Notebook

Not About Seeing Quickly

There’s uncanny prescience in Marguerite Duras’s reflections, recorded in 1985, on life in the 21st century. And she didn’t even know about the internet!

‘I think man will literally drown in constant information about his body, about his physical becoming, about his health, his family life, his salary, his leisure. It is not far from a nightmare. No one will read anymore. They’ll watch TV. There will be televisions everywhere: in the kitchen, in the bathrooms, in offices and streets. No one will travel anymore. It won’t be worth the bother. When you can tour the world in eight days or fifteen days, why do it? In travel, there’s the time of travel. It isn’t about seeing quickly. It’s about seeing and living at the same time. It will no longer be possible to draw life from travel. Still, there’ll be the sea, the oceans — and then reading. People will rediscover that. One day, a man will read. And everything will begin again.’