The Immoralist - Andre Gide. 그리고 아무말도 하지 않았다.



... From this orderly abundance, from this happy subservience, from this smiling cultivation, a harmony was being wrought, no longer fortuitous but imposed, a rhythm, a beauty at once human and natural, in which one could no longer tell what was most admirable, so intimately united into a perfect understanding were the fecund explosion of free nature and man's skillful effort to order it. What would be the savage energy of that overflowing sap without the intelligent effort which channels and discharges it, laughing, into profusion?

- and I let myself dream of such lands where every force was so well controlled, every expenditure so compensated, every exchange so strict, that the slightest waste became evident; then applying my dream to life, I sketched an ethic which would become a science of self-exploitation perfected by a disciplined intelligence...Where had it gone, then my old turmoil, where was it hiding? I felt so serene now that it might never have existed.


... I love life enough to try to live wide awake, and so, even among all my treasures, I cherish a sense of the precarious, by which I provoke or at least arouse my life. I can't say I love danger, but I love a life of risk, I want life to demand of me, at every moment, all my courage, all my happiness, and all my health.


... If there's one thing each of them claims not to resemble, it's... himself. ... The laws of mimicry- I call them the laws of fear. People are afraid to find themselves alone, and don't find themselves at all. I hate all this moral agoraphobia-it's the worst kind of cowardice... What seems different in yourself; that's the one rare thing you possess, the one thing which gives each of us his worth; and that's just what we try to suppress. We imitate. And we claim to love life.


... I have always believed the great artists are the ones who dare entitle to beauty things so natural that when they're seen afterward people say: why did I never realize before that this too was beautiful?


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앙드레 지드는 당시 이 책으로 사회에 큰 충격을 안겨주었다고 한다. 제목 역시 immoralist. 한 사람이 부도덕적인 파멸로 이르는 충격적인 책일줄 알았는데 책이 출판된 지 100년이 훌쩍 넘은 지금, 당시 터부시되었던 소재들이나 주인공 Michel이 사회적으로 통용되는 가치나 관습들을 하나둘씩 버리고 감각적인 삶을 추구하며 자기실현에 몰입하는 과정은 더이상 자극적이지 않다. (어느 분이 추천한 오늘날의 제목은 The Boring Dilettante였다.)

오늘날이 아주 조금 더 관용적인 걸까- 시간이라는 사포 속에 인간들이 까슬까슬한 면모들을 조금씩 깎아내려져갔고 우린 그렇게 미약하게나마 발전하고 있나, 싶다가도... 사회가, 또 내 스스로가 역행/퇴행하고 있다는 느낌이 자주 드는 요즘이다.



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