Saturday, September 15, 2012

What To Expect

"For human nature is such that grief and pain - even simultaneously suffered - do not add up as a whole in our consiousness, but hide, the lesser behind the greater, according to a definite law of perspective.  It is providential and is our means of surviving in the camp.  And this is the reason why so often in  free life one hears it said that man is never content.  In fact it is not a question of a human incapacity for a state of absolute happiness, but of an ever-insufficient knowledge of the complex nature of the state of unhappiness;  so that the single name of  the major cause is given to all its causes, which are composite and set out in an order of urgency.  And if the most immediate cause of stress comes to an end, you are grievously amazed to see that another lies behind;  and in reality a whole series of others."

Primo Levi,  If This Is A Man,  (Abacus, 1987), p79.

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