sábado, 3 de junio de 2017

The Education of the Stoic - Fernando Pessoa, Richard Zenith (Editor, Translator)


Review found in a drawer

I’m all of these things, like it or not, in the confused depths of my fatal sensibility.

Sou todas essa coisas, embora o não queira, no fundo confuso da minha sensibilidade fatal.

― Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet/Livro do Desassossego

The Education of the Stoic is the only legacy of the Baron of Teive, a manuscript with which he took the mirror of abstractions and reflected himself to explain why he wasn’t able to produce superior art, to write the books he wanted to. Explanations to illustrate the unutterable. The commonplace vacuum that feels unique.
I had scruples where other men didn’t think twice, and after seeing what I didn’t do done by others, I wondered: Why did I think so much if it only made me suffer?

All the factors that lead to look at such tragedy in the eye and accept it unreservedly; dealing, with pride, with the rejection of life itself. Acknowledging the parcial defeat of reason in the sphere of emotions, as he, amid a plethora of contradictions, refuses to be like just anybody, while being like just anybody.
But powerful as thought is, it can do nothing to quell rebellious emotions. We can’t choose not to feel, as we can not to walk.

The aristocrat and the assistant bookkeeper. Bernardo Soares’ presence palpitates with silent vehemence all around this book. His thoughts intermingle with the Baron’s musings and disclose the similarities of two individuals of different backgrounds, equally unfit to live life. The ode to brevity. Or the impossibility of writing an elaborated chapter.

Sometimes it is only one sentence. And by the end of it, everything trembles.
Do with the brutality that doing entails; renounce with the absoluteness of renunciation.

Everyone is renouncing. And the reader sees them vanishing. A surge of innocuous unawareness leaving behind a wounded path. Things become real once lost. Things are lost unbeknownst to them. They have written on selfish air; the reader, on self-centered stone.

The Baron’s collection of thoughts and rejections to theories that reduce truth to simplicity, of regrets and a proud denial of ever having regrets, of silent competitions and unachievable art, of voices unheard and impracticable faith - this is his testament. A manuscript on how the idea of perfection eclipsed the author’s life, on the indignity of weeping before the world and other similar banalities. An analysis on the fatal nature of lucidity. Inconclusive, unconnected fragments to justify “the profession of nonproducer.”
These pages are not my confession; they’re my definition.

Pessoa, Tabucci and Zenith constitute the Appendix. Among the texts, there is an act of giving voice to the regular human nature that literary work set aside at times. Conclusions about the days that belong only to the writer. To the greatest novelist without a novel.

The weight of life overpowers everything, and at the threshold of annihilation, the Baron of Teive admits he has been conquered, and makes himself a conqueror. A raw complaint to a stoic succession of nothingness in the midst of ephemeral hope, as identities juxtapose, merge, and evanesce.
Easy, kiddo, no one will notice the voiceless outburst.


* Photo credit: Book cover via Goodreads.