chapter  5
20 Pages


We learn to feel from the past. Where else? Or perhaps it would be better put to say that we learn to feel by entering one of the many stories society offers within which we can live our lives.

These are stories in the most literal sense. Your parents, your teachers, all those whose immediate task it is to bring up children tell us in our childhood dozens of stories about what to do, how to be good, how to succeed, how to live as this, that, or the other kind of grown-up when the time comes: as student, lover, parent, wife; as doctor, shopkeeper, farmer, scientist; as leader, solitary, matriarch, sportswoman, playboy, hero, neurotic. Each of us learns to live a medley of the lives open to us and to inflect each narrative in our own way in order to match it, so far as possible, to what seems to us to suit ourselves.