Saturday, July 5, 2014

Saturday commute cx: More than cab fare

 It seems likely, when we go
 back through it, that much
 of the culture of our time's
 overlapping revolutions will
 look very dated - as if, may
 I add, this were the fault
 of their triumph, and not its

 I don't care how it looks,
 how archly one eschewed or
 grandly one immersed oneself
 in the turmoil whose harvest
 we all celebrate. This was not
 so. There were always voices
 to regret blowing off Paestum
 on the road to Naples, who'd
 lead us back. Qualche ristoro.

I was no longer the pale, scholarly creature to which my former moral-ity, with its rigid restrictions, was so well suited. My convales-cence had been more than that: I had experienced an amplification, a recrudescence of life, a pulse of richer, warmer blood which reached my thoughts, touching them one by one, penetrating everywhere, stirring and colouring the most remote, delicate and secret fibres of my being .. I was guided by a happy sense of fatalism. I was afraid that too hasty a scrutiny would disturb the mystery of my slow tranformation. One has to give the secret writing time to appear and not to seek to fill it in oneself.

  At the same time, an American
  culture incapable of the bore-
  dom of discretion has awarded
  power repeatedly to reaction-   ary entertainers. Their cor-     ruption of American juris-
  prudence by the most frivo-
  lous definitions of person-
  hood does not plague our time
  by accident or even with nov-
  elty, but by infiltrating life
  sinecures with middle-aged
  casuists. At the very time,
  in short, that the generation
  of generation is at its least
  deceived, it may be at its
  most regressively exploited,
  not to say, governed. There
  is nothing to resist it but
  superior entertainment. Slow
  scrutiny is for the soul, not 
  for the State.

André Gide
Nobel Prize, 1947
David Watson,
Penguin, 2000©

No comments:

Post a Comment