While reading my current book, The Best American Travel Writing 2009, I came across this passage and had to immediately stop. I’ve tried explaining it to other people, but can’t really do it justice. It is from the essay “Intimacy” by Andre Aciman, which was published in The American Scholar. Truth be told, I didn’t really care for the essay as a whole, but this one conclusion was worth the work in getting there:
“We seldom ever see, or read, or love things as they in themselves really are, nor, for that matter, do we even know our impressions of them as they really are…What we reach for and what ultimately touches us is the radiance we’ve projected on things, not the things themselves — the envelope, not the letter, the wrapping, not the gift…We radiate films of what we have within us and project them on everything we see — which is how we become aware of the world, and ultimately, why we come to love it. Without these films, these fictions, which are both our alibis and the archive of our innermost life, we have no way to connect to or touch anything.”
How’s that for some heavy Monday thinking?