The Proust Questionnaire: My attempt

My attempt at the infamous ‘Proust Questionnaire’, as popularised in Vanity Fair. For those wishing to see further information, or to make their own attempt, the original can be found herebe found here. The funny thing about taking such Questionnaires, or any kind of personality test for that matter, is that you have the opportunity to learn about yourself whilst others learn about you. Having taken a relatively self-conscious thrust at the thing, I feel inclined to agree with this sentiment; at least on my own behalf anyway.


The Proust Questionnaire

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

The opportunity to make a living from that which you are passionate about; otherwise, vice versa.

What is your greatest fear?

Not living up to my true potential.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?


What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Cowardice, the emotional bedrock of all the other things I despise: bitterness, hatred and parochialism, to name a few.

Which living person do you most admire?

Somehow it always seems hard to admire—or at least to admit admiring—someone until they are dead and buried. But since I’m put me on the spot: Oe Kenzaburo.

What is your greatest extravagance?

My observance of fashion, of course.

What is your current state of mind?


What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

The quality of being ‘nice’, or any other vague truism.

On what occasion do you lie?

When I wish to spare the feelings of others, and therefore my own.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

My densely thatched eyebrows.

Which living person do you most despise?

Rodrigo Duterte. The epitome of a street thug and brigand.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Bravery. Intelligence.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Bravery. Intelligence. Elegance.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

‘Potentially’. ‘As such’. I’m working on it…

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Reading. The one thing which i could not do without.

Which talent would you most like to have?

The ability to multi task, or at least to do so well.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

To be more efficient.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

Supposing that such a thing is possible, and further, that one has some choice in the matter, then I should like to come back as more highly evolved version of myself; failing that, a fox.

Where would you most like to live?

I’m pleased to say that I already live in the place that I’d like to.

What is your most treasured possession?

My grandfather’s fountain pen.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Being deprived of that which gives ones life meaning. To have no purpose in life is awful; but to have purpose without realisation is true misery.

What is your favorite occupation?

Learning and writing: the twin pillars of what make me who I am. I also very much enjoy to travel.

What is your most marked characteristic?

I have often been described as argumentative, which I take as quite the compliment.

What do you most value in your friends?

A keen sense of humour, Loyalty, and broad mindedness.

Who are your favorite writers?

George Orwell. Cormac McCarthy. Vladimir Nabokov. J.M. Coetzee. Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

Who is your hero of fiction?

The ‘Invisible Man’, from Ralph Ellisons’ novel of the same title.

Who are your heroes in real life?

I don’t really have heroes, though some individuals whose lives I appreciate: George Orwell. Vaclav Havel. Romeo Dallaire.

What is it that you most dislike?

The use of noble principles as subterfuge for one’s own self-interest; deceitfulness.

What is your greatest regret?

Not having realised my true nature earlier.

How would you like to die?

Having done some service to humanity. Otherwise, in bed with a beautiful woman. If possible both.

What is your motto?

Question everything, only after you question yourself.

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