The Miscreant by Jean Cocteau

In accordance with the axiom: extremes meet, he dreamt of a virgin extreme right so close to the extreme left that it was almost merged with it – but where he could act independently. The chair would not exist, but if it did, it would be unoccupied.

Objects and atoms take their business seriously. If the mirror were not concentrating, Jacques could doubtless put in one leg and then the other, until he was standing at a vital angle so new as to be inconceivable. No, the mirror was playing safe. The mirror was a mirror.

Having a vague belief makes minds dilettante. He believed too much. He did not limit his beliefs nor define them. Limiting one’s beliefs fixes a spiritual attitude just as defining and limiting one’s tastes in art fixes an attitude of mind.

The map of life is folded in such a way that we cannot see one main road across it, but as it is opened out, we are constantly seeing new side roads. We think we are choosing, and we have no choice.

A young Persian gardener said to his Prince: ‘I met Death this morning. She made me a sign of warning. Save me. By some miracle I should like to be in Ispahan tonight.’ The good Prince lent him his horses. That afternoon, the Prince met Death.

‘Why did you make a sign of warning at our gardener this morning?’ he asked.

‘I did not make a sign of warning but a sign of surprise,’ she answered. ‘For this morning I saw him far from Ispahan, and I am to take him in Ispahan tonight.’

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