Marginalia, no.118

The trick of survival was to accomplish something of no utility, and so small as to be inconspicuous.

~ Thomas Berger, Vital Parts

Berger’s Reinhart is thinking here of the barely perceptible bumps and dents he left in the family home as a child and which are still there years later when everything has been repainted and refurbished.  We find it easy to list off our significant influences: parents, teachers, mentors, artists, religious figures and philosophers.  But we must also bear the marks of innumerable lesser – even momentary – encounters, long forgotten, of equal or greater importance.  Like figures from a polaroid that’s fallen in the water, we bleed into each other.  The knocks and nicks and scrapes we carry are as difficult to account for as the final conundrum of our self.  Those we give unknowingly to others make up a shadow memorial of our life.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Marginalia, no.118

  1. Gaw

    Fascinating idea (and beautifully elaborated).

    Robert Winston, a doctor who’s expert on children over here in the UK, made a series on childhood a few year’s ago from which I learnt that one’s peers during the formative years are the biggest influence on the formation of one’s behavioural norms – more so than parents.

    This made me wonder at how my present day interactions were largely formed through interaction with a group of rural village children whose names and faces I’ve mostly forgotten.

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