I am currently rereading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, as I tend to do about once every year or so.
[If you haven’t read it and you care to, be forewarned that plot ‘spoilers’ ensue.]
Tonight, listening to the audiobook – yes, I count it as reading, though I could argue against it in a way – while I rearranged and tidied my room, mostly folding laundry (one of my biggest struggles in daily life so far, laundry is), I was struck particularly in the section of Mr. Darcy’s proclamation of love and request of Elizabeth’s hand in marriage.
The whole reason things work out in the end is because, in going against all standards of propriety, Eliza speaks openly and honestly of her opinion of Mr. Darcy.
Sure, it is an opinion formed by false and inaccurate information, but these errors could never have been remedied had she not mentioned them so vehemently in their few minutes of true candor with one another – a few minutes which were quite irregular in society at the time.
And then, I thought, a few minutes which are quite irregular in society here, now…
How might things be so drastically different, if we were open and honest with one another as they were in that brief interview?
Would more problems be caused, or would more be solved?
Perhaps, at first, more problems would arise than we would feel we could handle…, but then, with practice, I think we would learn how to live differently, communicate differently, such that an unbelievably high number of problems would be resolved by the new way of interacting with one another with true yet kind candor.
It isn’t that everyone would be running around, insulting everyone else all the time… merely that, when asked, we would speak honestly of our opinions and our thoughts on matters.
Knowing that people would be honest, perhaps some questions would not be asked…, but, knowing that honesty would be given, perhaps more questions would be asked, the asker knowing that no offense need be taken from the answer – it would not be contrived, but merely honest.
It reminds me, too, of how, in the Bis(s) zum book series (a beloved German read of mine), the one group of individuals suddenly obtain the ability (?) to hear one another’s thoughts collectively, always – they cannot avoid sharing a thought, nor avoid hearing a thought of another in the group.
One’s pain is, in a way, experienced by all, and the same with joy and anger and any other experience, as they all hear one another’s thoughts, almost as though the thoughts are their own.
They all care for one another and support one another, and the exposure of the deepest and darkest and most embarrassing of thoughts of any one member, at some point or other, must be accepted by the others, if they are to remain together in life – so long as they live, they will know the thoughts of one another, all of the thoughts.
And they, despite learning these dark and embarrassing thoughts of one another, and of unwillingly exposing their own, eventually draw even closer to one another, their bonds made even deeper by the shared thoughts…
And I find that lovely.
How might the world be different, if we learned to share like this with our loved ones in life… and to love one another knowing these thoughts of one another…?
If we dropped our pride and our prejudice, and listened to the innermost thoughts and fears and wishes and concerns of those around us, and shared our own in return, would we suddenly be able to love more deeply than we had ever imagined possible, live more profoundly than ever we dreamed?
Anyway…, some food for thought, I guess you could say.
(Though I kind of just want some actual food right now…)