Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ah Yes, I Remember it Well

Nothing like being young and footloose on the Rivieria with a bit of daddy's money:
The next two months passed very pleasantly.  As we were not impelled by ambition, envy, avarice or pride, none of us did anything at all: we remained sunk in greed, sloth and sensuality--the three most amiable vices in the catalogue, and those which promote so much content and social ease that I could never see what they are doing in it at all, and have often thought they should be replaced by jealousy, exploitation and cruelty, which are much worse sins for everyone involved. 
So John Glassco in Memoirs of Montparnasse 122 (NTRB 2007). He goes on to expand his point into a philosophy of life:
I do not think the life we led at the Dora Melrose was in any sense wicked for all its irregularity.  It did not harm to anyone--and far from misusing our time, we were really turning it to the best account for our own sakes and the world's as well; for I am persuaded half of man's miseries result from an insufficiency of leisure, gormandise and sexual gratification during the years from seventeen to twenty.  This is what makes so many people tyrannical, bitter, foolish, grasping and ill-natured once they have come to years of discretion and understand they have wasted their irreplaceable years in the pursuit of education, security, reputation, or advancement.
Id. at 122-3. But there is a backstory to this effusion of youthful effervescence. I'll explain later.

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