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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

There is nothing more important or fascinating in life than the motives of human behaviour

"Why should I allow this casual encounter with a perfect stranger to become a kind of debate? ...I decided to keep myself under control. The moon was behind us and our shadows lay in our path. They had merged into a single dark patch that crawled ahead of us on the snow and as I looked at them, I felt something begin to grow inside me that, like these shadows, was dark, elusive and, like them, also ahead of me. My companion was silent for a minute, then spoke in the confident tone of a man who is master of his thoughts. ' There is nothing more important or fascinating in life than the motives of human behaviour... Is that so? ' I nodded. ... What a strange person, I thought... My astonishment was growing to the detriment of my self-control. What did this man want of me? ... This crank was certainly interesting, but he annoyed me. I made another impatient move to walk on; he followed me..."

– Maxim Gorky, 'The Reader' (Originally appeared in the journal 'Kosmopolis' 1898); Robert Daglish, translator.