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An idea of ​​happiness

the promise of a future in the instant of a meeting

(free collage of fragments extracted from "The search for lost time" by Marcel Proust in the Einaudi edition, Turin 1978)


"But when, recovering my balance, I placed my foot on a flint that was a little less high than the previous one, all my despondency vanished in front of the same happiness aroused in me, in different periods of my life, by the sight of trees that I seemed to recognize during a carriage ride around Balbec, from the sight of the bell towers of Martinville, from the taste of a madeleine dipped in a herbal tea, from many other sensations I have talked about and which seemed to me to be synthesized in the last works of Vinteuil. As in the moment when I was savoring the madeleine, all worries about the future, all intellectual doubts were dispelled.



At the same instant, a second warning came to reinforce that of the two unequal flints and to urge me to persevere in my task. A servant, in his unsuccessful efforts not to make a noise, had bumped a plate with a spoon. The same kind of happiness aroused me by unequal flints; the sensations were still very hot, but quite different: mixed with the smell of a forest environment; and I recognized that what appeared to me so pleasant was the same row of trees that I had found boring to observe and describe and in front of which, in a sort of daze, I had thought for a moment that I was, intent on uncorking the bottle of beer I had with me in the carriage, the identical noise of the spoon against the plate had given me, before I had time to recover, the illusion of the sound of the hammer of a worker who had fixed something to a train wheel while we were stop in front of that grove.



I flew quickly over all this, more imperiously solicited as I was in search - research the other times postponed - of the cause of this happiness , of the character of this certainty with which it imposed itself. And I guessed it, this cause, by comparing with each other those different happy impressions that had in common the fact that I felt them both at the present moment and in a distant moment, the noise of the spoon on the plate, the unevenness of the flints, the taste of to make the past flow back into the present, not to know with certainty which of the two I was in ; indeed, the being who tasted that impression in me then tasted it in what it had in common in a past day and now, in what it had that was extra-temporal: a being who appeared only when, thanks to one of these identities between the present and the past, he was allowed to stay in the only environment in which he could live and enjoy the essence of things, that is, outside of time. This is why my worries about my death ended when I unconsciously recognized the taste of the little madeleine: because at that moment the being I had been was an extra-temporal being, and therefore heedless of the vicissitudes of the future. of the essence of things, and could not grasp it in the present ...



An instant freed from the order of time has recreated in us, to feel it, the man freed from the order of time.



The truths that intelligence grasps directly, in daylight, in the world of full light, have something less profound, less necessary than those that life communicates to us in spite of everything in an impression, material because it enters us through the senses, but of which we can extract the spirit.



And my person today is nothing but an abandoned quarry, which believes that everything it contains is the same and monotonous, but from which every memory draws, like a sculptor of genius, innumerable statues.



An hour (an architecture) is not just an hour (an architecture), it is a vase filled with scents, sounds, projects and climates. "

An architecture is not just an architecture.

It is a promise of happiness that unfolds in the present.

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