While his heart still beats, while his flesh still moves, I cannot accept that a being endowed with will-power can give in to despair.
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.
It is the rising level of consciousness, or the degree to which it rises, that is the continual intensification of despair: the more consciousness the more intense the despair.
Believe me, there is no such thing as great suffering, great regret, great memory… Everything is forgotten, even a great love. That’s what’s sad about life, and also what’s wonderful about it. There is only a way of looking at things, a way that comes to you every once in a while. That’s why it’s good to have had love in your life after all, to have had an unhappy passion – it gives you an alibi for the vague despairs we all suffer from.