вторник, 4 ноября 2014 г.

Søren Kierkegaard to Julie Thompsen – February 1847 (translated by Henric Rosenmeier)

My dear Cousin,
… all this may seem rather strange to you. Perhaps you are thinking as follows: “The time he uses to write a letter could just as well be used to pay a visit – and used far better.” I concede it, I concede everything, I make every concession – in order to do something, at least, and I prefer to do it in writing, for to do it in conversation would really mean defeat. The fact is that I am actually in love with the company of my pen. It might be said that this is a poor object on which to cast one’s affection. Perhaps! But is it not as though I were always content with it. Occasionally I hurl it away in anger. Alas, this very anger shows me once more that I am indeed in love with it, for the quarrel ends as lovers’ quarrels do. I confide completely in my pen, whether I become angry when it sometimes seems to me that it cannot do what I can do, cannot follow the thought that I am thinking – or whether I am surprised when it seems as if it can do what I cannot. I cannot tear myself away from the company of my pen; indeed, it prevents me from seeking the company of anybody else.

So as I sit here at home and happen to think about somebody or other who is dear to me, I think, “Now you ought to go and visit him.” But what happens? I think about it for such a long time that finally the pen (yes, for it must be the pen!) tricks its way into my hand. Instead of pay a visit in town, one more letter takes shape at home. Assisted by the pen I now converse with this person, and when I have finished, the pen actually laughs at me, for it has tricked me. By then the letter is finished, and I think to myself, “Now you must be sure to seal and send it”. What happens? Well it must be the pen that makes me believe that it can inform me perfectly well as to what impression the receipt of my letter will make on the recipient: what he will say and what I will say in my turn – what he will then say, etc. In brief, instead of sending the letter, which is burned, that letter occasions a small sketch from nature. Of course that sketch cannot be sent and accordingly it must also be burned. Once again the pen has tricked me. It tricks me out of many of the pleasures of life, and the sole comfort left is that, assisted by the pen, I am able more or less to describe how easily it has tricked me – provided that this does not have to be done on one of those days when I am quarreling with it.

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