Our Friend Manso

By Benito Pérez Galdós; Robert Russell | Go to book overview

I
I DO NOT EXIST

I DO NOT EXIST. And just in case some untrusting, stubborn, ill- meaning person should refine to believe what I say so plainly, or should demand some sort of sworn testimony before believing it--I swear, I solemnly swear that I do not exist; and I likewise protest against any and all inclinations or attempts to consider me as being endowed with the unequivocal attributes of real existence. I declare that I am not even a portrait of anybody, and I promise that if one of our contemporary deep-thinkers were to start looking for similarities between my fleshless, boneless being and any individual susceptible to an experiment in vivisection, I should rush to the defense of my rights as a myth, demonstrating with witnesses called forth from a place of my own choosing that I neither am, nor have been, nor ever will be, anybody.

I am--putting it obscurely in order for you to understand it better--an artistic, diabolical condensation, a fabrication born of human thought (ximia Dei) which, whenever it grasps in its fingers a bit of literary style, uses it to start imitating what God has done with material substance in the physical world; I am one more example of those falsifications of a man which from the dawn of time have been sold on the block by people I call idlers--and by so doing I fail in my filial duties--though an undiscerning and overgenerous public confers on them the title of artist, poet, or something of the sort. I am a chimera, dream of a dream, shadow of a shade, suspicion of a possibility: I enjoy my nonexistence, I watch the senseless passing of infinite time, which is so boring that it holds my attention, and I begin to wonder whether being nobody isn't the same as being everybody, whether my not possessing any personal attributes isn't the same as possessing the very attributes of existence itself. This is a matter which I haven't clarified as yet, and I pray God I never may, lest I be deprived of that illusion of pride which always alleviates the frigid boredom of these realms of pure thought.

Here, ladies and gentlemen, in the home of all that does not exist, we too have our vanity (can you believe that?), our social classes, and all sorts of

-1-

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