Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life.

Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa

Profession: Author
Nationality: Portuguese


Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life. Fernando Pessoa

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Life is an experimental journey undertaken involuntarily.

It's been months since I last wrote. I've lived in a state of mental slumber, leading the life of someone else. I've felt, very often, a vicarious happiness. I haven't existed. I've been someone else. I've lived without thinking.

The circumstances of his life were marked by that strange but rather common phenomenon – perhaps, in fact, it's true for all lives – of being tailored to the image and likeness of his instincts, which tended towards inertia and withdrawal.

All is nothing, and in the entrance hall to the Invisible, whose open door reveals merely a closed door beyond, all things dance, servants of the wind that stirs them without hands – all things, big and small, which for us and in us formed the perceptible system of the universe.

I feel this because I feel nothing. I think this because this is nothing. Nothing, nothing, part of the night and the silence and what I share with them of vacancy, of negativity, of in-betweenness, a gap between me and myself, something forgotten by some god or other...

In general, men weep little and, when they do complain, they make literature out of it.

For me, possession is an absurd lake — very large, very dark and rather shallow. It only seems deep because it's full of filth and lies.

He was constitutionally condemned to suffer all kinds of anxieties, but fated to abandon them all. I never met a more extraordinary man. He had abdicated everything to which he was by nature destined, but not out of any kind of asceticism. Though naturally ambitious, he savored the pleasure of having no ambitions at all.

Freedom would mean rest, artistic achievement, the intellectual fulfillment of my being.

Then, as if they were wind-blown clouds, all of the ideas in which we've felt life and all the ambitions and plans on which we've based our hopes for the future tear apart and scatter like ashes of fog, tatters of what wasn't nor could ever be. And behind this disastrous rout, the black and implacable solitude of the desolate starry sky appears.

The love of absurdity and paradox is the animal happiness of the sad. Just as the normal man talks nonsense and slaps others on the back out of zest and vitality, so those incapable of joy and enthusiasm do somersaults in their minds and perform, in their own cold way, the warm gestures of life.

From so much self-revising, I've destroyed myself. From so much self-thinking, I'm now my thoughts and not I.

We know that the book we will never write will be bad. Even worse will be the one we put off writing. At least the book that has been written exists.

Only at night and all alone, withdrawn, forgotten and lost, with no connection to anything real or useful – only then do I find myself and feel comforted.