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Strangers to Ourselves by Kristeva Julia

By Kristeva Julia

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If I tried -out of boldness, through luck, or in distress-to share with them some of the violence that causes me to be so totally on my Toccata and Fugue far the Foreigner 23 own, they would not know where I am, who I am, what it is, in others, that rubs me the wrong way. I am henceforth foreign to them. They arc my children who do not follow me, sometimes admiring, sometimes fearful, but already bruised, reconciled to being alone in their turn, and doomed not to understand. I must come to terms with it and, with that unassuaged sense of hunger in the body, after having spoken to them, must accept the idea that our "we" is a stirring mirage to be maintained at the heart of disarray, although illusive and lacking real strength.

Other than that, there are of course paternalists, paranoid and perverse people, who each have the foreigner of their choice, to the extent that they would invent him if he did not exist. Paternalists : how they understand us, how they commiserate, how they appreciate our talents, provided they can show that they have "more" - more pain, more knowledge, more power, including that of helping us to survive . . Paranoid persons: no one is more excluded than they are and, in order to demonstrate that fact, they choose as backdrop to their delirium a basic outcast, the ordinary foreigner, who will be the chosen confidant of the persecutions they themselves suffer even more than he does- until they "discover" in this foreigner in the proper sense of the term a usurper and one of the causes of their misfortune, for if the world does not understand them it is precisely because "foreigners now monopolize public opinion's concern" .

What did it matter if Marie offered her lips to a new Meursault ? Murder appears as the ultimate carrying out of that tension without decision, neither choice nor value, that words kept brushing against without managing to eject it. Putting to death instead of putting a mere nothing into words, an other walled in within myself like a mere nothing. Murder, like words, will then be indifferent and, more than words, insignificant. As in psychotherapy, his anger at the father-confessor alone reveals to Meursault what he finally accepts as his psychic iden­ tity : "For the first time I opened up my being to the world's tender indifference.

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