...to shut temporarily the doors and windows of consciousness; to protect us from the noise and agitation with which our lower organs work for or against one another; to introduce a little quiet into our consciousness so as to make room for the nobler functions and functionaries of our organism which do the governing and planning. This concierge maintains order and etiquette in the household of the psyche; which immediately suggests that there can be no happiness, no serenity, no hope, no pride, no present, without oblivion... -- Nietzsche, The Genealogy of Morals
Of those old familiar tunes that beckon seductively as Chapels-of-Ease along the winding path up Cemetery Hill, none is more insidious than the wordless song of that beautiful and helpful concierge, the faculty of oblivion, humming to herself without affect as she cheerfully performs for us that service we remain forever doomed to fail to do for ourselves, the work of forgetting.
The Soap Bubble: Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, c. 1739 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)
The Laundress: Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, c. 1735 (The Hermitage, St. Petersburg)