My eyes feel all soft, all soft as flesh. I’m going to sleep.

What did Jean-Paul Sartre mean by:

My eyes feel all soft, all soft as flesh. I’m going to sleep.


This quote, "My eyes feel all soft, all soft as flesh. I’m going to sleep," is a vivid depiction of physical sensation and the surrender to natural processes, such as sleep. The speaker is describing a state of extreme fatigue, where their eyes, typically associated with hardness due to the presence of the cornea, feel as soft as flesh. This could be interpreted as a metaphor for vulnerability and openness, as the eyes are often considered the windows to the soul.

The comparison of eyes to flesh is particularly striking since it emphasizes the speaker’s humanity and mortality. It serves as a reminder that even the parts of us that seem invincible or unyielding are, in fact, fragile and susceptible to weariness.

Sleep, in this context, could represent a temporary escape from the harsh realities of life, a reprieve from the existential angst that Sartre often explores in his work. It could also symbolize acceptance of our limitations as human beings, acknowledging the need for rest and rejuvenation.

Applying this quote to today’s world or personal development, it encourages us to embrace our humanity, with all its frailties and limitations. In an age where we are often expected to be constantly productive and always ‘on’, this quote is a reminder of the importance of rest and self-care.

It also encourages us to be more in tune with our physical sensations and to listen to what our bodies are telling us. This could be seen as a call for mindfulness, a practice that has gained much attention in recent years for its benefits in managing stress and improving mental health.

Moreover, the idea of our eyes feeling ‘soft as flesh’ could be interpreted as a call to view the world with empathy and compassion, to allow ourselves to be affected by what we see, to let it touch us deeply, rather than maintaining a hard, detached gaze.

In the realm of personal development, this could be a reminder to cultivate emotional resilience, which involves not just toughness, but also the ability to be soft, open, and vulnerable. It’s about recognizing our needs, including the need for rest and renewal, and giving ourselves permission to meet those needs without guilt or self-judgment.

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