apply to me. I don’t

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