You think that your lives moves too fast? You should see ice melting in Iceland. It moves like it has a mind. Like it knows it put the world into stillness once and got a taste for slowing things down – even in melting. Do you see any friends running like chickens with no heads in their professional and private lives? Like you, I used to think the world was this great place for work with honest rewards for effort where everybody lived by the same standards I did. Then some kid with a nail showed me what real work is – staying in there in the wood and keeping things in place, doing nothing else. I thought i am in a toy store of wisdom when kids move your mind like no management guru can…
Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-street by Hermann Melville (1853)
I AM a rather elderly man. The nature of my avocations for the last thirty years has brought me into more than ordinary contact with what would seem an interesting and somewhat singular set of men, of whom as yet nothing that I know of has ever been written:—I mean the law-copyists or scriveners. I have known very many of them, professionally and privately, and if I pleased, could relate divers histories, at which good-natured gentlemen might smile, and sentimental souls might weep. But I waive the biographies of all other scriveners for a few passages in the life of Bartleby, who was a scrivener the strangest I ever saw or heard of. While of other law-copyists I might write the complete life, of Bartleby nothing of that sort can be done. I believe that no materials exist for a full and satisfactory biography of this man. It is an irreparable loss to literature. Bartleby was one of those beings of whom nothing is ascertainable, except from the original sources, and in his case those are very small. What my own astonished eyes saw of Bartleby, that is all I know of him, except, indeed, one vague report which will appear in the sequel.