Yet I'm sure there's something more to be read in a man. People dare not -- they dare not turn the page. The laws of mimicry -- I call them the laws of fear. People are afraid to find themselves alone, and don't find themselves at all. I hate this moral agoraphobia -- it's the worst kind of cowardice. You can't create something without being alone. But who's trying to create here? What seems different in yourself: that's the one rare thing you possess, the one thing which gives each of us his worth; and that's just what we try to suppress. We imitate. And we claim to love life.
What would a narrative of happiness be like? All that can be described is what prepares it, and then what destroys it.
But I think there comes a point in love, a unique moment which later on the soul seeks in vain to surpass, and that the effort to revive such happiness depletes it; that nothing thwarts happiness so much as the memory of happiness.
Most often people seek in life occasions for persisting in their opinions rather than for educating themselves.
No encounter occured that day, and I was glad of it; I took out of my pocket a little Homer I had not opened since leaving Marseilles, reread three lines of the Odyssey, learned them by heart; then, finding sufficient sustenance in their rhythm and reveling in them at leisure, I closed the book and remained, trembling, more alive than I had thought possible, my mind numb with happiness.
This is my thesis: Do you know what is needful to turn an honest man into a rogue! A change of scene--a moment's forgetfulness suffice.
I have always thought that great artists were those who dared to confer the right of beauty on things so natural that people say on seeing them, Why did I never realize before that that was beautiful too?
Do you know why our poetry today and especially our philosophy are such dead issues? Because they've cut themselves off from life. Now, Greece idealized on life's own level: an artist's life was already a poetic achievement; a philosopher's life was an enactment of his philosophy; and when they were a part of life that way, instead of ignoring each other, philosophy could nourish poetry, poetry express philosophy, and together achieve an admirable persuasiveness. Today beauty no longer acts; and action no longer bothers about being beautiful; and wisdom operates on the sidelines.
I am neither sad nor cheerful, the air here fills one with a kind of vague excitement and induces a state as far removed from cheerfulness as it is from sorrow, perhaps it is happiness.
Most people believe it is only by constraint they can get any good out of themselves, and so they live in a state of psychological distortion. It is his own self that each of them is most afraid of resembling. Each of them sets up a pattern and imitates it; he doesn't even choose the pattern he imitates: he accepts a pattern that has been chosen for him. And yet I verily believe there are other things to be read in man. But people don't dare to - they don't dare to turn the page. Laws of imitation! Laws of fear, I call them. The fear of finding oneself alone - that is what they suffer from - and so they don't find themselves at all. I detest such moral agoraphobia - the most odious cowardice I call it. Why, one always has to be alone to invent anything - but they don't want to invent anything. The part in each of us that we feel is different from other people is just the part that is rare, the part that makes our special value - and that is the very thing people try to suppress. They go on imitating. And yet they think they love life.
I do not want to recollect. I should be afraid of preventing the future and of allowing the past to encroach on me. It is out of the utter forgetfulness of yesterday that I create every new hour's freshness. It is never enough for me to have been happy. I do not believe in dead things and cannot distinguish between being no more and never having been.
What would be the description of happines? Nothing, except what prepares and then what destroys it, can be told.
We prefer to go deformed and distorted all our lives rather than not resemble the portrait of ourselves which we ourselves have first drawn. It’s absurd. We run the risk of warping what’s best in us
The secret seemed to me much more mysterious than that; it was the secret, I thought, of one who had known death; for I moved a stranger among ordinary people, like a man who has risen from the grave, and at first I merely felt rather painfully out of my element; but soon I became aware of a very different feeling.Was it pride now? Perhaps; but at any rate there was no trace of vanity mixed with it. It was rather, for the first time, the consciousness of my own worth. What separated me - distinguished me - from other people was crucial; what no one said, what no one could say but myself, that was my task to say.
I hoped at first to find a rather more direct comprehension of life in one or two novelists and poets; but if they really had such a comprehension, it must be confessed they did not show it; most of them, I thought, did not really live - contented themselves with appearing to live, and were on the verge of considering life merely as a vexatious hindrance to writing.
When I was younger, I used to make resolutions, which I imagined were virtuous. I was less anxious to be what I was, than to become what I wished to be. Now, I am not far from thinking that in irresolution lies the secret of not going old.
The most important things to say are those which often I did not think necessary for me to say — because they were too obvious.
He let Julius go. There was beginning to rise in him a feeling of profound disgust--a kind of hatred almost, of himself, of Julius, of everything.