[Commonplace books: Thomas Farnaby, 17th-century]
Our public conception of an individual person, for example, is ‘the man in the street’. But nobody feels himself to be only the man in the street; we all know much more about ourselves than that. The man in the street is a collective image, but we know, all the time, our own difference from him. It is the same with ‘the public’, which includes us, but yet is not us. ‘Masses’ is a little more complicated, yet similar. I do not think of my relatives, friends, neighbours, colleagues, acquaintances, as masses; we none of us can or do. The masses are always the others, whom we don’t know, and can’t know. Yet now, in our kind of society, we see these others regularly, in their myriad variations; stand, physically, beside them. They are here, and we are here with them. And that we are with them is of course the whole point. To other people, we also are masses. Masses are other people.
Posted by rp on 08.25.2009
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