Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Rather in love

with this Roland Barthes book on the Neutral, something about its style and preoccupations just particularly speaks to me. It's full of all sorts of good things, here's another one that I can't resist:

Gide. His biographer (the Petite Dame) makes him into a specialist of hesitation: “‘Coffee or NescafĂ© (decaffeinated)? But say it, so that we make more of it!' He looks at me with a disconsolate face: 'But you strip me of all my possibilities of hesitation.'” Hesitations about traveling (in particular toward the end of his life): his last project to travel, Morocco (which he didn’t do) → contradictory telegrams (1946): “So that there he is totally hesitatnt as always and all entangled in the middle of too many temptations . . .” (1946). And this, which perfectly summarizes the theme of Gidian hesitation such as it was perceived by people around him (in other words, his legend): “Before letting him go, there is always the painful moment when I ask him the indispensable question: ‘Will you lunch and will you have dinner with me?’ which he is not far from considering as an attack on his freedom. <…> The difficulty he has making a decision is truly incredible. It’s not so much the choice that seems difficult to him, but it’s that the choice risks depriving him of the more agreeable, the unexpected that could occur.” (1946) → somehow the hedonist’s anxiety: a logic of the “pickup” {drague}, of the adventure (adventure: the agreeable: “tellable” unexpected): to study: waiting for the new.

I partly find this funny because I am pathologically decisive myself, I rarely hesitate in matters large or small; the adventure itself often seems disagreeable to me, do not for instance arrange for me a surprise party, although it is true that some of the most lovely moments in life are quite unexpected!

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