Cesare Pavese (September 9, 1908 August 27, 1950) was an Italian poet and novelist. Born in San Stefano Belbo, in the province of Cuneo, he moved very early to Torino. As a young man of letters, Pavese had a particular interest ... more
At great periods you have always felt, deep within you, the temptation to commit suicide. You gave yourself to it, breached your own defenses. You were a child. The idea of suicide was a protest against life; by dying, you would escape this longing for death.
To choose a hardship for ourselves is our only defense against that hardship. This is what is meant by accepting suffering. Those who, by their very nature, can suffer completely, utterly, have an advantage. That is how we can disarm the power of suffering, make it our own creation, our own choice; submit to it. A justification for suicide.
Suffering is by no means a privilege, a sign of nobility, a reminder of God. Suffering is a fierce, bestial thing, commonplace, uncalled for, natural as air. It is intangible; no one can grasp it or fight against it; it dwells in time -- is the same thing as time; if it comes in fits and starts, that is only so as to leave the sufferer more defenseless during the moments that follow, those long moments when one relives the last bout of torture and waits for the next.
Literature is a defense against the attacks of life. It says to life: You can't deceive me. I know your habits, foresee and enjoy watching all your reactions, and steal your secret by involving you in cunning obstructions that halt your normal flow.
Living is like working out a long addition sum, and if you make a mistake in the first two totals you will never find the right answer. It means involving oneself in a complicated chain of circumstances.
It is not that the child lives in a world of imagination, but that the child within us survives and starts into life only at rare moments of recollection, which makes us believe, and it is not true, that, as children, we were imaginative?