Behind The Walls of Self and Other

A vignette by Fred Leeds

There is a special room I know about, a place of inward experience. Its walls are not ordinary, and cannot be confirmed by report. They are made up of remembered autumn leaves, summer hopes, spring winds and wintry fears – all the subjective things and qualities that constitute each human being. Each of us has such a room. Mine may not be quite like yours, dear reader, but there are certain things they share, as both are human. The same special, more-than-literal sunbeams stream through their windows: a light called hope, the lamp of trust in one another, the moral anticipation which we call the future. These are not exactly things but ideas, the bits of woven light that come with our being human. They are like dreams, but higher: They light the inward rooms which make up the house of our shared nature.

When we enter here, the mind’s outer room, the lowly turf of our embattled differences, begins to vanish. We catch ourselves grasping at the straws of our alienation, stop to see ourselves as brothers and sisters. We glimpse ourselves in one another, humanity’s sheer, first light peeping behind the walls of self and other.

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