About the writer Katherine Mansfield: "She was like a lantern with many windows - not octagonal, but centagonal. Each friend had his or her window and Katherine gave generously, gave all to each one, of her light, through that window. That was why so many people thought they were, not just one of her friends, but her only friend. She did not give the lantern (Me, the writer of this post, as Katherine herself, believe there was no such unifying lantern) and no one could touch the flame - and if anything came too close she would withdraw or close the leaves".
Extract from the modernist Katherine Mansfield's "The Dove's House": The main character, about his little son: "a queer thing is I can´t connect him with my wife and myself - I've never accepted him as ours. Each time when I come into the hall and see the preambulator I catch myself thinking: H'm, someone has brought a baby!" And later on: "if the impermanent selves of my wife and me are happy - tant mieux pour nous (...) But I don´t know, I don´t know. And it may be that it's something entirely individual in me -this sensation (yes, it is even a sensation) of how extraordinarily shell-like we are as we are - little creatures, peering out of the sentry-box at the gate, ogling through our glass case at the entry, wan little servants, who never can say for certain, even, if the master is out or in (...)".
Katherine Mansfield herself: "Coleridge on Hamlet. "He plays that subtle trick of pretending to act when he is very near being what he acts"... So do we all begin by acting and the nearer we are to what we would be the more perfect our desguise. Finally here comes the moment when we are no longer acting; it may even catch us by surprise. We may look in amazement at our no longer borrowed plumage. The two have merged; that which we put on has joined that which was; acting has become action. The soul has accepted this livery for its own after a time of trying on and approving (...) And the Hamlet is lonely. The solitary person always acts".
And then you've got the anthropologist René Girard, who bases his whole theory on the idea that Humanity desperately NEEDS identity, and has an innate fear of indiferentiation (aka lack of a well differenced personal identity), giving totally crazy examples like the fear of twins in many cultures. People saw them as a subconscious menace to DIFFERENCE, and so a personification of chaos (they apparently used to sacrifice them). Chaos leading to violence. So lack of identity, or indifference, leads to violence in human societies. A socio with no identity is a potential danger. A normal person with no identity is a potential danger. The problem is that we do find trouble in defending the SELF nowadays. Hard work if you really have some sincere insight. Tell it to Nietzche and all the others forerunners of the unexisting reliable self.
Simone Weil also said: "I see the world as if I were not in it." this type of distance supreme and contemplation, which is in the antipodes of indifference, perhaps looking at the infinite and original world and man's purity and of which we have grown wary? This is an effort to free the world from the opaqueness of our presence, of that barrier between the object and a clean, truthful eye.
And then you've got that in modern writers:
From Katherine Mansfield:
"... a self which is continuous and permanent; which... thrusts a scaled bud through years of darkness until, one day, the light discovers it and shakes the flower free and - we are alive- we are flowering for our moment upon the earth. This is the moment which, after all, we live for - the moment of direct feeling when we are most ourself and least personal".
I could go on and on... We are playing on the league of the great thinkers of last century as well as our own. I'm sick of it. I wish I had been born an uber-empath in some hidden village of France five hundred years ago. A cow to milk, a husband to love and an early dead.
Or I wish I was a little less pretty: less power, less thrill for life, a boring, early, happy marriage, and (fingers crossed) and EARLY DEAD.