I exist. It’s sweet, so sweet, so slow. And light: you’d think it floated all by itself. It stirs. It brushes by me, melts and vanishes. Gently, gently. There is bubbling water in my mouth. I swallow. It slides down my throat, it caresses me – and now it comes up again into my mouth. For ever I shall have a little pool of whitish water in my mouth – lying low – grazing my tongue. And this pool is still me. And the tongue. And the throat is me.
I see my hand spread out on the table. It lives – it is me. It opens, the fingers open and point. It is lying on its back. It shows me its fat belly. It looks like an animal turned upside down. The fingers are the paws. I amuse myself by moving them very rapidly, like the claws of a crab which has fallen on its back.
…It would be much better if I could only stop thinking. Thoughts are the dullest things. Duller than flesh. They stretch out and there’s no end to them and they leave a funny taste in the mouth. Then there are words, inside the thoughts, unfinished words, a sketchy sentence which constantly returns…It goes, it goes…and there’s no end to it. It’s worse than the rest because I feel responsible and have complicity in it. For example, this sort of painful rumination: I exist, I am the one who keeps it up. I. The body lives by itself once it has begun. But thought – I am the one who continues it, unrolls it. I exist. How serpentine this feeling of existing – I unwind it, slowly…If I could keep myself from thinking! I try, and succeed: my head seems to fill with smoke…and then it starts again: “Smoke…not to think…don’t want to think…I think I don’t want to think. I mustn’t think that I don’t want to think. Because that’s still a thought. Will there never be an end to it?
My thought is me: that’s why I can’t stop. I exist because I think…and I can’t stop myself from thinking. At this very moment – it’s frightful – if I exist, it is because I am horrified at existing. I am the one who pulls myself from the nothingness to which I aspire: the hatred, the disgust of existing, there are as many ways to make myself exist, to thrust myself into existence. Thought are born at the back of me, like sudden giddiness, I feel them being born behind my head…if I yield, and I always yield, the thought grows and grows and there it is, immense, filling me completely and renewing my existence.
— Nausea, Jean Paul Sartre