motto lotto

Thursday, February 18, 2010

disquiet for the day

The wise man makes his life monotonous, for then even the tiniest incident becomes imbued with great significance. After his third lion the lion hunter loses interest in the adventure of the hunt. For my monotonous cook there is something modestly apocalyptic about every street fight he witnesses. To someone who has never been out of Lisbon the tram ride to Benfica is like a trip to the infinite and if one day he were to visit Sintra, he would feel as if he journeyed to Mars. On the other hand, the traveler who has covered the globe can find nothing new for 5,000 miles around, because he’s always seeing new things; there’s novelty and there’s the boredom of the eternally new and the latter brings about the death of the former.

The truly wise man could enjoy the whole spectacle of the work from his armchair; he wouldn’t need to talk to anyone or to know how to read, just how to make use of his five senses and a soul innocent of sadness.

One must monotonize existence in order to rid it of monotony. One must make the everyday so anodyne that the slightest incident proves entertaining. In the midst of my day-to-day work, dull, repetitive and pointless, visions of escape surface in me, vestiges of dreams of far-off islands, parties held in the avenues of gardens in some other age, different landscapes, different feelings, a different me. But, between balance sheets, I realize that if I had all that, none of it would be mine. The truth is that Senhor Vasques is worth more than any Dream Kings; the office in Rua dos Douradores is worth more than all those broad avenues in impossible gardens. Because I have Senhor Vasques I can enjoy the dreams of the Dream Kings; because I have the office in Rua Dos Douradores I can enjoy my inner visions of non-existent landscapes. But if the Dream Kings were mine, what would I have to dream about? If I possessed the impossible landscapes, what would remain of the impossible?

May I always be blessed with the monotony, the dull sameness of identical days, my indistinguishable todays and yesterdays, so that I may enjoy with an open heart the fly that distracts me, drifting randomly past my eyes, the gust of laughter that wafts volubly up from the street somewhere down below, the sense of vast freedom when the office closes for the night, and the infinite rest of my days off.

Because I am nothing, I can imagine myself to be anything. If I were somebody, I wouldn’t be able to. An assistant book-keeper can imagine himself to be a Roman emperor; the King of England can’t do that, because the King of England has lost the ability in his dreams to be any other king than the one he is. His reality limits what he can feel.

Fernando Pessoa The Book of Disquiet

This goes along well with these quotes from Dumas and Nietzsche.

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