Han Ryner on the Individual

What the Individual Is by Han Ryner, La Mêlée no. 29, Aug. 1, 1919.

The individual is a complex, indefinable being. Now, only the individual has something that can be called (without lying too much) existence. Therefore, as the cynic philosophers have known for a long time, nothing real, nothing concrete is definable.
Needing to think, speak, know and act compels us to act so as if there were something definable. With a smile on our lips, let us consent to the inevitable.
But let’s never forget for too long that no words can tell us about the depths of being, even our own depths, and no thought, whatever goodwill and sympathy drives it, will penetrate the depth of another. Our most beautiful, strongest, most penetrating truths are humbly proud to be the lesser lies.
The more I force myself to grasp the concrete, the more my concepts become complex and shaky, the more annoyed I get at not being able to make them supple and moving. When I pronounce absolute words, I know that I am talking in the abstract and that I am talking about nothing.


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