Then came human beings, they wanted to cling but there was nothing to cling to. Thus I progressed on the surface of life, in the realm of words as it were, never in reality. All those books barely read, those friends barely loved, those cities barely visited, those women barely possessed! I went through the gestures out of boredom or absent-mindedness. Then came the human beings, they wanted to cling, but there was nothing to cling to, and that was unfortunate - for them. As for me, I forgot. I never remembered anything but myself.
But what then is capital punishment but the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal's deed, however calculated it may be, can be compared? For there to be equivalence, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict a horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, had confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not encountered in private life.
When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a belovedperson, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken thatlight on the faces surrounding him; and you are torn by the thought ofthe unhappiness and night you cast, by the mere fact of living, in thehearts you encounter.