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“One’s own best self. For centuries, this was the key concept behind any essential definition of friendship: that one’s friend is a virtuous being who speaks to the virtue in oneself. How foreign is such a concept to the children of the therapeutic culture! Today we do not look to see, much less affirm, our best selves in one another. To the contrary, it is the openness with which we admit to our emotional incapacities—the fear, the anger, the humiliation—that excites contemporary bonds of friendship. Nothing draws us closer to one another than the degree to which we face our deepest shame openly in one another’s company. Coleridge and Wordsworth dreaded such self-­exposure; we adore it. What we want is to feel known, warts and all; the more warts the better. It is the great illusion of our culture that what we confess to is who we are.” – Vivian Gornick; Letter from Greenwich Village; The Paris Review

https://www.theparisreview.org/letters-essays/6202/letter-from-greenwich-village-vivian-gornick

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