Ex Opere Operato II – Useless Service

‘The only attitude worthy of a superior man is to persist in an activity he recognizes is useless, to observe a discipline he knows is sterile, and to apply certain norms of philosophical and metaphysical thought that he considers utterly inconsequential.’

Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet, translated by Richard Zenith.

‘If one acts, it is only to give oneself subjective satisfactions: an impression of novelty, or motion, or courage. Anyone who imagines himself aiming at a goal outside himself would be a dupe. This is what Montherlant asserts in Service inutile: “You will tell me that there is no cause worth dying for. That is quite probable. However, it is not for this cause that one suffers or dies. It is for the idea that this suffering and death gives us of ourselves…One must be absurd my friend, but one must not be a dupe. No pity for the dupes.’

Simone de Beauvoir, ‘Right-Wing Thought Today’, in Political Writings, edited by Margaret A Simons and Marybeth Timmerman.

‘You cannot really perform a significant work without being a nihilist. All those activists who appear to be optimists are fakes.’

Yukio Mishima, as quoted in The Thorn and the Chrysanthemum: Suicide and Economic Success in Modern Japan, Mamoru Iga.


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