Pascal Mercier Quotes
What is it that we call loneliness. It can't simply be the absence of others, you can be alone and not lonely, and you can be among people and yet be lonely. So what is it? ... it isn't only that others are there, that they fill up the space next to us. But even when they celebrate us or give advice in a friendly conversation, clever, sensitive advice: even then we can be lonely. So loneliness is not something simply connected with the presence of others or with what they do. Then what? What on earth?”
“It wasn't only that you didn't see him anymore, meet him anymore. You saw his absence and encountered it as something tangible. His not being there was like the sharply outlined emptiness of a photo with a figure cut out precisely with scissors and now the missing figure is more important, more dominant than all others.”
“Disappointment is considered bad. A thoughtless prejudice. How, if not through disappointment, should we discover what we have expected and hoped for? And where, if not in this discovery, should self-knowledge lie? So how could one gain clarity about oneself without disappointment?
One could have the hope that he would become more real by reducing expectations, shrink to a hard, reliable core and thus be immune to the pain of disappointment. But how would it be to lead a life that banished every long, bold expectation, a life where there were only banal expectations like "the bus is coming"?”
“Don't waste your time, do something worthwhile with it."
But what can that mean: worthwhile? Finally to start realizing long-cherished wishes. To attack the error that there will always be time for it later....Take the long-dreamed-of trip, learn this language, read those books, buy yourself this jewelry, spend a night in that famous hotel. Don't miss out on yourself.
Bigger things are also part of that: to give up the loathed profession, break out of a hated milieu. Do what contributes to making you more genuine, moves you closer to yourself.”
“I would not like to live in a world without cathedrals. I need their beauty and grandeur. I need their imperious silence. I need it against the witless bellowing of the barracks yard and the witty chatter of the yes-men. I want to hear the rustling of the organ, this deluge of ethereal notes. I need it against the shrill farce of marches.”
“NOBREZA SILENCIOSA. SILENT NOBILITY. It is a mistake to believe that the crucial moments of a life when its habitual direction changes forever must be loud and shrill dramatics, washed away by fierce internal surges. This is a kitschy fairy tale started by boozing journalists, flashbulb-seeking filmmakers and authors whose minds look like tabloids. In truth, the dramatics of a life-determining experience are often unbelievably soft. It has so little akin to the bang, the flash, of the volcanic eruption that, at the moment it is made, the experience is often not even noticed. When it deploys its revolutionary effect and plunges a life into a brand-new light giving it a brand-new melody, it does that silently and in this wonderful silence resides its special nobility.”
“O VENENO ARDENTE DO DESGOSTO. THE WHITE HOT POISON OF ANGER.
When others make us angry at them- at their shamelessness, injustice, inconsideration- then they exercise power over us, they proliferate and gnaw at our soul, then anger is like a white-hot poison that corrods all mild, noble and balanced feelings and robs us of sleep. Sleepless, we turn on the light and are angry at the anger that has lodged like a succubus who sucks us dry and debilitates us. We are not only furious at the damage, but also that it develops in us all by itself, for while we sit on the edge of the bed with aching temples, the distant catalyst remains untouched by the corrosive force of the anger that eats at us. On the empty internal stage bathed in the harsh light of mute rage, we perform all by ourselves a drama with shadow figures and shadow words we hurl against enemies in helpless rage we feel as icy blazing fire in our bowels. And the greater our despair that is only a shadow play and not a real discussion with the possibility of hurting the other and producing a balance of suffering, the wilder the poisonous shadows dance and haunt us even in the darkest catacombs of our dreams. (We will turn the tables, we think grimly, and all night long forge words that will produce in the other the effect of a fire bomb so that now he will be the one with the flames of indignation raging inside while we, soothed by schadenfreude, will drink our coffee in cheerful calm.)
What could it mean to deal appropriately with anger? We really don't want to be soulless creatures who remain thoroughly indifferent to what they come across, creatures whose appraisals consist only of cool, anemic judgments and nothing can shake them up because nothing really bothers them. Therefore, we can't seriously wish not to know the experience of anger and instead persist in an equanimity that wouldn't be distinguished from tedious insensibility. Anger also teaches us something about who we are. Therefore this is what I'd like to know: What can it mean to train ourselves in anger and imagine that we take advantage of its knowledge without being addicted to its poison?
We can be sure that we will hold on to the deathbed as part of the last balance sheet- and this part will taste bitter as cyanide- that we have wasted too much, much too much strength and time on getting angry and getting even with others in a helpless shadow theater, which only we, who suffered impotently, knew anything about. What can we do to improve this balance sheet? Why did our parents, teachers and other instructors never talk to us about it? Why didn't they tell something of this enormous significance? Not give us in this case any compass that could have helped us avoid wasting our soul on useless, self-destructive anger?”