The Brutal Instant

‘… is experienced when we are faced with the unexpected death of a loved one, or the sudden daunting realisation of personal responsibility for the recurring errors and habits that rule over our thwarted lives or collective world views . . ..  Only such a tragic realisation may be capable of cutting deep into the heart of reason . . . a power capable at a given moment—if we heed and assent to it—of absolving the élan that otherwise seems to drive existence onward, relentlessly hauling the cumulative detritus of our past’ (xii).

Intuition of the Instant, Gaston Bachelard. (Trans. Eileen Rizo-Patron)

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