The hermit

I wasn’t a rebel. Which is not to imply that I was resigned, for the fact was I didn’t know what I ought to resign myself to.

*

I was in a vast space, and yet it was locked.

*

When do I hit upon the truth, when I see everything as desolation and despair, or when I see all creation as a joyous month of May in full bloom? But we cannot know, our ignorance is boundless. We have neither the right to judge, nor the possibility of judging.

*

I don’t have any desires, or rather only a few, or rather I don’t have them any more. If I have any, they’re not worth being exploited and encouraged. Perhaps I actually do have desires. But they’re dormant. I’m not inclined to wake them up. What are my desires? That people leave me alone; that other people’s desires leave me alone and don’t involve me in their repercussions. What I desire most of all is not to have any desires. And yet I notice that I do have some.

*

‘Aren’t you ashamed to have no goal in life, to be living for nothing?’ Pierre Ramboule asked me one day, unless it was Jacques, I don’t remember which. After a thorough self-examination, I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t ashamed […] I don’t feel obliged to answer that question.

*

People tend to avoid or forget the unthinkable; their thinking begins where the unthinkable ends; they base their thinking on the unthinkable, and for me too that is unthinkable.

*

I think that I’m at the wall of the world; forget the other side of the wall.

*

No one is guilty of anything. Or else everyone is guilty of everything, which comes to the same thing.

 

— Ionesco, The Hermit (trans. R. Seaver)

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