[n.d.; before 1929]
Even if I really wanted to create (…)
The only true art is construction. But the modern ambience makes the appearance of the qualities of construction impossible in the spirit.
For which reason science developed. Machines are the only things in which there is construction today, the only argument in which there is a linkage or a mathematical proof.
The power to create needs a point of departure, the crutch of reality.
Art is a science.
It suffers rhythmically.
I can’t read because my hyper /burning/ critical faculty can only reveal defects, imperfections, possibilities for improvement. I cannot dream because I feel the dream so vividly that I compare it with reality in such a way that I feel it’s not real, and so its value disappears. I cannot amuse myself in the innocent contemplation of things and men because my anxiety to delve deeper is inevitable, and since my interest cannot exist without that anxiety, it either has to die at its hands or dry up.
I cannot amuse myself with metaphysical speculation because I know only too well from my own experience that all systems are defensible and intellectually possible; and that I lack the power to forget that the aim of metaphysical speculation is to seek truth in order to enjoy the metaphysical art of constructing systems.
A happy past in whose memory I become happy again; with nothing in the present to make me happy or interest me, with nothing in dreams or hypotheses about a future different from this present, or that I might have a past other than this past — I lie down in my life, a conscious spectator in a paradise where I’ve never been, a cadaver born from hopes I’ve yet to have.
Happy are they who suffer with unity! Those whom anguish alters but does not divide, who believe even within disbelief and can sit in the sun without hidden thoughts.
— Fernando Pessoa (a.k.a. Bernardo Soares),
The Book of Disquiet, 152