The Walls

‘Modern man is a prisoner who thinks he is free because he refrains from touching the walls of his dungeon.’

Nicolás Gómez Dávila, Notes.

‘A man whose mind feels that it is captive would prefer to blind himself to the fact. But if he hates falsehood, he will not do so; and in that case he will have to suffer a lot. He will beat his head against the wall until he faints. He will come to again and look with terror at the wall, until one day he begins afresh to beat his head against it; and once again he will faint. And so on endlessly and without hope. One day he will wake up on the other side of the wall.

Perhaps he is still in prison, although a larger one. No matter. He has found the key; he knows the secret which breaks down every wall. He has passed beyond what men call intelligence, into the beginning of wisdom.’

Simone Weil, Human Personality, translated by Sian Miles.


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