Near Michael an Arab was sleeping… He leaned forward to contemplate the sleeper: so comfortable, so peaceful, nodding. Michael’s thoughts spoke to him: you are happy, servant of Allah. You’re probably illiterate; you’ve never heard of nuclear fission or Heinrich von Kleist. The problem of the immortality of the soul leaves you indifferent; knowing whether Hegel was profoundly religious or profoundly atheistic dos not trouble your mind. You’re happy. Allah is great, and if what he accomplishes is not, that’s his affair and not yours. You just sleep. One day is like another, one dream is like another, men repeat the same stories always, the rivers flow to the sea: why torture yourself? Why covet what your life lacks? Why run off to distant places if Allah is great everywhere, in sleep as in happiness, in joy as in forgetfulness? Right, you are right, sleep. Peace be with you, faithful servant of Allah. Tomorrow you will welcome a new day no different from yesterday. You’ll marvel at the timeless bravura of the snake charmer, you’ll come back to smoke your hookah, you’ll stare into empty space, and night will find you here again: nothing will have changed. Happy those who close their eyes: for them nothing changes.

Elie Wiesel, The Town Beyond the Wall, 104