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the endless variations on everyday life… cause nothing ever happens twice

The Madman

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It was in the garden of a madhouse that I met a youth with a face pale and lovely and full of wonder. And I sat beside him upon the bench, and I said, “Why are you here?”

And he looked at me in astonishment, and he said, “It is an unseemly question, yet I will answer you. My father would make of me a reproduction of himself; so also would my uncle. My mother would have me the image of her seafaring husband as the perfect example for me to follow. My brother thinks I should be like him, a fine athlete. And my teachers also, the doctor of philosophy, and the music-master, and the logician, they too were determined, and each would have me but a reflection of his own face in a mirror. Therefore I came to this place. I find it more sane here. At least, I can be myself.”

Then of a sudden he turned to me and he said, “But tell me, were you also driven to this place by education and good counsel?”

And I answered, “No, I am a visitor.”

And he answered, “Oh, you are one of those who live in the madhouse on the other side of the wall.”

Uit: The Wanderer, Khalil Gibran, 1932.

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