This is from a wonderful novel by Marilynne Robinson called ‘Gilead’ which I’m currently reading:

…in every important way we are such secrets from each other, and I do believe that there is a separate language in each of us, also a separate aesthetics and a separate jurisprudence. Every single one of us is a little civilization built on the ruins of any number of preceding civilizations, but with it’s own variant notions of what is beautiful and what is acceptable – which, I hasten to add, we generally do not satisfy and by which we struggle to live.
We take fortuitous resemblances among us to be actual likenesses, because those around us have also fallen heir to the same customs, trade in the same coin, acknowledge, more or less, the same notions of decency and sanity.
But all that really allows us to coexist with the inviolable, untraversable, utterly vast spaces between us.

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10 Responses to Gilead

  1. What a wonderful quote. I’ll be adding it to my “collected quotes”.

    Great photos from your trip – I love Pickles πŸ™‚

    And I am also back from a trip – – –

  2. That’s one of my favorite books. Nearly every page has something transcendent.

  3. truce says:

    archie – glad you’re back, I’ll be over shortly to catch up πŸ™‚

    David – it’s one of the few books since I was a student that have made me feel I wanted to go back over and re-read each paragraph, every page, and really to think about what I’m reading.

  4. modestypress says:

    I haven’t read it. I will add it to the list of books I will read. So there, David and truce, you have done your duty.

  5. truce says:

    I really think you’ll enjoy it, Mr Random.

  6. truce says:

    yes, it’s a wonderful photo and poem, Archie. I love Aussie magpies.

  7. Jenny says:

    I wish I could express myself like that. It’s like exactly what I was thinking, but couldn’t put into words!

    By they way — your niece has GOT to be the CUTEST little thing on the planet. I wish I could reach through the computer and squish her!

  8. truce says:

    I know, I quite often find myself jumping up and down and pointing at books shouting “Yes, yes, that’s EXACTLY what I wanted to say!”. So then I make a note and transcribe it here πŸ™‚

    Yup, my niece is very squishy and happy to be squished. I wish I could reach through the computer and squish her, too (note to all techie geeks out there, we’re only really going to get interested in technology when it can achieve useful aims like remote squishing of small people).


  9. piereth says:

    I loved this; it’s speaking to me in a number of ways currently.

    We want empathy so badly; as humans we want to breach the gulf of space between us and the ones we want to love. I think we forget that empathy doesn’t equal love; in fact, it can be its antithesis; humans can understand each other and dislike each other too. It seems to me, then, that oftentimes we want the wrong things…

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