Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Isabella Rossellini and the Self

In the continuing saga of recurring themes popping up around me, I bring you the Self. It started when I read an article in - do I have to say the New Yorker or will you have guessed already? - about solitary confinement and its horrible impact on mental health. However much we like ourselves, we can have too much of us, which is one reason alone time for writing is such a mixed blessing.

See what I did there? I mentioned the horrific mental destruction wrought by people on other people, and related it directly back to my own superficial needs. For such socially-dependent beings, humans go back instinctively to the self an awful lot of the time. Last night I had a chance to hear Isabella Rossellini talk about her life, which was wonderful (her talk I mean, though her life seems to have been very rich and wonderful in its own way) and several times she reminded me of this very thing.

She told us that during her contract with Lancome, her daughter believed for a time that everybody's mother's picture was on giant posters everywhere you went so that if you got lost, you could point and say That's my mom! Asked about her goals for life today she said admiringly that her children are very idealistic but that "As I get older... I just want to laugh!" And when another person in the audience asked what she would ask her mother if she were able to ask anything, she said she would ask how she coped when all of the children grew up and left home, because her own youngest child will be doing that soon.

The fact is we never stop needing things from others, which makes it very lucky that along with self-preservation we have instincts for empathy and compassion that allow us to give to others as well. I can only think that we should make a point of giving more, because giving is healthy and feeds our Selves. If the reverse is true, I can't see why we make our journeys into and out of life on our own.


Kathleen Taylor said...

wow- what a wonderful evening. Isabella Rosellini is an amazing person, not the least for that bug porn gig she's doing now.

Anonymous said...

Lovely, thoughtful post: I'm left musing on "why we make our journeys into and out of life on our own."