the ‘in here’ and the ‘out there’

Siri Hustvedt in The Believer book of Writers talking to Writers (in gesprek met Thisbe Nissen):

‘I've always felt the gap between words and things, the impossibility of articulating what's really out there in the world, the strangeness of naming everything, including the self, how completely arbitrary it all is, and yet, at the same time, how it determines identities. The theoretical or philosophical bottom line? It was then and is now the dialectical relationship between self and other and the often fragile threshold between them. (...)

Perception is determined by language to a large degree, but our perceptions aren't the same as the Real—the stuff of the world out there. I think in my work, I've always wanted the sense that both underneath and beyond our perceptions, our feelings, our thoughts is the unknowable. George Makari, a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and medical historian, described Freud's idea of consciousness beautifully in his essay “In the Eye of the Beholder: Helmholtzian Perception and the Origins of Freud's 1900 Theory of Transference”: ‘For Freud consciousness was surrounded; it was a feeble, faulty lamp stranded between the unconscious and the darkness of outer reality.’ (Makari began his life as a poet.) This articulates precisely my sense of living in the world. For me writing is an activity that allows me to push at both dark sides—the in here and the out there.’


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