My joys are fleeting. Sooner or later, as though by magic, joy and calm suddenly deserts me; all fat plump illusions, all my self-satisfaction and self-importance, and idle peace of mind falls away. Something plunges me into solitude and brooding, makes me contemplate suffering and death, the vanity of all undertaking, as I stare into the abyss.
At other times a sudden joy blossoms from the hopeless depth of uselessness and horror, a violent surge of optimism, the desire to listen to music, to write. I have only to dwell on a lovely sight or read a poem, and my childlike agreement with life comes back to me. Tomorrow or the day after, the world will be good again, it will be wonderful. At least it is so until the sadness returns, the brooding, the remorse for suffering humanity and the vanity of hope, the horror of insensitive, piglike, staring-but-not-seeing human existence.
It is at such moments that thoughts about my career in the law always come to mind. With torturing curiosity and deep anguish, I think of the career I destroyed, the career I never had. And I wonder what had become of my desire to be a lawyer. Had I lost that desire completely, does anything remain of it? The bare essentials of legal knowledge, and perhaps a few concepts remain. And what would become of that knowledge? How long was it, decades or just years, until all my legal knowledge lost any meaning and crumbled into ignorance?