Knowing how to free oneself is nothing; the difficult thing is knowing how to live with that freedom

My dear friends, I knew I could rely on your loyalty. You came running to my call as I would have done to yours. Yet we have not seen each other for three years. I hope that our friendship, which has survived this absence so well, will also survive the tale I am about to tell you. For if my call seemed an urgent one, if I made you travel so far to find me, it was purely so that I might see you, and that you might listen to me. That is all I require: the chance to speak to you. For I have reached a point in my life where I can’t go on. It is not a question of weariness — I no longer understand anything. I need . . . I need to talk, as I say. Knowing how to free oneself is nothing; the difficult thing is knowing how to live with that freedom. Bear with me as I speak about myself; I am going to tell you the story of my life. I will talk plainly, with neither modesty nor pride, more plainly than if I were talking to myself. Listen to what I have to say.

— André Gide, The Immoralist

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