American Memory V

I marvelled at many things but I only learned one: that Europe is miserable in at least one thing, namely the morosity, Angst and bile of its intelligent and cultured people (or, really, every European, bar the Portuguese). Plainly put, if you are intelligent and / or cultured in Europe, you cannot be happy, you cannot be fun, it is inconceivable that you may smile or be pleasant. You must be possessed by the sullen spirit of Schopenhauer, you must look at the world throught the eyes of Raskolnikov, you must despise the world more intensely than that poor fictional New Yorker, Holden Caulfield, you must despise it at least as much as Nietzsche.

America taught me (Boston first and New York definitely) that you can be of a happy and kind disposition even if you are intelligent and cultured. Also, sullenness and grumpiness or pose, rudeness and obfuscation can hardly conceal emptiness and stupidity. In America. In Europe they are sufficient hallmarks of a true intellectual.

4 thoughts on “American Memory V

  1. I can’t say I agree with you about the obfuscation part. Europe definitely has no monopoly on it (well, maybe the French do, and we just all borrow from them).

    Unless (it occurs to me now) you’re saying that saying that there is obfuscation — and rudeness and sullenness, etc — in America, but the emptiness and stupidity is simply too great to be hidden by it.

  2. That is very much true, i ‘d have to admit. Think of all these central european nations (most notably the Germans) who appear to be in a state of collective depression (intellectuals and non-).
    On the other hand, let us not forget that Americans are, mostly, europeans who didn’t like europe.

  3. There’s definetely something to be said of the sulleness of European intellectuals, no doubt. There is also something to be said of the sheer lack of critical judgement that can ensue when someone becomes ‘positive’. Certainly, somewhere in the middle, there is a fine, natural balance between European sentimental nihilism and American ‘cheerful-if-annoyed’ positivism. I tend to prefer grumpy but optimistic intellectuals. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Leaving « “… neither reveals nor conceals”

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