I’m interested to see how literature helps us understand more closely our personal experiences. I’m thinking we can consider reading and writing as a sort of healing which can help us with our conceptions of the world around us, either inviting us to feel we are understood or that we can perhaps see something a bit differently.
There was no answer, except life’s usual answer to the most complex and insoluble questions. The answer is: live from day to day; in other words, forget. But as he could not find forgetfulness in sleep, at least not until bed-time, nor return to the music sung by the little decanter-women, he must therefore lose himself in the dream of life.”— p.16 Anna Karenina, Tolstoy
Tolstoy asks us to consider how we manage to integrate un-integrateable aspects of our lives into our lives. His answer is to lose ourselves in the dream of life. This is a beautiful way to talk about the dailyness of life which we participate in even as we must encounter difficult encounters. I love how Tolstoy lets us see the decision by the character to enter into the dream of life as opposed to drifting into his real dreams.
Each believed that the life he himself led was the only real life and the life led by his friend was nothing but an illusion.
p.30 Anna Karenin
Tolstoy hits at a familiar strain of feeling in close relationships where one person can struggle to understand the other’s choices. Using the words real versus illusion, he makes a sharp distinction between what is understandable as the one who experiences something in comparison with someone outside of the experience. Particularly, it strikes me to think about how at times we have close relationships where it is even more difficult to comprehend the other’s decisions. Sometimes we begin to self-identify with the other, as opposed to seeing their decisions as their own. Tolstoy allows us to consider the narrow line between intimacy and self-identification.