Wednesday, 16 December 2009

La boulimie

When I was writing about A la recherche, I stumbled across an amazing quotation:

"Because they don't take in what is really nourishing about art, they need artistic joys all the time, victims of a bulimia that never fills them up."

I thought this was an extraordinary sentence when I first saw it, and made it the epigraph of my book. I didn't even know 'la boulimie' was a word back in the 1900s. Ever since, I guess I have been trying to make decisions about 'what is really nourishing about art', trying to find a credo to live by, and avoid the trap that I think Proust absolutely put his finger on. By using bulimia as a metaphor for the ways in which we fail to find satisfaction from our lives in general, and for him, from art in particular, he neatly brought together all kinds of appetite, some conscious and some unconscious.

We're all hungry for experience, don't want to waste our time on earth, and this shades over into greed when some of our needs are met, but not all; and when we can see that others have more of what we think we want than we do. We are always perilously close to living beyond our emotional, intellectual, financial etc means, because of our very striving. We're congenitally doomed to dissatisfaction, it's the source of most of our unhappiness.

1 comment:

lulu's missives said...

I'm finally finding the time to catch up on my blog reading.
This was a fantastic post and an amazing quote.