Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Series of Questions

"What do we serve, we who work in language? Is it not possible to imagine an aircraft carrier named Pushkin or a submarine named Dostoevsky or an interplanetary vehicle for a conquest of planets Gogol: Poor Gogol. He did not want this. He did not know. And we, do we now know how we will be used?

--Czeslaw Milosz

As a continuation of said sentiment regarding one's use to others...

"How do I know I have no friends? It's very easy: I discovered it the day I thought of killing myself to play a trick on them, in a way. But to punish whom? Some would be surprised, and no one would feel punished. I realized I had no friends: Besides, even if I had had, I shouldn't be any better off. If I had been able to commit suicide and then see their reaction, why then the game would have been worth the candle. But the earth is dark, cher ami, the coffin thick, the shroud opaque...Men are never convinced of your reasons, of your sincerity, of the seriousness of your sufferings, except by your death...But you kill yourself and what does it matter whether or not they believe you? You are not there to see their amazement and their contrition. In order to cease being a doubtful case, one has to cease being, that's all.
...Ah cheri,, how poor in invention men are! They always think one commits suicide for a reason. But it's quite possible to commit suicide for two reasons. That never occurs to them, no. So what's the good of dying intentionally, of sacrificing yourself to the idea that you want people to have of you? Once you are dead, they will take advantage of it to attribute idiotic or vulgar motives to your action. Martyrs, cher ami, must choose between being forgotten, mocked, or made use of. As for being understood, never!

--The Fall, Albert Camus, pg 75-76

No comments: