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January 13th, 2004

on pensivity

Reading Roger Ebert's review of Solaris, I had come across one of his somewhat philosophical passages that I always enjoy reading in his movie reviews. Recalling it just now, it gave me a start.

Kelvin gets back not his dead wife, but a being who incorporates all he knows about his dead wife, and nothing else, and starts over from there. She has no secrets because he did not know her secrets. If she is suicidal, it is because he thought she was. The deep irony here is that all of our relationships in the real world are exactly like that [...]. We do not know the actual other person. What we know is the sum of everything we think we know about them. Even empathy is perhaps of no use; we think it helps us understand how other people feel, but maybe it only tells us how we would feel, if we were them.

I'm going to go eat lunch alone. I have a little thinking to do before I can resume work.

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