[Vermeer: Woman Holding a Balance]

One of the morning's first groggy thoughts was that I really needed to write some apologetic note on my blog for the utter lack of creativity, interest, and volume to my writing of late. And that I am going on a self-imposed hiatus, at least until something changes and I'm breathing a little more freely.

But then I opened Man Without Qualities to where I left off last night (Hagauer has sent Agathe the letter telling her that he absolutely cannot agree to divorce, and then Agathe and Ulrich have a discussion wherein Ulrich does not say the correct things and Agathe leaves in a whirlwind of despair and defeat). As Agathe is wandering and trying to lose herself in her surroundings to forget her hurt, she encounters a man (or is encountered by). He says to her:

'It's a modern superstition to overestimate the personal. There's so much talk today about cultivating one's personality, living one's life to the full, and affirming life. But all this fuzzy and ambiguous verbiage only betrays the user's need to befog the real meaning of his protest. What, exactly, is to be affirmed? Anything and everything, higgeldy-piggeldy? Evolution is always associated with resistance, an American thinker has said. We cannot develop one side of our nature without stunting another. Then what's to be lived to the full? The mind or the instincts? Every passing whim or one's character? Selflessness or love? If our higher nature is to fulfill itself, the lower must learn renunciation and obedience!'

All it takes is a passage like that to prick my mind and bring some energy back to it--so while I may not have much to say anymore, I can at least repeat the words which make me sit up straight and remember the questions and problems that used to occupy me all day long.