I read Valéry’s Notebooks very slowly, often just a page a day. I find myself chewing over the fragments in the notebooks. They need time to ferment. Often they serve literature’s most valued function, that of clarifying the way another person understands or observes some aspect of himself or another. Or they offer that icy cold shock that another person shares a way of encountering people or situations, those aspects of self we never voice for fear of exposure or ridicule. This fragment has me stuck in recognition and contemplation:
The strongest of my feelings is the very hatred of my feelings, those absurd, inexplicable, transcendent and all-powerful masters whose elementary force catches you sideways and dismantles the finely-tuned apparatus of precise thinking – or carries it away from its own climate and era, imposing upon it an invasive matter, or a distorting rapidity.