sábado, 3 de enero de 2015

Nausea - Jean-Paul Sartre


Roquentin, Meursault; Meursault, Roquentin. Now, go outside, grab a cup of coffee and have fun. I'll be here, sitting on the floor surrounded by cupcakes, ice cream and some twisted books, like an existentialist Bridget Jones, just contemplating my own ridiculous existence, thanks to you guys and your crude and insightful comments about life and its inevitable absurdity.

It's a tough read. Especially if you feel like a giant failure that never lived, but existed (to live, one of the rarest thing in the world, according to another great writer). I don't know about the life situation (and mental health condition) of you people out there, so I will certainly avoid the pressure of recommending this book. At the same time, I wish everyone could enjoy Sartre's beautiful writing. Yes, that is beautiful. And not too difficult to understand.

A couple of samples:
"Something has happened to me, I can't doubt it any more. It came as an illness does, not like an ordinary certainty, not like anything evident. It came cunningly, little by little; I felt a little strange, a little put out, that's all. Once established it never moved, it stayed quiet, and I was able to persuade myself that nothing was the matter with me, that it was a false alarm. And now, it's blossoming."

"When you live alone you no longer know what it is to tell a story: the plausible disappears at the same time as the friends."  (So simple and true.) 

"If I could keep myself from thinking! I try, and succeed: my head seems to fill with smoke... and then it starts again: "Smoke . . . not to think . . . don't want to think . . . I think I don't want to think. I mustn't think that I don't want to think. Because that's still a thought." Will there never be an end to it? My thought is me: that's why I can't stop. I exist because I think . . . and I can't stop myself from thinking. At this very moment - it's frightful - if I exist, it is because I am horrified at existing." 

"They did not want to exist, only they could not help themselves... Every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness and dies by chance." 

"You know, it's quite a job starting to love somebody. You have to have energy, generosity, blindness. There is even a moment, in the very beginning, when you have to jump across a precipice: if you think about it you don't do it. I know I'll never jump again." (NEVER) 

His words are lethal. And real. And that's a dangerous mix. He shares some thoughts that a lot of people can relate to, and, in most cases, those people won't know what to do with all that. I know I don't. Besides feeling sick, what can you do? Write a book? Eat more ice cream? Go skydiving? Plan a round-the-world trip? Quit your job and live in the country, eating raspberries? Oh, to face the absurdity of the world and to feel free because of that. To stop this never-ending search for meaning. To live. To live? A rare thing, indeed. (Oh dear, I sound like a self-help author.)

This was the first time I read Sartre. I've read the brilliant, the one and only, the master at describing the human condition, Dostoevsky; Camus, whose works I really like too; Kierkegaard, the pioneer. So, Sartre was a must-read. Those authors speak right to my soul (wherever that is), they get me (well, not Kierkegaard; at least, not that much. It's complicated. We're cool, though). It's a comforting feeling... being understood by some dead writers that you'll never meet, obviously.
Okay. So, I loved this book. It's a new favorite of mine. And I need some Seinfeld reruns now.

Note to self: if you're ever going to re-read this, don't do it while listening to Enya, Craig Armstrong or Joy Division. It wasn't a nice feeling.

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