Thursday, June 18, 2009

It was an utterly changed form of life. Everything about it was shifted out of the focus of ordinary attention and had lost its sharp outlines. Seen in this way, it was all a little scattered and blurred, and yet manifestly there were still other centers filling it again with delicate certainty and clarity. For all life’s problems and events took on an incomparable mildness, softness, and serenity, and at the same time an utterly transformed meaning. If, for instance, a beetle, there, ran past the hand of the man sunk in thought, it was not a coming nearer, a passing by and a disappearing, and it was not beetle and man; it was a happening ineffably touching the heart, and yet not even a happening but, although it happened, a state. And, aided by such tranquil experiences, everything that generally goes to make up ordinary life was imbued with transforming significance, wherever Ulrich met with it.

--The Man without Qualities, Robert Musil (1943)



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