You have miseries

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Posted by Amanda Best ( on August 01, 1999 at 01:38:45:

You are outside life, you are above life, you have miseries which the ordinary man does not know, you exceed the normal level, and it is for this that men refuse to forgive you, you poison their peace of mind, you undermine their stability. You have irrepressible pains whose essence is to be inadaptable to any known state, indescribable in words. You have repeated and shifting pains, incurable pains, pains beyond imagining, pains which are neither of the body nor of the soul, but which partake of both. And I share your suffering, and I ask you: who dares to ration our relief? … We are not going to kill ourselves just yet. In the meantime, leave us the hell alone.

Antonin Artaud (1896–1948), French theater producer, actor, theorist. General Security: The Liquidation of Opium (1925; repr. in Selected Writings, pt. 10, ed. by Susan Sontag, 1976), plea for free use of opium for sufferers including “lucid madmen, spastics, cancer patients, chronic meningitis cases.”

The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations is licensed from Columbia University Press. Copyright © 1993, 1995, 1997, 1998 by Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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