"Our society erroneously believes that it encourages transgression, is at ease with a demented exploration of all taboos, sleeps soundly after consuming orgies of scandals, but shudders at the thought of someone setting personal boundaries."
“When a society falls apart, or is prolonged in lies, and the gentle idiots make their triumphal entry, the truth then speaks through the mouths of grown-up children, that of Don Quixote, of Candide, that of Simplicius Simplicissimus or the brave soldier Chvéik .”
― Claude Roy
The delightful mystery of classical literature is in what it represents that is most transgressive, disturbing, and unique, not its rigidity, conformance to the style or standards of the period, or in the brilliance of its language and prose. It only made it to our “Classics shelf” because it had an original element that no other work could emulate. The most marvelous pieces of theater or poetry which have reached us were once subject to banishment (some still are), their writers received threats of being thrown in jail, and it is not necessarily because they were obscene or vulgar, but because they wished to transmit the secrets of human nature. They wanted to show us an open secret. They described to us the weakness of naked bodies full of muscles, as well as the power of an innocent look. Against all hypocrites and liars, the authors we revere told us the truth, raw or beautified. The value of a masterpiece is then much more than in its timeless aesthetic value; it is in its ability to challenge morals and ideological superstition, and to reveal the unbearable, be it ugliness or beauty.
Our species heavily relies on transmission, and we would have never appreciated the sunlight without those who saw abysmal darkness. No matter how pretty a face might look, it can always sneer. But it is not enough to be aware of it; one must dare to say it, evoke it, draw it, write it; and for that, one must have the drive to transgress. A genius is only a genius because he can transgress the well-established rules of orthodoxy and expose us, subtly or not, to his way of seeing the world. The drive to disobey, to go a little further than the average person, to search for things no one thought of before, is the only drive that has made humankind the most illustrious.