05 August 2009

from Journey to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand Céline

"When, grown older, we look back on the selfishness of the people who've been mixed up with our lives, we see it undeniably for what it was, as hard as steel or platinum and a lot more durable than time itself.

"As long as we're young, we manage to find excuses for the stoniest indifference, the most blatant caddishness, we put them down to emotional eccentricity or some sort of romantic inexperience. But later on, when life shows us how much cunning, cruelty, and malice are required just to keep the body at ninety-eight point six, we catch on, we know the score, we begin to understand how much swinishness it takes to make up a past. Just take a close look at yourself and the degree of rottenness you've come to. There's no mystery about it, no more room for fairy tales; if you've lived this long, it's because you've squashed any poetry you had in you. Life is keeping body and soul together."


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