This excerpt is from the opening paragraph of Som Raj Gupta’s The Word Speaks to the Faustian Man. I’ve been contemplating this book for years, since reading A Review of Roberto Calasso and Som Raj Gupta.
There are men who read a lot but do not turn into scholars because they do not read for the sake of systematic research and within the parameters of a methodology but in the hope, ultimately vain and futile, of finding some meaning and purpose in life. Their reading is often extensive, almost always profound and concentrated, but not systematic and objective enough to satisfy the norms set up by the great seats of learning and research. Such men think long and deeply but do not turn into thinkers because they think in pain and in anguish, think as much with their blood, their breath, their pulse as with their brains. Their thinking tells visibly upon their health and the working of their minds; its effect can be seen in their nervousness, in their indecisiveness, in their embarrassing clumsiness. They do not turn into thinkers because they do not think in what are called precise and rigorous terms and do not, cannot, look at every aspect of their thought as a systematic thinker would do. They are more anxious to see truth, to feel it and live it than to talk about it in coherent and precisely communicative terms. Such men also fail to be pious people because they find it difficult to observe the accepted laws of piety, or to be civilised because they do not always live up to the norms of civilisation. Nor can they pray with fervent devotion as men of faith do because their souls often remain amassed and frozen within themselves. They are, in one word, unhappy souls that can never come to be successful in life, in thought, in cultural pursuits. To fail in every sphere is their destiny—and the promise of their redemption.