Disquiet, In Scorn and Solipsism


Image by Jelena Mrkich

Jelena Mrkich, Art Therapist

“…and a deep and weary disdain for all those who work for mankind, for all those who fight for their realm and give their lives so that civilization may continue…

…a disdain full of disgust for those who don’t realize that the only reality is each man’s soul, and that everything else – the exterior world and other people – is but an unaesthetic nightmare, like the result, in dreams, of a mental indigestion.

My aversion to effort becomes an almost writhing horror before all forms of violent effort.  War, energetic and productive labour, helping others – all this strikes me as the product of an impertinence…..

Everything useful and external tastes frivolous and trivial in the light of my soul’s supreme reality and next to the pure sovereign splendour of my more original and frequent dreams.  These, for me, are more real.”

Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet


Image by Gonzalo Bénard

The Awakening of the Self




Let’s act like sphinxes, however falsely, until we reach the point of no longer knowing who we are. For we are, in fact, false sphinxes, with no idea of what we are in reality. The only way to be in agreement with life is to disagree with ourselves. Absurdity is divine.

Let’s develop theories, patiently and honestly thinking them out, in order to promptly act against them — acting and justifying our actions with new theories that condemn them. Let’s cut a path in life and then go immediately against that path. Let’s adopt all the poses and gestures of something we aren’t and don’t wish to be, and don’t even wish to be taken for being.

Let’s buy books so as not to read them; let’s go to concerts without caring to hear the music or to see who’s there; let’s take long walks because we’re sick of walking; and let’s spend whole days in the country, just because it bores us.”

Fernando Pessoa (Bernardo Soares), The Book of Disquiet


The Work We Do or Do Not Do


“We may know that the work we continue to put off doing will be bad. Worse, however, is the work we never do. A work that’s finished is at least finished. It may he poor, but it exists, like a miserable plant in the lone flowerpot of my neighbour who’s crippled. That plant is her happiness, and sometimes it’s even mine. What I write, bad as it is, may provide some hurt or sad soul a few moments of distraction from something worse. That’s enough for me, or it isn’t enough, but it serves some purpose, and so it is with all of life.”

Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet