How we cite our quotes:
Wasn’t this the key to my nature and also a result of the great self-love I have told you about? Yes, I was bursting with a longing to be immortal. I was too much in love with myself not to want the precious object of my love never to disappear. […] Because I longed for eternal life, I went to bed with harlots and drank for nights on end. In the morning, to be sure, my mouth was filled with the bitter taste of the mortal state. But, for hours on end, I had soared in bliss (5.7).
And that’s the thing about distractions: they’re momentary. This is the existential version of an awkward morning after.
You know that even very intelligent people glory in being able to empty one bottle more than the next man. I might ultimately have found peace and release in that happy dissipation. But, there too, I encountered an obstacle in myself. This time it was my liver, and a fatigue so dreadful that it hasn’t yet left me. One plays at being immortal and after a few weeks one doesn’t even know whether or not one can hang on till the next day (5.9).
This scenario makes a great metaphor; Jean-Baptiste would be immortal, but his body just won’t let him.
When we are all guilty, that will be democracy. Without counting, cher ami, that we must take revenge for having to die alone. Death is solitary, whereas slavery is collective. The others get theirs, too, and at the same time as we – that’s what counts. All together at last, but on our knees and heads bowed (6.16).
It’s difficult to reconcile this statement with the fact that, being a judge-penitent, Jean-Baptiste sets himself above everyone else. This hardly sounds like democracy, even though what he’s doing is declaring his and everyone else’s guilt simultaneously.