“Have you ever considered, beloved Other, how invisible we all are to each other? Have you ever thought about how little we know each other? We look at each other without seeing. We listen to each other and hear only a voice inside ourself.
The words of others are mistakes of our hearing, shipwrecks of our understanding. How confidently we believe in our meanings of other people’s words. We hear death in words they speak to express sensual bliss. We read sensuality and life in words they drop from their lips without the slightest intention of being profound.
The voice of brooks that you interpret, pure explicator … The voice of trees whose rustling means what we say it means … Ah, my unknown love, this is all just us and our fantasies, all ash, trickling down the bars of our cell!”—Fernando Pessoa, from The Book of Disquiet (Penguin Modern Classics, 2002)
“How I feel is that if I wanted anything I’d take it. That’s what I’ve always thought all my life. But it happens that I want you, and so I just haven’t room for any other desires.”—The Beautiful and Damned, F. Scott Fitzgerald
“And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
likeness, image of
I felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind.”—Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets