‘What is this terrible enthusiasm you have for ideas?’
‘What?’ My voice came out a croak, a papery rasp.
I should not have answered. But he didn’t speak how those men usually speak. We are all taught in the moots and gatherings that man expresses himself simply and uses humble words. He does not simper. He does not try and leave a trace in the air. But this man says enthusiasm, terrible enthusiasm. Such an ancient phrase! Words to drink like wine.
I heard the question coming out of my blistered mouth. I’d already lost; right then, with that first ploy, he had me in his grasp.
‘Ideas,’ he said, ‘are not things. They are what you have instead of things. Instead of the good solid wood of this table. Instead of the water I know you crave.’
(Kunzru, 2013, p. 33)