Thursday, October 05, 2006

In Search of Lost Identity . . .

". . . it seemed to me that I myself was the immediate subject of my book: a church, a quartet . . . This impression would persist for some moments after I awoke . . . Then it would begin to seem unintelligible, as the thoughts of a former existence must be to a reincarnate spirit; the subject of my book would separate itself from me, leaving me free to apply myself to it or not"

". . . when I awoke in the middle of the night, not knowing where I was, I could not even be sure at first who I was; I had only the most rudimentary sense of existence . . . I was more destitute than the cave-dweller; but then the memory . . . would come like a rope let down from heaven to draw me up out of the abyss of not-being, from which I should have never escaped by myself"

"I . . . examine my own mind. It alone can discover the truth. But how? What an abyss of uncertainty, whenever the mind feels overtaken by itself; when it, the seeker, is at the same time the dark region through which it must go seeking and where all its equipment will avail it nothing. Seek? More than that: create. It is face to face with something which does not yet exist, to which it alone can give reality and substance, which it alone can bring into the light of day."

(Marcel Proust, A la recherche du temps perdu. Trans. C. K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin)

No comments: