My forbidden door

I’ve just finished reading a Romanian book: “Ușa interzisă” by Gabriel Liiceanu (The forbidden door). It has been quite a while since I really got into a book to this extend.

It is written like a journal during one year, but it contains a lot of philosophical ideas and references to Kant, Heidegger, Kierkegaard, Noica – all of whom I haven’t read so far. I find the combination of intimate narration and general human existential question as very inspired and inspiring.

The journal starts by talking about the depression through which the author, almost is his 60s, is going through – the way he’s perceiving his “gripă psihică” (mental flu), what he feels, constantly questioning the purpose of life, the reasons that can drive a person to wake up from bed in the morning.

He sees his depression as “dezagregare a sistemului de iluzii” (the disintegration of the illusion system) and understands the depression as the ability to see the ultimate truth of life which is the certainty of death. He’s questioning his profession, the meaning of day-to-day activities, feeling that he’s loosing his identity. The question of why do we feel the need of having an identity is also interesting.

I admit, it’s not a happy book and, at times, it might get you into a bit of a sad or at least thoughtful state of mind. I was reading it as a holiday book. It fitted well my general mood and state of mind, especially since one could say that I’m at the moment in search of my identity.

I quit my job because I couldn’t stop thinking how meaningless it was and perceiving the time spent there as lost time of my life. It is true “Jeder muss seine Brötchen verdienen” (everyone has to earn their bread), but where is the line between earning a bread and just running for money?

What is the cash worthiness of my time and of compromising my believes/values? There are a lot of honest jobs that one can do if the final purpose is “eine Brötchen verdienen”: cleaning dishes, serving food in bars/restaurant, baby-sitting etc etc. I guess for the past few months I´ve been peeping though the keyhole of my forbidden door into the hidden room.

The book is interesting for me especially because it passes, day-after-day, through the author´s state of mind, showing through the way he´s writing that his depression is fading and he´s able to go back to a way of life that makes some sense to him. It was also a good read for me because of the philosophy references – I haven´t read much philosophy so far, but I have now a list of names and books that I definitely want to look into, even if I might only be able to scratch their surface given my current ignorance in this matter. But, in the end, one has always to start from somewhere!

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