XI. To reject

1. To reject is like weeding a garden. It determines what stays.

2. To reject is an act. It defines the greatness of the poem Montale wrote in his Ink-fish Bones. This is what we know: what we are not, what we do not want to be.

3. To reject is against the spirit of the times, which tells you that man creates himself.

4. To reject has consequences. My refusal to learn the catechism at a primary school in Belgium was punished with the obligation to write an essay each morning. This familiarized me with writing. My rejection of the Americanization of sociology made me turn from Utrecht to Paris and gave me Tocqueville. My rejection of fatigue-duty in unpleasant company made me accept the offer to become an officer.

5. To reject providing courier services for the Algerian Liberation Front may have saved my life, but it was also the insight that the outcome of the battle was not mine.

6. To reject its self-image was conditional for turning Rotterdam, world harbor and workers town, into a city of architecture, film, and poetry

7. To reject the easier solution is what made Russell Page’s art of gardening special.

8. To reject is to be slow in fast times.