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Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (12)

And left alone (this, too, was strange) I didn’t think about my father’s health, but instead, moved and – I may say – filled with proper filial respect, I regretted that for such a mind, aspiring to lofty goals, a finer education had not been possible. Today, as I write, approaching the age reached by…

Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (11)

It was obvious that if I had agreed to think about it with him, I would have given him consolation. But, on the contrary, as long as my father was alive, I felt combative (afterwards no longer); and I replied with one of those trite remarks heard every day in the cafés around the University:…

Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (10)

One evening toward the end of March, I was a bit late coming home. Nothing unusual: I had fallen into the hands of a learned friend, who wanted to expound to me some of his ideas about the origins of Christianity. For the first time I was obliged to think about those origins, yet I…

Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (9)

I was then so meek that now, when I’m tortured by remorse for not having loved him enough before he died, I always summon up that scene. To be sincere, I have to add that it was easy for me to submit to his arrangements because at that time I found the idea of being…

Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (8)

One evening he asked me: “Do you think everything stops when we’re dead?” The mystery of death is something I think about every day, but I was not yet in a position to give him the information he was asking of me. To please him, I invented the happiest faith in our future. “I believe…

Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (7)

He reproached me for two other things: my absentmindedness and my tendency to laugh at the most serious matters. When it came to absentmindedness, he differed from me because he kept a little notebook in which he jotted down everything he wanted to remember, reviewing its pages several times daily. In this way he thought…

Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (6)

As a true paterfamilias, my father knew how to defend his peace and quiet. He possessed this peace and quiet both in his house and in his soul. The only books he read were bland and moral, not out of hypocrisy on his part, but from the most genuine conviction: I think he felt deeply…

Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (5)

Lack of talent for business was a point of resemblance between him and me, but there were no others; I can say that, of the two of us, I represented strength, and he weakness. What I have already recorded in these notebooks proves that I possess and always have possessed – perhaps my supreme misfortune –…

Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (4)

Heaven no longer existed, and furthermore, at thirty, I was finished. This was the end for me, too! I realized for the first time that the most important, the decisive part of my life lay behind me, irretrievably. My grief was not merely egoistic, as these words might suggest. Not at all! I wept for…

Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (3)

15.4.1890. My father dies. L.C. For those who do not know, those last two letters do not stand for Lower Case, but for Last Cigarette. This is an annotation I find in a volume by Ostwald on positivistic philosophy, with which, full of hope, I have spent many hours and never understood. No one would…