17th Dec 2019

He wanted to be an artist, an artist of life wasn’t enough for him, although precisely this concept provides everything we need to be happy if we think about it, I thought. Ultimately he was enamored of failure, if not even a little smitten, I thought, had clung to this failure of his until the end. I could actually say he was unhappy in his unhappiness but he would have been even more unhappy had he lost his unhappiness overnight, had it been taken away from him from one moment to the next, which is again proof that basically he wasn’t unhappy at all but happy, and by virtue of and with his unhappiness, I thought. Many people are basically happy because they’re up to their necks in unhappiness, I thought, and I told myself that Wertheimer actually was happy because he was continually aware of his unhappiness, could take pleasure in his unhappiness. All at once this thought struck me as not at all absurd, that is to think that he was afraid of losing his unhappiness for a reason I couldn’t know and for that reason went to Chur and to Zizers and killed himself. It’s possible we have to assume that the so-called unhappy person doesn’t exist, I thought, for we first make most of them unhappy by taking their unhappiness away from them. Wertheimer was afraid of losing his unhappiness and killed himself for this and no other reason, I thought, with a subtle sleight of hand he withdrew from the world, kept a promise so to speak in which no one believed anymore, I thought, withdrew from a world that actually always wanted only to make him and his millions of other suffering companions happy, a condition he however always knew how to prevent with the greatest ruthlessness toward himself and everybody else, because like these others, in deadly fashion, he’d grown more accustomed to his unhappiness than to anything else. — Thomas Bernhard • The Loser [rendered into english by Jack Dawson]


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