Henri Roorda - "Joyful pessimism." In this baleful, little-known treatise, Roorda presents debt and boredom in a world of capital as “his reasons for going,” and he dissects these motivations with such astuteness that his anatomy of himself and his perceived failures becomes spellbinding
Henri Roorda, My Suicide, Trans. by Eva Richter, Spurl, 2017.45 pages, free e-book in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI (Kindle) formats: http://spurleditions.com/my-suicide
Henri Roorda – a Swiss anarchist, math teacher, and columnist – shot himself in 1925, but left behind this essay, which examines his life and philosophy of “joyful pessimism.”
In this baleful, little-known treatise, Henri Roorda presents debt and boredom in a world of capital as “his reasons for going,” and he dissects these motivations with such astuteness that his anatomy of himself and his perceived failures becomes spellbinding. My Suicide is both melancholy and humorous, political and deeply personal – a meditation on unfulfilled desires and the “uselessness of old age.”
“For a long time I have promised myself that I would write a small book called Joyful Pessimism. This title pleases me. I like the sound it makes and it decently expresses what I would like to say.
“But I believe I have waited too long: I have aged, and there will probably be more pessimism than joy in my book. Our heart is not a perfect thermos that conserves the ardor of our youth until the end, without losing anything.” — Henri Roorda
Henri Roorda van Eysinga was born on November 30, 1870, and killed himself on November 7, 1925. He was raised amidst revolutionary ideals: when he was a child, his family had to relocate to Switzerland after his father was declared persona non grata by the Dutch government, and there his parents befriended the anarchist thinkers Élisée Reclus and Peter Kropotkin. The young Roorda studied math and went on to work as a teacher who was beloved by his students; he was, however, deeply disappointed by his work. Accordingly, Roorda wrote a progressive critique of the prevailing educational structure (Le Pédagogue n'aime pas les enfants), as well as humorous columns for the Swiss dailies, which were collected in numerous compilations. He frequently wrote under the name Balthasar. Before he died, he left behind a brief note to a friend and his final text, My Suicide (Mon suicide).