Memories lie slumbering within us for months and years, quietly proliferating, until they are woken by some trifle and in some strange way blind us to life. How often this has caused me to feel that my memories, and the labours expended in writing them down are all part of the same humiliating, and at the bottom, contemptible business! And yet, what would we be without memory? We would not be capable of ordering even the simplest thoughts, the most sensitive heart would lose the ability to show affection, our existence would be a mere never-ending chain of meaningless moments, and there would not be the faintest trace of a past. How wretched this life of ours is! - so full of false conceits, so futile, that it is little more than the shadow of the chimeras loosed by memory…I have become almost invisible, to some extent like a dead man. Perhaps this is why it appears to me that this world which I have very nearly left behind is shrouded in some peculiar mystery.
- François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand, via W.G. Seblad