It Is Difficult, After Knowing Opium, To Take Earth Seriously

Jean Cocteau? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The prominent French artist Jean Cocteau crafted the most insightful remark about addiction that I have ever read. Some drugs permanently shift one’s perception of pleasure and purpose in the world. Would you please help me to find Cocteau’s comment about the difficulty of taking the world seriously after using opium?

Quote Investigator: Jean Cocteau’s work “Opium: The Diary of a Cure” was based on a set of notes he wrote in 1929 with significant additions made in 1930. A translation from the French to English by Margaret Crosland and Sinclair Road appeared in 1957. Cocteau wrote the following about opium’s power, Boldface added to excerpt by QI: 1

It is difficult to live without opium after having known it because it is difficult, after knowing opium, to take earth seriously. And unless one is a saint, it is difficult to live without taking earth seriously.

Image Notes: Picture of a field of poppies from Schwoaze at Pixabay. Image has been cropped and resized.

(Great thanks to the anonymous person whose inquiry led QI to formulate this question and perform this exploration.)

Notes:

  1. 1957, Opium: The Diary of a Cure by Jean Cocteau, Translated from the French by Margaret Crosland and Sinclair Road, Quote Page 93, Peter Owen Limited, London. (Verified with hardcopy)