Monday, June 16, 2008

A Little Civilization

From Marilynne Robinson's Gilead, which I read (and liked quite a bit) a few weeks ago:
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 our 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 likeness, 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 just allows us to coexist with the inviolable, untraversable, and utterly vast spaces between us.


Julia said...

Wait! Psychic twins forever! That is the exact quote from Gilead that I saved in my "quotes I like from books I've read" file in googledocs! Much love for Robinson, who Mike R at Iowa confirms is amazing. And for you!

Bonhomie Page said...