Perception: a sympathetic magic


At times, not that I hope for it or should hope for it, the suffocation of the vulgar seizes my throat and I experience physical nausea because of the voice or face of a so-called fellow human being. Direct physical nausea, felt directly in my stomach and in my head, stupid miracle of my awakened sensibility… Each individual who speaks to me, each face whose eyes stare at me, affects me like an insult or like some filth. I make horror overflow from everything. I become stupefied from feeling myself feel them.

And it happens, almost always, in those moments of stomach desolation, that there is a man, a woman, even a child who appears before me like a real representative of the banality that agonizes me. Not a representative because of my subjective, thought emotion, but because of an objective truth, really conforming on the outside with what I feel within that arises by means of sympathetic magic and brings me an example for the abstract case I’m thinking of.

— Bernardo Soares (Fernando Pessoa), The Book of Disquiet

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