“Somehow the door to my life is locked …

… and I don’t understand how to open it again.” October 20, 1954

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.

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One Response to “Somehow the door to my life is locked …

  1. Bengt says:

    Beautiful and strange to read a text so familiar in my language, Swedish,
    now dressed in English. Also, with the French translation by Philippe Bouquet, on the side, things happen to the Swedish original. Amazing how texts interpreted/translated/rewritten can give new aspects.

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