One of the distinctive features of social life is that most of the people we meet seem really quite normal. They often appear reasonably responsible and logical, harbour little self-hatred or…
For them, a person who seems normal is just someone they don’t yet know very well.
Our sense of isolation is never greater than when we run into the armies, widely distributed through society, of the closed-minded. Full of broadly benevolent intention, these types nevertheless keep a close eye on any signs of the more regrettable aspects of human nature and are ready to censor their appearance from the first. We learn to recognise their disapproval and to keep our shadow sides especially private in their vicinity – which protects our reputations, but increases our underlying sense of freakish isolation.
This gap between the knowledge we have of ourselves and the public evidence of the nature of others can end up feeling intensely bewildering and painful.