Wednesday, February 21

the reality

"So illusion, for you, is not the opposite of reality?"

"Absolutely not. It is rather the only method of penetrating reality. In the same way that untruth, as I said earlier, is not the opposite of truth but its transparent mask (as Nietzsche and Wilde both thought), so illusion is not the opposite of reality but again its transparent mask. Which is why the ages of illusion are childhood and old age. And those are precisely the times when we are nearer to reality, because we are nearer, it seems, to the frontiers of that nothingness from which we come and into which we go. But this word 'néant' doesn't mean anything because it means nothing, 'nada.' But that nothing, that nada, is everything . . . I once wrote a little poem in which I said that we don't return to childhood when we grow old, but that our childhood has in fact kept pace very slowly beside us, all through our youth, waiting to rejoin us when the bustle of our prime is past. That is what poets and mystics have continually told us: that this illusion of life is the reality."

-- Guy Saurès in conversation with José Bergamin, in Malraux Past Present Future
Translated by Derek Coltman