Sunday, October 22, 2017

My Years With Proust - Day 617

   But to what purpose, since even if, at that moment, she had had time to see herself as she was, we had both of us understood where our happiness lay, what we ought to do, only when, only because, that happiness was no longer possible, when and because we could no longer do it - whether it be that, so long as things are possible, we postpone them, or that they cannot assume the force of attraction, that apparent ease of realisation save when, projected on to the ideal void of the imagination, they are removed from their deadening and degrading submersion in physical being.  The idea that one will die is more painful than dying, but less painful than the idea that another person is dead, that, becoming once more a still, plane surface after have engulfed a person, a reality extends, without even a ripple at the point of disappearance, from which that person is excluded, in which there no longer exists any will, any knowledge, and from which it is as difficult to reascend to the idea that that person has lived as, from the still recent memory of his life, it is to think that he is comparable with the insubstantial images, the memories, left us by the characters in a novel we have been reading.
Marcel Proust, The Fugitive, pp. 518-519

Marcel continues to struggle with Albertine's death, and he makes the realization that the "idea that one will die is more painful than dying, but less painful than the idea that another person is dead . . ."  Don't we all have that fantasy about attending our own funeral, mainly we want to see how distraught every woman is who didn't sleep with us is at that moment (which, of course, begs the question of why all these women are at your funeral)?  It's funny that in that fantasy none of us are ever said.  Instead mainly we just view it as validation of that the fact we were right or that our genius was underappreciated.  We never imagine that we're going to cry at the loss.   Maybe we're crying at the unknown.  There is so much that we didn't know about that other person - and so many things that we wish we had said or done - whereas we're pretty certain about who we are/were.

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