I’m struggling to find an electronic copy of the original source so I think I need an (increasingly rare) trip to the library to track down this beautiful text by Gabriel Marcel, cited here in Michael Murphy’s A Theology of Criticism:
It reminds me of how Roberto Unger describes the ‘small deaths’ which imperceptibly take place as we get older:
He faces the burdens of belittlement a third time as he grows older, and settles into an existence that he has embraced, or that has been forced upon him. A carapace of routine, of compromise, of silent surrenders, of half-term solutions, and of diminished consciousness begins to form around him. He turns himself over to the rigidified version of the self: the character. He begins to die small deaths, many times over. He fails to die only once, which is what he would desire if he were able fully to recognize the value of life. This third encounter with belittlement reveals belittlement for what it in fact is: death by installments.