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Casanova – No regrets

July 30, 2015

“Yes, death is the last line of the book. It’s the end of all, since with death man ceases to feel. But I am far from pretending that the spirit follows the fate of matter. A man should affirm no more than he positively knows. Doubt begins only at the last frontiers of what is possible.

Yes, you moralists morose and imprudent, there is happiness on earth, there is a lot of it, and each has his own. It’s not permanent, no. It passes, it comes back, and passes you again, by that law which is inherent in the nature of all created things, the movement, the eternal rotation of man and thing. And it may be that the sum total of ill, consequence of our imperfection, our physical and intellectual imperfection, surpasses the sum total of each individual’s happiness. All that is possible, but it does not follow that there is no happiness, and a great deal of happiness. If there were not happiness on earth, the creation would be a monstrosity, and Voltaire would have been right when he called our planet the latrines of the universe. An evil pleasantry, which is no more than an absurdity, or rather meaningless, if not a jet of poetic bile.

Yes, there is happiness, and much of it. I repeat that today I know it only by remembrance. Those who admit candidly what they feel are worthy of having it. Those who are not worthy of it are those who have it and yet deny it, and those who are able to get it, yet neglect it. I have no reproach to make to myself on either score.”

(from the Mémoires de J. Casanova de Seingalt : écrits par Lui-même, volume VI, p. 135, [Paris: Garnier frères, 1880 {1798}])

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