De l’égocentrisme et du rôle de l’écrivain

One of the more benignly overlooked truths of human interaction is that none of us believe in the reality of other people’s inner lives with quite the same egocentric fervor that we believe in our own. Sociopaths are diagnosed as harboring an impenetrable callousness toward other people’s suffering, but in truth most of us fall short when it comes to imagining our way into someone else’s psyche. Unfortunate as it may be, this insufficiency is not really to be wondered at. We begin as infants saddled with imperial selves that are focused on our next feeding, and although we are relentlessly socialized into granting Tommy’s right to his own shovel or Suzie’s wish to take her turn down the slide, the sheer amount of energy required to grapple with the clamorous sovereignty of other people demands more of an empathis response than many of us can muster. For better or for worse, then, it falls to writers to give us a sense of what it feels to inhabit a stranger’s skin.

(Introduction d’un article de Daphne Merkin, « The other other woman »)

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