What Is The Formula For The Volume Of A Prism The Fugitive by Marcel Proust

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The Fugitive by Marcel Proust

Reaching the end of Marcel Proust’s sixth volume, The Escape A la recherche de temps perdu, I begin to understand – not quite at the end – what a modern experience he is describing. In the language and context of privilege that we now associate with past centuries, the author ultimately creates a completely absurd world in which nothing, not even the wealth of these wealthy people, is real. The presumptions of truth or permanence, the qualities of which their opinions positively reek, are thus exposed as momentary fictions, ephemeral, reliable as false, and reliable as foam.

I am also reminded of the words of William Shakespeare, spoken through the mouth of the fictional King Richard the Second:

So I play many people in one persona,

And no one was satisfied: sometimes I am king;

Then treasons make me want a beggar for myself,

And so I am…

Is it possible for an individual to feel both king and beggar at the same time? Is it possible that those who once worshiped his presence can revere someone, at one point even regard him as the direct successor of God, and then mock him, drown him in wine, or even starve him to death? Even history cannot agree on what the past is, the only indisputable fact is death itself, the life before it remains negotiable forever. After all, the rich and powerful have yet to fall, so there may be interpretive bumps along the way.

A young man has chosen a liaison with a young woman. How original is it? One is the narrator and the other is named Albertine. It is, after all, fiction, even though it claims to be a memory. They are not married. In the society they live in, this can be a problem. After all, people can start to think… And who’s to say whether they’ll stay true to each other, to themselves, or even agree on which self, public, private, or imaginary, will prevail? And what about the young lady’s “preferences”? Could they be interviewed? Of course they can.

Proust seems to have been acutely aware of this mutability of the self. For if it was nothing real in itself, if it depended on the successive form of the hours in which it appeared to me, then on the curve depended the form which remained in my memory, as the curve of the projections of my magic lantern. from the colored slides, did it not in its own way represent the truth, even the thoroughly objective truth, that each of us is not an individual, but contains many people, not all of the same moral value, and that if there was a wicked Albertine, it did not mean that there were not others had been, he who enjoyed talking of Saint-Simon with me in his room, he who, that evening, when I told him we must part, said so sadly: “This piano, this room, to think that I cannot see them things ever again,” and seeing the emotion which my lie at last conveyed to me, had exclaimed with sincere sympathy, “Oh, no, something better. if I make you miserable, I promise I’ll never try to see you again.” Then I was no longer alone. I felt the wall that separated us disappear. And so, recognizing that she existed as several contradictory but simultaneous persons, the narrator casts her Albertine, the object of her desires, in a form that provokes resentment. He doesn’t like the role because it makes him miserable, and the solution is not to see him again, a state that neither of them really want. Or so we are told…

But were they both lying? Or just one of them? And if we are truly honest with ourselves, how many of us can be sure of who we are or what we desire? Is what we claim to desire just a momentary connection to ourselves that we want to project, a passing fad that we can adopt to convince others that we actually have character? Is the purpose of the public persona to create fake news, a narrative of false identity whose only test is whether we can market it so others can buy it? Albertine can indeed exist in my memory only in that state in which she had appeared to me successively during her life, that is, divided by a succession of time, which, to my mind, by restoring unity in her, made her a single person, and it was on this person that I endeavored to pass a general judgment in order to know , has he lied to me, did he love women, was it to be free to associate with them. he had left me. What the woman in the bath would have to say might put an end to my doubts about Albertine’s morality forever. But was that woman in the bath telling the truth?

And then, once we’ve created that desired image and projected it, does it still represent the individual who created it? Time passes, and gradually everything we have said falsely becomes true; I had learned that too well with the Gilbertes; the indifference I feigned, when I could never restrain my tears, had ended in becoming real; gradually, as I told Gilberte in a false formula that turned out to be true in hindsight, life had driven us apart. I recalled this, and said to myself, “If Albertine lets the interval pass, my lies will become the truth. And now that the worst moments are over, should I not hope that she will let this month pass without returning? If she returns, I shall break free to tell of real life, which I am certainly not yet fit to enjoy, but which in time may begin to offer me attractions, while my memory of Albertine fades.”

And when we create a projection of our intentions, however fleeting, does it fulfill what we envisioned? Or are we perceived as an incompetently communicated amalgam of our intentions? “Oh, no. Monsieur, it’s no good to cry like that, it’s not good for you.” And trying to stop my tears, she showed as much uneasiness as if they had been streams of blood. Unfortunately, I adopted a cool air which interrupted the effusions he hoped to indulge, which might have been sincere. Her attitude towards Albertine was perhaps similar to her attitude towards Eulalie, and now that my mistress could no longer benefit from me, Francoise had ceased to hate her. He felt obliged to let me see, however, that he was well aware that I was crying, and that I did not want, following the unfortunate example of my family, to “show” it. “You mustn’t cry, sir,” he swore at me, this time in a calmer tone, more intent on proving his clairvoyance than showing me sympathy. And he continued: “It was bound to happen; he was too happy, poor creature, he never knew how happy he was.”

And isn’t fact just another fiction? … such is the cruelty of memory. At times, reading a completely sad novel brought me back sharply, because certain novels are like great but temporary losses, lose our habits, bring us once more into contact with the reality of life, but only for a few hours. , like a nightmare, because the power of habit, the oblivion it creates, the cheerfulness it restores to us because our brain is unable to fight it and recreate the truth, infinitely wins over the almost hypnotic suggestion of a good book, which, like all suggestions, is only a passing effect. You see, nothing, not even fiction, lasts.

And how much are we affected by whimsy? Are our beliefs true only because we want to believe them? Are we really capable of ever being objective? Moreover, if they observe a little of people whose lives have no purpose, they would notice one after another the most obvious merits in those with whom they were associated, marveling at them with the artless astonishment of a townsman who departed. the state discovers blades of grass or, on the contrary, magnifies them as with a microscope, makes endless comments, takes offense at the slightest mistakes, and often applies both processes alternately to the same person. In the case of Gilberte, M. and Mme’s trivial insight was above all for their little attractions. de Guermantes learned: “Did you notice how he pronounced some of his words?” said the duchess to her husband after the girl had left them; “It was just like Swann, it was like I heard him talking.” “I was just going to say the same thing, Oriane.” “He’s witty, he’s just like his dad.” “I think he’s even a lot better than him. Think how well he told that sea-bathing story, there’s a vivacity about him that Swann never had.” “Oh! but he was quite witty, after all.” “I do not say that he was not witty, I say that he lacked vivaciousness,” said M. de Guermantes, in a plaintive tone, for the gout made him irritable, and if he had no one else on whom to vent his irritation, it was to the Duchess, who showed it. But since he was unable to clearly understand the reasons for this, he preferred to feel that he was being misunderstood.

And in the end, which if we keep faith in Christian salvation will never happen, and if we don’t will happen all the time, we can simply understand that the whole basis of our actions, the whole moral compass that we have established is the emotional position that we have adopted , was born of misunderstanding, deception and misinterpretation. So where are we? Certainly not in any reliable heaven, ever, but forever alive, at once the ruler, the king of our design, and the beggar of our acceptance.

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