man without qualities

“To get through open doors successfully, it is necessary to respect the fact that they have solid frames. This principle, by which the old professor had always lived, is simply a requisite of the sense of reality. However, if there is a sense of reality – and no one doubts its justification for existing – then there must also be something we might call a sense of possibility. Whoever has it, does not say, for example, this or that has happened, will happen, or must happen here; instead, they invent: this or that might, could, or ought to happen in this case. If they are told that something is the way it is, they think: Well, it could just as well be otherwise. Thus, the sense of possibility can be defined as the ability to conceive of everything there might be just as well and to attach no more importance to what is than to what is not.”

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