This was what I wanted to experience, what I was in quest of at least. Unsure of myself in the scheme of things arranged at great cost by a race of clever children, I went to the hills to inquire of Nature why I am ill at ease among my fellows. I wanted to settle the point whether it is my existence that is alien to the human scheme, or the actual social order that has drifted away from the eternal harmony, and become something abnormal and exceptional in the development of the world. Now at last I believe I am sure of myself. There are single moments that put to flight doubt, mistrust, prejudice; moments in which one recognizes the real by an imperative and unshakable conviction.

– Senancour, Obermann (tr. Barnes)

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