Deeply lost in the night.- Franz Kafka, "At Night*"
Just as one sometimes lowers one's head to reflect, thus to be utterly lost in the night. All around people are asleep. It's just play acting, an innocent self-deception, that they sleep in houses, in safe beds, under a safe roof, stretched out or curled up on mattresses, in sheets, under blankets; in reality they have flocked together as they had once upon a time and again later in a deserted region, a camp in the open, a countless number of men, an army, a people, under a cold sky on cold earth, collapsed where once they had stood, forehead pressed on the arm, face to the ground, breathing quietly.
And you are watching, are one of the watchmen, you find the next one by brandishing a burning stick from the brushwood pile beside you.
Why are you watching?
Someone must watch, it is said. Someone must be there.
* Wikipedia notes that “Kafka suggested the tale was influenced both by his persistent insomnia and a desire to relate the potential dangers of people in society who are not watched when they should be.”