The protagonists of the drama 'Huis clos' are condemned to sleeplessness and incessant criticism by others. They find this situation painful and surprising. As every one of us, they believe that the ultimate truth about ourselves must be private, subjective and accessible only to our own conscience and memory. When suddenly they are judged by others, they feel mortified, and do not even care if the judgment is harsh or lenient. It must be so, because the world is a meaningful and hospitable place to us only if it is a world of our own dreams, myths and fulfilled desires. If it is not, we feel alienated and rejected. This is why we make such high demands on others. We want them to act as mirrors of our lives and characters. We want to see our reflection in their eyes, but we cannot reconcile ourselves with negative opinions they may hold about us. Thus our existence depends on public acceptance, which is hard to win if all facts concerning our lives are made public. But without public acceptance we as well as cease to exist.
J. Gornicka, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Instytut Filozofii, ul. Krakowskie Przedmiescie 3, 00-047 Warszawa, Poland
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