“One of my constant preoccupations is trying to understand how it is that other people exist, how it is that there are souls other than mine and consciousness not my own, which, because it is consciousness, seems to me unique. I understand perfectly that the man before me uttering words similar to mine and making the same gestures I make, or could make, is in some way my fellow creature. However, I feel just the same about the people in illustrations I dream up, about the characters I see in novels or the dramatis personae on the stage who speak through the actors representing them.
I suppose no one truly admits the existence of another person. One might concede that the other person is alive and feels and thinks like oneself, but there will always be an element of difference, a perceptible discrepancy, that one cannot quite put one’s finger on. There are figures from times past, fantasy-images in books that seem more real to us than these specimens of indifference-made-flesh who speak to us across the counters of bars, or catch our eye in the trams, or brush past us in the empty randomness of the streets. The others are just part of the landscape for us, usually the invisible landscape of a familiar street.”
from The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa. I’m only about a quarter of the way through but wow do I love this book already.