Saturday, March 27, 2010

Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea p. 7

(cross-posted from Commonplace)

The best thing would be to write down events from day to day. Keep a diary to see clearly--let none of the nuances or small happenings escape even though they might seem to mean nothing. And above all, classify them. I must tell how I see this table, this street, the people, my packet of tobacco, since those are the things which have changed. I must determine the exact extent and nature of this change.

For instance, here is a cardboard box holding my bottle of ink. I should try to tell how I saw it before and now how I1 Well, it's a parallelopiped rectangle, it opens--that's stupid, there's nothing I can say about it. This is what I have to avoid, I must not put in strangeness where there is none. I think that is the big danger in keeping a diary: you exaggerate everything. You continually force the truth because you're always looking for something. On the other hand, it is certain that from one minute to the next--and precisely à propos of this box or any other object at all I can recapture this impression of day-before-yesterday. I must always be ready, otherwise it will slip through my fingers. I must never2 but carefully note and detail all that happens.

1 Word left out.
2 Word crossed out (possibly "force" or "forge"), another word added above, is illegible.

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