the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

quotes: Pessoa on hating summer

Posted by rigorousm on June 19, 2012


Before summer ends and autumn arrives, in the warm interim when the air weighs heavy and the colors dim, the late afternoons wear on the almost tangible robe of imitation glory. They’re comparable to those tricks of the imagination, when it makes nostalgia out of nothing, and they go on indefinitely, like the wakes of ships that form never-ending snakes.

These late afternoons fill me, like a sea at high tide, with a feeling worse than tedium but for which there’s no other name. it’s a feeling of desolation I’m unable to pinpoint, a shipwreck of my entire soul.  … And the physical universe is like a corpse I loved when it was life, but it has all dissolved to nothing in the still warm light of the last colored clouds.

My tedium takes on an air of horror, and my boredom is a fear. My sweat isn’t cold, but my awareness of it is. I’m not physically ill, but my soul’s anxiety is so intense that it passes through my pores and chills my body.

So great is this tedium, so sovereign my horror of being alive, that I can’t conceive of anything that might serve as a palliative, antidote, balsam or distraction for it. Sleeping horrifies me the way everything does. Dying is as horrifying as everything else. Going and stopping are the same impossible thing. Hope and doubt are equally cold and grey. I’m a shelf of empty jars.

I don’t know what I want or what I don’t want. I’ve stopped wanting, stopped knowing how to want, stopped knowing the emotions or thoughts by which people generally recognize that they want something or want to want it. I don’t know who I am or what I am. Like someone buried under a collapsed wall, I lie under the toppled vacuity of the entire universe. And so I go on, in the wake of myself, until the night sets in and a little of the comfort of being different wafts, like a breeze, over my incipient self-awareness.

— Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet p 184


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