If I Had Only One More Hour to Live Publication date : January 9, 2014
Roger-Pol Droit is the author of the immensely successful 101 expériences de philosophie quotidienne and, more recently, of Vivre aujourd’hui avec Socrate, Sénèque et tous les autres (all published by Editions Odile Jacob). He is a research fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and teaches at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (Sciences Po). He has published more than 30 works and is a regular contributor to Le Monde, Le Point and Les Échos.
‘It happened all of a sudden, without my being aware of how or why, or of where I was going and what could come of it. It’s not necessarily sad, just piercing, poignant and sharp, like the exigencies of refusing to pretend, of imagining that the end is near and undergoing the consequences. I’m not the first to experience this; and now, in turn, I feel like taking my own chances.
‘If I had only one hour left to live, just one, exactly and inescapably, what would I do? What actions would I undertake? What would I think, experience, desire? What trace would I leave behind? Just imagine: in 3,600 seconds and not one more…
Would it be all over for me — the Universe, the tenderness of the extreme, children’s laughter, the ritual of a tea ceremony, the alchemy of wine, the hatred of hatred and of all that follows. Goodbye life, hello mysteries: the mystery of the end, of what lies beyond, of what has to be done first; and so everything has become more intense, more urgent and denser.
‘One would have to brush aside illusions, get rid of what is superfluous, go straight to what’s essential — but what is essential?’ writes Roger-Pol Droit.
• Roger-Pol Droit returns here to the manner of 101 expériences, his most successful work (sales exceeding 100,000 copies).
• An inspiration for readers to draw up a balance sheet of their own lives, and to remember, dream and decide what for each of us counts the most.
• A final, radical and decisive work.