Sunday, December 06, 2009
When Thomas Mann was a child his father contrived an experiment to teach him and his siblings a lesson about appetite. “Our father assured us,” Mann writes, “that once in our lives we could eat as many cream puffs … and cream rolls at the pastry shop as we wanted. He led us into a sweet smelling Paradise, and let the dream become reality - and we were amazed how quickly we reached the limit of our desire, which we believed to be infinite.” Here the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. We need only to experiment with our greed to discover that it is only in our fantasies that we are excessive; in reality our appetite is sensible; is, as we like to say, self-regulating - we know when we have had enough.
The Guardian | Insatiable Creatures