Friday, September 29, 2006

On Servitude and Freedom . . .

“Therefore, this voluntary servitude is the beginning of freedom . . . We are free in life, but subject to purpose: the sophism of freedom of indifference was picked apart long ago. The writer who constantly creates a void in his mind, thinking to free it from any external influence in order to be sure of remaining individual, yields unwittingly to a sophism just as naïve. Actually the only times when we truly have all our powers of mind are those when we do not believe ourselves to be acting with independence, when we do not arbitrarily choose the goal of our efforts. The subject of the novelist, the vision of the poet, the truth of the philosopher are imposed on them in a manner almost inevitable, exterior, so to speak, to their thought. And it is by subjecting his mind to the expression of this vision and to the approach of this truth that the artist becomes truly himself.”

(Marcel Proust, “Preface to La Bible d’Amiens”)

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