'He has found a purpose in life for himself in his children'. So that they in turn may find the same in theirs? But what point is there in this endless procreation? We care so little about other people that even Christianity urges us to do good for the love of God. Man prefers to punch his fellow man in the mouth, and is such a fool that to give himself an object in life he has to produce a son.
I like this one a lot. Pavese manages to get such a wealth of ideas into a few lines of writing. I haven't been able to find out where the quote he opens with comes from, but while googling the phrase I learned that Usher, that most anodyne of popstars, said much the same thing a couple of weeks ago. Attributing all your 'purpose' in life to your children is a dangerous thing to do, as I see it. Surely it can only mean that you've given up on finding any meaning in your own life and are now only seeking to do so vicariously through your children. Or is it just something vapid that people say? If merely producing humans to produce humans to produce humans ad infinitum is our 'purpose' in life then it is really no purpose at all. I very much hope to have children some day but I'd like to think that even without them my life might have some purpose, and that if I do have them I won't subscribe wholeheartedly to the cult of the child.
Extract taken, as always, from The Assassin's Cloak.