Thursday, October 05, 2006

He could see that all his reflections, forethought and his easy mental reconciliation were not worth much and did not help at the moment when the blow fell. For, it is one thing to project your fears in your imagination, to foresee the worst, to work out your attitude and your defense; and at the same time to feel the satisfaction that all is still in order and in its place. It is quite another to find yourself facing an actual breakdown which demands urgent decisions and concrete actions. was difficult not to think, not to remember, not to see. He had spent twenty-five years looking for "the middle way" which would bring peace of mind and give a person the dignity he could not live without. For twenty-five year he had been moving from one "elation" to another, seeking and finding, losing and gaining, and now he had arrived, exhausted, inwardly rent, worn out, back at the point from which he had set out....This meant that all the paths were only apparently going forward, but were in fact leading in a circle, like the deceptive labyrinths of oriental tales, and so they had brought him, tired and faint-hearted, to this place, among the torn papers and jumbled copies, to the point where the circle began again, as from every other point. This meant there could be no middle path, that true path leading forward, into stability, peace and dignity, but that we weretravelinglling in a circle, always along the same, deceptive path, and only the people and the generations change as they travel, constantly deceived....One just travels. And the road has meaning and dignity only in so far as we are able to find those qualities in ourselves. There is no path or purpose. One just travels. Travels and exhausts oneself.

Ivo Andric, The Days of the Consuls

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