05 April 2015

We have given up on trying to meet others; we just meet ourselves

Muriel Barbery. The elegance of the hedgehog. Paris: Editions Gallimard, 2006.

Pages 140 – 141:
This is the first time I have met someone who seeks out people and who sees beyond. That may seem trivial but I think it is profound all the same. We never look beyond our assumptions and, what's worse, we have given up trying to meet others; we just meet ourselves. We don't recognise each other because other people have become our permanent mirros. If we actually realized this, if we were to become aware of the fact that we are only ever looking at ourselves in the other person, that we are alone in the wilderness, we would go crazy. When my mother offers macaroons from Ladurée to Madame de Broglie, she is telling herself her own life story and just nibbling at her own flavour; when Papa drinks his coffee and reads his paper, he is comtemplating his own reflection in the mirror, as if practising the Coué method or something; when Colombe talks about Marian's lectures, she is ranting about her own relfection; and when people walk by the concierge, all they see is a void, because she is not from their world. [my emphasis]

As for me, I implore fate to give me the chance to see beyond myself and truly meet someone.
Got around to finishing The Elegance of the Hedgehog—which I received last December as a Christmas gift—this Holy Week. The book is a full home you can live in but that passage is a room washed in sunlight.

I have never thought of knowing another that way.

PS: I lost it on page 306.

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