Jason Keller is profoundly grateful to be alive. After being gravely injured under circumstances he cannot fully remember, he is discharged from the Marine Corps with Post-Traumatic Stress. Upon leaving the military hospital, Jason isolates himself in his late grandfather's home against Merry Mountain, Tennessee at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Wanting nothing more than to be worthy of the life he has retained and far from family and friends, he undertakes recovery on his own, working to “get right” by living a regimented life. But his methods aren’t working. Between nightmares and anxiety attacks, the best he can seem to achieve is a state of numbness.
Prologue: Simplex Verum
A man can be himself, only so long as he is alone. - Arthur Schopenhauer
Chapter One: Reprieves
Great men are like eagles, and build their nest on some lofty solitude. - Arthur Schopenhauer
Chapter Three: Expectations
The two enemies of human happiness are pain and boredom. - Arthur Schopenhauer
Chapter Four: Natural Absolutist
Nature shows that with the growth of intelligence comes increased capacity for pain, and it is only with the highest degree of intelligence that suffering reaches its supreme point. - Arthur Schopenhauer
Chapter Six: The Brunette
The scenes of our life resemble pictures in rough mosaic; they are ineffective from close up, and have to be viewed from a distance if they are to seem beautiful. That is why, though we live our lives in expectation of better things, we often at the same time long for what is past. The present, on the other hand, is regarded as something quite temporary and serving only as the road to our goal for the future, a fluid and unwritten scope. That is why most men discover when they look back on their life that they have the whole time been living ad interim, and are surprised to see that which they let go by so unworthy and unenjoyed was precisely that in expectation of which they lived for their entire life. – Arthur Schopenhauer.
Chapter Seven: Ava
Fundamentally it is only our own basic thoughts that possess our truth and life, for only through these do we really understand ourselves through and through. He who, by virtue of the strength of his thoughts, memory and imagination, can most clearly call upon what is long past in his own life in relation to the present, is the strongest amongst us. Through this ability, he is more disposed to appreciate and value the present in relation to the past, and can most assuredly call upon his life experiences in relation to the gift of the current as well. - Arthur Schopenhauer
Chapter Nine: Patience and Obligation
All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. – Arthur Schopenhauer.
Chapter Ten: Intrigued
It is to be observed that things appreciated for their value or their interest lose with repetition, because they are no longer able to arouse curiosity as to their course, since it is already known. To see them often, makes them stale and tedious. On the other hand, things with which the value lies in their whole beauty gain by repetition, as they are then more and more understood. - Arthur Schopenhauer
Chapter Thirteen: Revelations and Possibilities
Hope is the confusion of the desire for a thing with its probability. For it is natural for man to believe true things that are not, and to believe it because he desires it to be right; if this salutary and soothing quality in his nature is obliterated by repeated ill-fortune, and he is even brought to the point of believing that what he does not desire to happen must happen and what he desires to happen can never be simply because he desires it, then this is the condition called despair. – Arthur Schopenhauer
Chapter Fourteen: Temptation and Preparation
Misfortune falls less heavily upon us if we have looked upon its occurrence as not impossible, and, as the saying is, prepared ourselves for it. If, before the misfortune comes, we have quietly thought over it as something which may happen, the whole of its extent and range is known to us, and we can, at least determine how far it will affect us; so that, if it really arrives, it does not depress us unduly – its weight is not felt to be greater than it actually is. It is then a managed misfortune. – Arthur Schopenhauer
Chapter Fifteen: Time
Every possession and every happiness is but lent by chance for an uncertain time, and may therefore be demanded back the next hour. - Arthur Schopenhauer
Chapter Seventeen: Instincts
If any desire or passion is aroused in us, we, and in the same way as the lower animals, are for the moment filled with this desire; we are all anger, all lust, all fear; and in such moments neither the better consciousness can speak, nor the understanding consider the consequences.
But in our base reason allows us even at that moment to see our actions and our life as an unbroken chain,—a chain which connects our earlier resolutions, or, it may be, the future consequences of our action, with the moment of passion which now fills our whole consciousness. It shows us the identity of our person, even when that person is exposed to influences of the most varied kind, and thereby we are enabled to act according to maxims.
The lower animal is wanting in this faculty; the passion which seizes it completely dominates it, and can be checked only by another passion—anger, for instance, or lust, by fear; even though the vision that terrifies does not appeal to the senses, it is present in the animal as a dim memory and imagination.
Men, therefore, may be called irrational, if, like the lower animals, they allow themselves to be determined by the moment. - Arthur Schopenhauer
Chapter Eighteen: Philadelphia
I want to think of myself back into that time. It is still in my room, I feel it at once, the walls have preserved it. My hands rest on the arms of my sofa; now I make myself at home and draw up my legs so that I sit comfortably in the corner. The little window is open, through it I see the familiar picture of the street with the rising spire of the church at the end. There are a couple of flowers on the table. Penholders, a shell as a paper-weight, the ink-well - nothing has changed.
It will be like this too. If I’m lucky, when the war is over and I come back here for good. I will sit here just like this and look at my room and wait. I feel excited; but I do not want to be, for that is not right.
I want that quiet rapture again. I want to feel the same powerful, nameless urge that I used to feel when I turned to my books. The breath of desire that then arose from the coloured backs of the books shall fill me again, melt the heavy, dead lump of lead that lies somewhere in me and waken again the impatience of the future, the quick joy in the world of thought, it shall bring back again the lost eagerness of my youth. I sit and wait.
The room shall speak, it must catch me up and hold me, I want to feel that I belong here, I want to hearken and know when I go back to the front that the war will sink down, be drowned utterly in the great home-coming tide, know that it will then be past forever, and not gnaw at us continually, that it will have none but an outward power over us.
The backs of the books stand in rows. I know them all still, I remember arranging them in order. I implore them with my eyes: Speak to me - take me up - take me, Life of my Youth - you who are care-free, beautiful, receive me again -
I wait, I wait. Images float through my mind, but they do not grip me, they are mere shadows and memories.
Nothing. Nothing. - Paul Baumer on his last leave home, All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque
To cheat oneself out of love is the most terrible deception; it is an eternal loss for which there is no reparation, either in time or in eternity. - Soren Kierkegaard
Chapter Twenty-One: Struggle
When something an affliction happens to you, you either let it defeat you, or you defeat it. - Jean Jacques Rousseau
Chapter Twenty-Two: Thanksgiving
Hope is a waking dream. - Aristotle