We all have our masters. I am such a slave to my talent that I dare not use it for fear of discovering that it has been lost. I am such a slave to my reputation that I hardly dare write a line. When depression finally sets in, I become a slave to that as well. My greatest ambition becomes to hold on to it. My greatest desire becomes to feel that my only worth lies in that which I fear I have lost: the ability to squeeze beauty out of despair, anxiety and failings. In bitter exultation I long to see my house fall to ruins and myself snowed under, relegated to oblivion.
Depression is a room with seven windows. From the last of these I can view a knife, a razor, a vial of poison, an immeasurably deep pool, and the ledge of a tall building. Finally, I become a slave to these instruments of death. Or is it I who hound them? And I begin to think that suicide is the sole proof of human freedom.
But from a direction as yet impossible for me to pinpoint, the miracle of liberation draws near. What is the miracle? Simply: my realization that no power, and no person, has the right to make such demands on me that my desire for life disappears. For without that, what can exist?
A human life is not a performance but a growing into perfection. Like every other part of creation, man is an end in himself – resting like a stone in the sand.
From the essay Our Need for Consolation is Insatiable 1952
Stig died on November 4, 1954. He was 31.