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Every day I place less value in intellect. Every day I see more clearly that if the writer is to repossess himself of some part of his old impressions, which is to say, to reach something personal… then he must put it aside. What intellect restores to us under the name of the past, is not that. In reality, as soon as each hour of one’s life has died, it embodies itself in some material object, as do the souls of the dead in certain folk-stories, and hides there. There it remains captive, captive forever, unless we should happen upon the object, recognize what lies within, call it by its name, and so set it free. Most likely we may never happen upon the object (or the sensation, since we apprehend every object as sensation) that it hides in; and thus there are hours of our life that will never be revived: for this object is so tiny, so lost in the world, and there is so little likelihood that we shall come across it.
–Marcel Proust, Contre Sainte-Beuve, projet de préface (ca. 1905), in the Pléiade ed., p. 211 (S.H. transl.)
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Number of people who attended the World Grits Festival, held in St. George, South Carolina, last spring:
The brown bears of Greece continued chewing through telephone poles.
In Peru, a 51-year-old activist became the first former sex worker to run for the national legislature. “I’m going to put order,” she said, “in that big brothel which is Congress.”
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“Civilization masks us with a screen, from ourselves and from one another, with thin depth of unreality. We habitually live — do we not? — in a world self-created, half established, of false values arbitrarily upheld, largely inspired by misconception, misapprehension, wrong perspective, and defective proportion, misapplication.”