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The Journal of a Disappointed Man The Journal of a Disappointed Man by W.N.P. Barbellion
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“Youth is an intoxication without wine, someone says. Life is an intoxication. The only sober man is the melancholiac, who, disenchanted, looks at life, sees it as it really is, and cuts his throat. If this be so, I want to be very drunk. The great thing is to live, to clutch at our existence and race away with it in some great and enthralling pursuit. Above all, I must beware of all ultimate questions- they are too maddeningly unanswerable- let me eschew philosophy and burn Omar.”
W.N.P. Barbellion, The Journal of a Disappointed Man
“I have reveled in my littleness and irresponsibility. It has relieved me of the harassing desire to live, I feel content to live dangerously, indifferent to my fate; I have discovered I am a fly, that we are all flies, that nothing matters. It’s a great load off my life, for I don’t mind being such a micro-organism—to me the honour is sufficient of belonging to the universe—such a great universe, so grand a scheme of things. Not even Death can rob me of that honour. For nothing can alter the fact that I have lived; I have been I, if for ever so short a time. And when I am dead, the matter which composes my body is indestructible—and eternal, so that come what may to my “Soul,” my dust will always be going on, each separate atom of me playing its separate part—I shall still have some sort of a finger in the Pie. When I am dead, you can boil me, burn me, drown me, scatter me—but you cannot destroy me: my little atoms would merely deride such heavy vengeance. Death can do no more than kill you.”
W.N.P. Barbellion, The Journal of a Disappointed Man
“I waste much time gaping and wondering. During a walk or in a book or in the middle of an embrace, suddenly I awake to a stark amazement at everything. The bare fact of existence paralyses me- holds my mind in mortmain. To be alive is so incredible that all I do is to lie still and merely breathe- like an infant on its back in a cot. It is impossible to be interested in anything in particular while overhead the sun shines or underneath my feet grows a single blade of grass.”
W.N.P. Barbellion, The Journal of a Disappointed Man
“An appetite for knowledge is apt to rush one off one's feet, like any other appetite if not curbed. I often stand in the in the centre of the Library here and think despairingly how impossible it is ever to become possessed of all the wealth of facts and ideas contained in the books surrounding me on every hand.”
W.N.P. Barbellion, The Journal of a Disappointed Man
“To forget the past so easily seems scarcely loyal to oneself. I am so selfishly absorbed in my present self that I have grown not to care a damn about that ever increasing collection of past selves- those dear, dead gentlemen who one after the other have tenanted the temple of this flesh and handed on the torch of my life and personal identity before creeping away silently and modestly to rest.”
W.N.P. Barbellion, The Journal of a Disappointed Man
tags: past
“My darling sweetheart, you ask me why I love you. I do not know. All I know is that I do love you, and beyond measure. Why do you love me? Surely a more inscrutable problem? You do not know. No one ever knows. ‘The heart has its reasons which the reason knows not of.’ We love in obedience to a powerful gravitation of our beings, and then try to explain it by recapitulating one another’s character just as a man forms his opinions first and then thinks out reasons in support.

What delights me is to recall that our love has evolved. It did not suddenly spring into existence like some beautiful sprite. It developed slowly to perfection. It was forged in the white heat of our experiences. That is why it will always remain.”
W.N.P. Barbellion, The Journal of a Disappointed Man
tags: love
“Sometimes I think I am going mad. I live for days in the mystery and tears of things so that the commonest object, the most familiar face- even my own- become ghostly, unreal, enigmatic. I get into an attitude of almost total scepticism, nescience, solipsism, in a world of dumb, sphinx-like things that cannot explain themselves. The discovery of how I am situated- a sentient being on a globe in space overshadows me. I wish I were just nothing.”
W.N.P. Barbellion, The Journal of a Disappointed Man
“The porter spends his days in the Library keeping strict vigil over this catacomb of books, passing along between the shelves and yet never paying heed to the almost audible susurrus of desire- the desire every book has to be taken down and read, to live, to come into being in somebody's mind. He even hands the volumes over the counter, seeks them out in their proper places or returns them there without once realising that a Book is a Person and not a Thing.”
W.N.P. Barbellion, The Journal of a Disappointed Man
“When I feel ill, cinema pictures of the circumstances of my death flit across my mind's eye. I cannot prevent them. I consider the nature of the disease and all I said before I died- something heroic, of course!”
W.N.P. Barbellion, The Journal of a Disappointed Man
“I felt as lonely and desolate as a man suddenly fallen from the clouds into an unknown town on the Antarctic Continent built of ice and inhabited by Penguins. Who are these people? I asked myself irritably.”
Wilhelm Nero Pilate Barbellion, The Journal of a Disappointed Man
“Vă e milă de mine, nu? Sunt singur, n-am un ban, sunt paralizat și abia am împlinit 28 de ani. Dar pocnesc din degete drept sub nasul vostru și, cu egală aroganță, mi-e milă mie de voi. Mi-e milă de norocul vostru neîntrerupt și de pacea stătută a minților voastre. Prefer furtuna mea. Eu sunt pe moarte, dar voi sunteți deja cadavre. N-ați trăit niciodată cu adevărat. Corpul vostru n-a fost niciodată trezit la viață sub loviturile de bici ale dorinței deznădăjduite de a iubi, de a ști, de a face, de a reuși. N-am ce invidia la voi, cei absorbiți degrijile mărunte ale unei existențe ordinare.
Credeți că aș schimba comuniunea pe care o am cu inima mea pentru baloanele colorate ale conversațiilor voastre prostești? Sau curiozitatea mea pentru interesele voastre nestatornice? Sau disperarea mea pentru speranța voastră confortabilă? Sau viața mea joasă de-acum pentru viața voastră lustruită și curată ca o monedă nouă? Nu aș schimba-o. Mă înfășor în mantie și îi mulțumesc solemn Domnului că nu sunt cum sunt alții.
N-am decât douăzeci și opt de ani, dar în anii aceștia puțini am comprimat o viață destul de lungă: am iubit și m-am căsătorit și am o familie; am plâns și m-am bucurat, am luptat și am învins, iar când va veni ceasul voi fi mulțumit să mor.”
Barbellon, The Journal of a Disappointed Man
“An egotism like an eggshell is a thing from which to escape; the art of life is that escape. The fundamental art of life is to recover the sense of that great self-forgetful continuous life from which we have individually budded off. Many people have done this through religion, which begins with a tremendous clamour to some saviour god or other to recognise us and ends in our recognition of him;”
Wilhelm Nero Pilate Barbellion, The Journal of a Disappointed Man
“When the sun grew too hot we went into the wood where waves of Bluebells dashed around the foot of the Oak in front of us... I never knew before, the delight of offering oneself up; I even longed for some self sacrifice, to have to give up something for her sake. It intoxicated me to think I was making another happy...”
W.N.P. Barbellion, The Journal of a Disappointed Man
“Civilisation and top hats bore me.”
W.N.P. Barbellion, The Journal of a Disappointed Man
“We are all such egotists that a sorrow or hardship—provided it is great enough—flatters our self-importance. We feel that a calamity by overtaking us has distinguished us above our fellows. A man likes not to be ignored even by a railway accident. A man with a grievance is always happy.”
Wilhelm Nero Pilate Barbellion, The Journal of a Disappointed Man
“Suppose the hellfire of the orthodox really existed! We have no assurance that it does not! It seems incredible, but many incredible things are true. We do not know that God is not as cruel as a Spanish inquisitor. Suppose, then, He is! If, after Death, we wicked ones were shovelled into a furnace of fire- we should have to burn. There would be no redress. It would simply be the Divine Order of things. It is outrageous that we should be so helpless and so dependent on any one- even God.”
W.N.P. Barbellion, The Journal of a Disappointed Man
tags: god, hell
“Me gusta la manera en que una bella melodía revolotea por la orquesta y sus diversos componentes como un hermoso pájaro.”
W.N.P. Barbellion, The Journal of a Disappointed Man
“El único fracaso verdadero es aquel en que la víctima se queda sin brío, aturdida, abatida, rodeada de oscuridad y, en su interior, un cuchillo le corta lenta e implacablemente las cuerdas del corazón.”
W.N.P. Barbellion, El diario de un hombre decepccionado
“It is jolly to be regarded as a wicked, libidinous youth by an aged maiden Aunt.”
W.N.P. Barbellion, The Journal of a Disappointed Man
“...poverty proved greater than vanity...”
W.N.P. Barbellion, The Journal of a Disappointed Man
“Your egoist, like the solitary beasts, lives only for himself; your altruist declares that he lives only for others; for either there may be success or failure but for neither can there be tragedy. For even if the altruist meets nothing but ingratitude, what has he to complain of? His premises abolish his grounds of complaint. But both egoist and altruist are philosophical abstractions. The human being by nature and necessity is neither egoist nor altruist; he trims a difficult course between the two; for the most part we are, within the limits of our powers of expression, egotists, and our desire is to think and if possible talk and write about this marvellous experiment of ourselves, with all the world—or as much as we can conveniently assemble—for audience.”
Wilhelm Nero Pilate Barbellion, The Journal of a Disappointed Man
“Observe me," he says to himself, "I am observing nature." There is the self-conscious, self-centred boy. But he also says "I am observing nature!”
Wilhelm Nero Pilate Barbellion, The Journal of a Disappointed Man
“me parece honor suficiente pertenecer al universo; a un universo tan grande, a un sistema tan grandioso. Ni siquiera la Muerte puede despojarme de semejante honor. Porque nada puede alterar el hecho de que he vivido; yo he sido yo, aunque fuera por poco tiempo. Y cuando esté muerto, la materia que compone mi cuerpo será indestructible –y eterna, suceda lo que suceda con mi «alma»–, mi polvo siempre estará aquí, cada átomo mío tendrá su papel independiente, todavía tendré vela en ese entierro. Cuando esté muerto, podréis hervirme, quemarme, tirarme al agua, esparcirme, pero no podréis destruirme: mis atomitos se burlarían de semejante venganza. La muerte sólo puede matarnos.”
W.N.P. Barbellion, El diario de un hombre decepccionado
“Her journal is my journal. All mine is stale reading now. She has written down all my thoughts and forestalled me! Already I have found some heart-rending parallels. To think I am only a replica: how humiliating for a human being to find himself merely a duplicate of another.”
W.N.P. Barbellion, The Journal of a Disappointed Man
“Aunque sea una gran hazaña añadir algo, aunque sólo sea una pizca, a la suma del conocimiento humano, más grande todavía es añadir un pensamiento. Para un hombre, es mejor intentar ser a la vez poeta y naturalista que ser demasiado naturalista y pasar por alto la belleza de las cosas, o demasiado poeta y no entenderlas o no poder ver siquiera las bellezas escondidas que sólo se revelan tras una observación atenta.”
W.N.P. Barbellion, The Journal of a Disappointed Man
“Me gusta pensar que en otro tiempo fui un magnífico ejemplar peludo que vivía en los árboles y que mi cuerpo procede, a lo largo de un tiempo geológico, de la medusa, los gusanos y anfioxos, peces, dinosaurios y monos. ¿Quién querría cambiar eso por la pálida pareja del Jardín del Edén?”
W.N.P. Barbellion, The Journal of a Disappointed Man
“«No esperes mucho: no temas nada»,”
W.N.P. Barbellion, El diario de un hombre decepccionado
“La vida es una borrachera. El único hombre sobrio es el melancólico que, desencantado, contempla la vida, ve cómo es y se corta el gaznate. Si es así, quiero estar muy borracho. Lo importante es vivir, agarrarnos a nuestra existencia y salir corriendo con ella en una búsqueda intensa y apasionante.”
W.N.P. Barbellion, The Journal of a Disappointed Man