Book//mark – How I Became Stupid | Martin Page, 2001

How I Became Stupid | Martin Page, 2001
Comment je suis devenu stupide, 2001                           Martin Page


“My personality is a luxury that’s costing me too dearly.”

“I have the curse of reason: I’m poor, single and depressed. For months now I’ve been thinking about my illness of thinking too much, and I’ve established with complete certainty the correlation between my unhappiness and the incontinence of my mind. Probing and pondering and overanalyzing have never given me any advantages; they’ve only played against me.”

“Life was nothing but endless torture. He no longer felt any pleasure watching the sun rise, his every waking moment was sour, ruining the taste of anything that could have brought him enjoyment. As he had never really felt that he was living, he was not afraid of death. He was even happy that, in death, he would find the sole proof that he had been alive.”

“When we try to understand something, more often than not, we kill it, and now I can feel the dangers of this encroaching on me: cynicism, bitterness, and infinite sadness…It’s impossible to live if you’re too aware, too thoughtful. Take nature for example: everything that lives happily and too a ripe old age is not very intelligent. Tortoises live for centuries, water’s immortal, and Milton Friedman’s still alive.”

“There are people in this life for whom even the best of things don’t work out. They could wear cashmere suits and still look like tramps; be very rich but badly in debt; be tall but lousy at basketball.”

“”So, I guess our chess games are a thing of the past?” asked Ganja

”For now, yes but we could substitute another game that my neighbors introduced me to. It’s called Monopoly. The aim of the game is very simple: you have to get money, be crafty with it… behave like the perfect, idiotic capitalist. It’s facinating. One of the virtues of the game is that, in its own playful way, it should teach me- and perhaps even convert me to- a liberal-minded morality. I will adhere to something that, at the moment, I condemn as a simple game, and I won’t worry about the crippling rents that put so many families on the streets. I’ll become selfish and penny-pinching, and the only thing I’ll worry about will be money, the only thing that will matter to me, my only big existential question, will be how I can get as much of it as possible.””

“It’s easier to get your high school diploma, become a police inspector, or get your master’s degree in literature than to commit suicide. The success rate is less than eight percent.”

“Men simplify the world with words and thoughts, and that’s how they create their certainties; and having certainty is the most potent pleasure in this world, far more potent than money, sex, and power all combined. Renouncing”

“Silence gradually spread its great, fragile butterfly wings across the ward. The sun had disappeared, replaced by grey and rain. This particular month of July was reading the script for March.”

Martin Page, How I Became Stupid, 2001

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