Without going into the finer distinctions between idiots and cretins, suffice it to say that an idiot of a certain degree is not up to forming the concept "parents", even though he has no trouble with the idea of "father and mother." This same simple additive, "and," was Meseritscher's device for relating social phenomena to one another. Another point about idiots is that in the basic concreteness of their thinking they have something that is generally agreed to appeal to the emotions in a mysterious way; and poets appeal directly to the emotions in very much the same way, insofar as their minds run to palpable realities. And so, when Friedel Feuermaul addressed Meseritscher as a poet, he could just as well — that is, out of the same obscure, hovering feeling, which, in his case, was tantamount to a sudden illumination — have called him an idiot, in a way that would have had considerable significance for all mankind. For the element common to both is a mental condition that cannot be spanned by far-reaching concepts, or refined by distinctions and abstractions, a mental state of the crudest pattern, expressed most clearly in the way it limits itself to the simplest of coordinating conjunctions, the helplessly additive "and," which for those of meager mental capacity replaces more intrincate relationships; and it may be said that our world, regardless of all its intellectual riches, is in a mental condition akin to idiocy; indeed, there is no avoiding this conclusion if one tries to grasp as a totality what is going on in the world.
- Robert Musil, in "The Man Without Qualities", na tradução inglesa de Sophie Wilkins e Burton Pike (Londres: Picador, 1997)