The passage below, Beckett rehashing Schopenhauer, is from Mark Nixon’s study of Beckett’s tour of Nazi Germany, Samuel Beckett’s German Diaries 1936-1937. My library copy has to go back today. They come with a price tag suitable only for institutions, but they are so rich and insightful I’m going to have to spring for a copy.
There are moments when the veil of hope is finally torn apart and the suddenly liberated eyes see their world, as it is, as it must be. Alas, it does not last long, the revelation quickly passes, the eyes can only bear such pitiless light for a short while, the membrane of hope grows again and one returns to the world of phenomena.
Hope is the cataract of the spirit, which cannot be pierced until it is completely ripe for decay. Not every cataract ripens, and many a human being can even spend his whole life within the mist of hope. And if the cataract may have been healed for the moment, it always forms itself again immediately, as does the hope.
I just read something related from Bergson last night: “Although we are free whenever we are willing to get back into ourselves, it seldom happens that we are willing.”
Hope you’re well, Anthony.
Hello Caille, thanks for adding that quotation. I’ve only ever dipped into Bergson, must explore his work more deeply.
I’ve only ever dipped into Beckett (sacrilege, I know), so I must do more exploring as well!
Watt or Murphy are good places to begin.
Wishlisted both. Thanks!