7 February 2012

Cheated and Angry

Philip Larkin in a letter to his friend Jim Sutton, quoted in Andrew Motion's Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life (London: Faber & Faber, 1993), p. 133:
What do I believe would comfort me? Not much, as I grow increasingly pessimistic. I believe that the world is composed for the most part of people so unlike me that we think each other mad and wicked. I know I can't save it or it save me, and I doubt whether it can save itself or I save myself. I believe that human beings can do nothing for one another except provide amusement, which is pleasant but does not last. By amusement I include everything from an evening at the cinema to a love affair. I believe when I am old I shall bitterly regret having wasted my life, which I may have done. This is because I shall never attain the absolute -- in other words the continued ecstasy -- because it doesn't exist. Therefore in addition to being afraid of death I shall feel cheated and angry.