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Henrik Ibsen – The old switcheroo

March 20, 2015

                        Absolute Reason
Dropped dead last night at eleven o’clock. …

The individuals once called mad
In fact became normal last night at eleven,
To conform with the new conditions of Reason.
And, if you look deeply into the matter,
It’s apparent that at the aforesaid time
The so-called intelligent started to rave. …

Here, a man’s himself with a vengeance;
Himself, and nothing else whatsoever; –
The self full sail, full speed ahead.
Each one shut up in the cask of self,
Immersed in a fermentation of self,
Hermetically sealed with the bung of self,
The barrel pickled in a bath of self.
No one has tears for other men’s pain;
No one accepts other men’s notions.
We’re ourselves here, thought, word and deed,
Ourselves right to the edge of the diving-board, …

(from Peer Gynt [1876], Act 4, translated by by Christopher Fry and Johan Fillinger)


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