Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Book:The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa

'The Book of Disquiet' by Fernando Pessoa, which I would describe a kind of literary precursor to movies like the Fight Club, The Machinist or even American Psycho,  is an intriguing and mysterious introspection in which an alienated and introverted clerk escapes into his rambling, deeply philosophical dreams. The clerk is totally lost in the depths of his thoughts, a situation compounded by a self-imposed isolation and lack of willingness to move forward and get on with things. Instead, the clerk is trying to seek resolutions in his ponderings, when perhaps there are none. The continuous circling of thoughts, absence of meaningful action, and endless longing for sleep is worrying and creates a sense of existential nausea and unease (that'll be the "Disquiet"). That said, even though the the book can be a bit of a slog that can leave the reader in a daze, it is also magical, haunting and poetic, and is worth the perseverance for its originality. Interestingly, the books fragmentary nature is partly down to the fact that the book was put together from scraps of Pessoa's scribblings, discovered in one of the author's trunks after his death.

In following posts, I'll scribble down some of my favourite passages from this one-of-a-kind quest in to the desolate nowhere land that is the boundary of the interior of the individual.

"That is what I believe, this afternoon. Tomorrow morning it will be different, because tomorrow morning I will be different. What kind of believer will I be tomorrow? I don't know, because to know that I would already have to be there. Tomorrow or today not even the eternal God I believe in now will know, because today I'm me and tomorrow he perhaps may never have existed."
"Happy the man who demands no more from life than what life spontaneously gives him and guides himself with the instinct of cats who seek the sun where there is sun and, when there is no sun, find what warmth they can.  ....Happy the man who renounces everything and from whom, therefore, nothing can added or subtracted. "

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