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Herman Melville

“I say, I can not identify that thing which is called happiness, that thing whose token is a laugh, or a smile, or a silent serenity on the lip. I may have been happy, but it is not in my conscious memory now. Nor do I feel a longing for it, as though I had never had it; my spirit seeks different food from happiness, for I think I have a suspicion of what it is. I have suffered wretchedness, but not because of the absence of happiness, and without praying for happiness. I pray for peace -- for motionlessness -- for the feeling of myself, as of some plant, absorbing life without seeking it, and existing without individual sensation. I feel that there can be no perfect peace in individualness. Therefore, I hope one day to feel myself drank up into the pervading spirit animating all things. I feel I am an exile here. I still go straying.”


Herman Melville, Pierre; or, The Ambiguities
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Pierre; or, The Ambiguities Pierre; or, The Ambiguities by Herman Melville
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