Have you ever in your life had hours, or days, or even weeks when all your ordinary activities provoked a rather agonizing discomfort, and when everything you usually consider important and worthwhile seemed silly and worthless? When you didn’t know what to do or where to turn? When you vaugely felt that somewhere, sometime, a desire transcending the sphere of earthly pleasure might be fulfilled, and you grew silent about everything around you the way a child brought up too strictly dares not express himself at all? When the spirit filled your heart with longing for an unknown something hovering everywhere you went, in transparent shapes that fled from closer scrutiny like an ephemeral dream? When you crept around with sad looks like a forlorn lover, and all the things you saw people doing in life’s gay, colorful tumult incited neither sorrow nor joy, as if you no longer belonged to this world?
- E.T.A Hoffmann, The Golden Pot