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The Self One Has Sewn Together

My friend Dasephix shared this quote with me recently.  I found it an absolutely stunning description of how I feel most of the time, particularly the part: the realization “that the self one has sewn together with such effort is all dirty rags, is unusable, is gone: and out of what raw material will one build a self again?”  Thanks, Dasephix, for the quote.  I’m sharing it, because if it meant something to me, it may mean something to you, my dear reader.

From James Baldwin’s The Price of the Ticket.

It has always been much easier (because it has always seemed much safer) to give a name to the evil without than to locate the terror within.  And yet, the terror within is far truer and far more powerful than any of our labels: the labels change, the terror is constant.  And this terror has something to do with that irreducible gap between the self one invents—the self one takes oneself as being, which is, however, and by definition, a provisional self—and the undiscoverable self which always has the power to blow the provisional self to bits.  It is perfectly possible—indeed, it is far from uncommon—to go to bed one night, or wake up one morning, or simply walk through a door one has known all one’s life, and discover, between inhaling and exhaling, that the self one has sewn together with such effort is all dirty rags, is unusable, is gone: and out of what raw material will one build a self again?  The lives of men—and, therefore, of nations—to an extent literally unimaginable, depend on how vividly this question lives in the mind.  It is a question which can paralyze the mind, of course; but if the question does NOT live in the mind, then one is simply condemned to eternal youth, which is a synonym for corruption.

Wow, huh?

[Post image: Denim by aliciaecm on stock.xchng]

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