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most people are other people

De meeste mensen zijn andere mensen - 1

De meeste mensen zijn andere mensen - 2

"De meeste mensen zijn andere mensen" - or in English: "Most people are other people" - on the former Heineken building in Rotterdam. It's a quote from the king of epigrams, Oscar Wilde (from 'De Profundis'):

It is tragic how few people ever 'possess their souls' before they die. 'Nothing is more rare in any man,' says Emerson, 'than an act of his own.' It is quite true. Most people are other people. Their thoughts are some one else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.

Interestingly, the meaning of 'other' seems to shift by isolating the sentence. Where Wilde meant that most people are not themselves, the phrase by itself also suggests that most people are different from you - providing an ironically irrefutable comment on today's xenophobic tendencies.

Also posted in my Words gallery.

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