Proust: Happiness Easily Destroyed By Desire | Remembrance of Things Pass #156

HAPPINESS EASILY DESTROYED BY DESIRE

“We desire some pleasure, and the material means of obtaining it are lacking. “It is a mistake,” Labruyère tells us, “to be in love without an ample fortune.” There is nothing for it but to attempt a gradual elimination of our desire for that pleasure. […] But the pleasure can never be realised. If we succeed in overcoming the force of circumstances, nature at once shifts the battle-ground, placing it within ourselves, and effects a gradual change in our heart until it desires something other than what it is going to obtain. And if this transposition has been so rapid that our heart has not had time to change, nature does not, on that account, despair of conquering us, in a manner more gradual, it is true, more subtle, but no less efficacious. It is then, at the last moment, that the possession of our happiness is wrested from us, or rather it is that very possession which nature, with diabolical cleverness, uses to destroy our happiness. After failure in every quarter of the domain of life and action, it is a final incapacity, the mental incapacity for happiness, that nature creates in us. The phenomenon, of happiness either fails to appear, or at once gives way to the bitterest of reactions.” ― Marcel Proust

ghost of proust at grave

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