The Five One Review

I augment you

Can one be oneself, entirely oneself, in any place and at any time? And, importantly, with any person? We ask ourselves that question when we hesitate to open up to others, by fear of being judged, by fear of being tagged with an identity that would be truncated, even if it were flattering.

For each of us wants to be heard and accepted in all of our complexity, including even in our contradictions. But each of us knows, too, that many lack the patience for such a task: it is easier to label others than to truly engage with them.

Since we can only be understood by those who seek to understand us, and since, if we are honest, we often doubt of people’s goodheartedness, many are those who disclose only part of themselves to the world, wearing a mask not a face before those they pass and spend time with.

But this latest theme does not deal with all that. Instead, it looks at those moments of intimacy where each of us can disclose everything of ourselves, and at those who, through the openness of their hearts, allow such an exchange to take place. It is the friend who is open to all that comes from his close ones, the ebb as much as the flood, as the poet Khalil Gibran puts it. It is the host too, who, acting charitably, welcomes the traveller, knowing nothing of him.

Because those who listen and those who speak, hiding neither the shadow nor the light within themselves, in those all too rare moments of true sharing, have understood a universal truth that Antoine de Saint-Exupéry summed up thus: “If I differ from you, far from wronging you, I augment you.”

Olivier Holmey
Paris, 8 May 2017

Our selection of poems, songs and images for all five weeks of this theme is available by clicking on the tabs above or through the links below:

I. Week One
II. Week Two
III. Week Three
IV. Week Four
V. Week Five