17 February 2012

Misery and Futility

Sébastien-Roch Nicolas de Chamfort, Oeuvres complètes de Chamfort, Vol. I (Paris: Chaumerot Jeune, 1824), p. 407. My own translation:
When I was young I was driven by passions, and they drew me into the world. I was forced to look, in society and in pleasures, for a little respite from painful aches. People used to preach to me about the joys of solitude, of work, and they bored me to tears with pedantic sermons on the subject. Having arrived at the age of forty and having lost the passions that made society bearable, I now see only misery and futility in it. I do not need people to escape from aches that no longer exist. I have developed a very strong taste for solitude and work, and it has replaced all the rest; I have ceased to go out into the world. Now people will not stop tormenting me and saying that I should return; they accuse me of being a misanthrope and so on. What to make of this strange difference? The need that men have to find fault with everything.