Fragments

We even understand a philosophical essay better if we do not gobble it up entirely and at one go, but pick out a detail from which we then arrive at the whole, if we are lucky. Our greatest pleasure, surely, is in fragments, just as we derive the most pleasure from life if we regard it as a fragment, whereas the whole and the complete and perfect are basically abhorrent to us. Only when we are fortunate enough to turn something whole, something complete or indeed perfect into a fragment, when we get down to reading it, only then do we experience a high degree, at times indeed a supreme degree, of pleasure in it. Our age has long been intolerable as a whole . . . only when we perceive a fragment of it is it tolerable to us.                               Thomas Bernhard, Old Masters; A Comedy trans Ewald Osers, p18

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