They constantly try to escape From the darkness outside and within
By dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good.
But the man that is shall shadow The man that pretends to be.
T. S. Eliot, The Rock (1934)
Your burden is not to clear your conscience But to learn how to bear the burdens on your conscience.
We die to each other daily. What we know of other people Is only our memory of the moments
During which we knew them. And they have changed since then.
To pretend that they and we are the same Is a useful and convenient social convention Which must sometimes broken.
We must also remember That at every meeting we are meeting a stranger.
What is hell? Hell is oneself. Hell is alone, the other figures in it Merely projections.
There is nothing to escape from And nothing to escape to. One is always alone.
Half the harm that is done in this world Is due to people who want to feel important.
They don't mean to do harm — but the harm does not interest them.
Or they do not see it, or they justify it Because they are absorbed in the endless struggle To think well of themselves.
It is very often that my patients Are only pieces of a total situation Which I have to explore.
The single patient Who is ill all by himself, is rather the exception.
I should really like to think there's something wrong with me — Because, if there isn't then there's something wrong,
Or at least, very different from what it seemed to be, With the world itself — and that's much more frightening!
That would be terrible.
If we all were judged according to the consequences Of all our words and deeds,
beyond the intention And beyond our limited understanding Of ourselves and others,
we should all be condemned.
Everyone's alone — or so it seems to me.
They make noises, and think they are talking to each other;
They make faces, and think they understand each other.
And I'm sure they don't. Is that a delusion?
Can we only love Something created in our own imaginations? Are we all in fact unloving and unloveable?
Then one is alone, and if one is alone Then lover and beloved are equally unreal
And the dreamer is no more real than his dreams.
Two people who know they do not understand each other, Breeding children whom they do not understand
And who will never understand them.
The Cocktail Party (1949) - by T. S. Eliot