To stay alive

The adolescent years are important. Once you have developed a sufficiently ideal, noble, and perfect sense of love, you are done for. Nothing, henceforth, will suffice.

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Life is a series of destruction tests. Pass the first of them, and fail the later ones.

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When you provoke in others a mixture of horrified pity and contempt, you will know that you are on the right track. You can begin to write.

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Do not try too hard to have a coherent personality; this personality exists, whether you like it or not.

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You will never really know the part of yourself which compels you to write. You will know it only through contradictory forms which merely approach it. Egotism or devotion? Cruelty or compassion? Any of these possibilities could be argued for. Proof that, ultimately, you know nothing about it; thus, do not behave as if you did.

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One could consider adopting what could be called Pessoa’s strategy: find a little job, publish nothing, and await death peacefully.

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Do not forget psychiatrists, who have at their disposal the power to grant sick-leave.

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Have no fear of happiness; it does not exist.

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Belong to nothing. Or else belong, and then immediately betray. No theoretical engagement should hold you up for very long.

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Most people come to terms with life, or else they die. You are living suicides.

– Houellebecq, ‘To Stay Alive’ (tr. Davis)

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