I loved them, according to the hallowed expression, which amounts to saying that I never loved any of them (3.20).
I can hear them now: "He killed himself because he couldn’t bear ..." Ah, cher ami, how poor in invention men are! They always think one commits suicide for a reason. But it’s quite possible to commit suicide for two reasons. No, that never occurs to them. So what’s the good of dying intentionally, of sacrificing yourself to the idea you want people to have of you? Once you are dead, they will take advantage of it to attribute idiotic or vulgar motives to your action. Martyrs, cher ami, must choose between being forgotten, mocked, or made use of. As for being understood – never! (4.4).
I have never been really able to believe that human affairs were serious matters. I had no idea where the serious might lie, except that it was not in all this I saw around me – which seemed to me merely an amusing game, or tiresome.
To be sure, I occasionally pretended to take life seriously. But very soon the frivolity of seriousness struck me and I merely went on playing my role as well as I could. I played at being efficient, intelligent, virtuous, civic-minded, shocked, indulgent, fellow-spirited, edifying ... In short, there’s no need of going on, you have already grasped that I was like my Dutchmen who are here without being here: I was absent at the moment when I took up the most space (4.17-8).