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Red Lipstick & Green Ink [userpic]

When Sartre Tried to Quit Smoking:

November 27th, 2007 (02:12 am)

A few years ago, I was lead to decide to stop smoking. The beginning was rough, and in truth, I did not so much care for the taste of tobacco that I was going to lose, as for the meaning [le sens] of the act of smoking. A whole crystallization had taken place. I used to smoke at performances, mornings at work, evenings after dinner, and it seemed to me that in ceasing to smoke I was going to subtract some of the interest of the performance, some of the evening dinner's savor, some of the fresh vivacity of the morning's work. Whatever unexpected event might have struck my eyes, it seemed to me that it was fundamentally impoverished as soon as I could no longer welcome it by smoking. To-be-susceptible-to-be-encountered-by-me-while-smoking: that was the concrete quality that had been universally spread over things. And it seemed to me that I was going to tear it away from them and that, in the midst of this universal impoverishment, life was a little less worth living. However, smoking is an appropriative destructive reaction. Tobacco is a symbolically "appropriated" being, since it is destroyed following the rhythm of my breath by manner of "continuous destruction," since it passes in me and it changing into myself manifests itself symbolically by the transformation if the consumed solid into smoke. the bond (lison) between the landscape seen while smoking and this little crematorial sacrafice was such, as we have just seen, that the latter was like a symbol of the former. It therefore signifies that the destructive appropriative action of tobacco was symbolically equivalent to an appropriative destruction of the entire world. Through the tobacco I was smoking it was the world that was burning, that was being smoked, that reabsorbed itself in steam to reenter in me. To maintain my decision to stop, I had to achieve a sort of decrystallization--that is, without exactly realizing it, I reduced tobacco to being only itself: a leaf that burns; I cut the symbolic links with the world, I persuaded myself that I would take nothing away from the theater, from the landscape, from the book I was reading, if I considered them without my pipe; that is, it finally came down to my having other modes of possessing these objects than that sacraficial ceremony. As soon as I was persuaded of it, my regret was reduced to insignificance: I deplored not having to smell the odor of the smoke, the warmth of the little heater between my fingers, etc. But suddenly my regret was disarmed and quite bearable.

He continued to smoke for the next forty years.


Posted by: John Doheny (jdquintette)
Posted at: November 27th, 2007 11:44 pm (UTC)

He was lucky.

I've had a number of close friends, as well as my father and my uncle, die of smoking-related diseases. It is not pretty.

Posted by: Red Lipstick & Green Ink (ginger931)
Posted at: November 28th, 2007 09:36 pm (UTC)
Cowgirl G

He DID die of it love, that is what happened 40 years after he wrote this.


I'm not done quiting...
I just had a small set back.


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