Braided Conversations: The Labyrinth of Solitude

By Danié Gómez-Ortigoza

September 25, 2020

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“The Labyrinth of Solitude,” a beautifully written and deeply felt discourse on Mexico’s quest for identity that gives us an unequalled look at the country hidden behind “the mask.”

We build perceptions on the identity of others through the stories that we hear or read about them. There is so much to be told about Latin American identity, and I want to take the opportunity of September being Hispanic Heritage month to share with you some of the authors that I go to when it comes to understanding my own identity as a Mexican-American, and as part of what I recently learned is called LatinX.

Let’s start this series with my favorite mexican author, Octavio Paz; a Nobel laureate who lived both worlds growing up in Mexico, and later moving to  Los Angeles. “The Labyrinth of Solitude,” is a beautifully written and deeply felt discourse on Mexico’s quest for identity that gives us an unequalled look at the country hidden behind “the mask.”

“Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition. Man is the only being who knows he is alone, and the only one who seeks out another. His nature – if that word can be used in reference to man, who has ‘invented’ himself by saying ‘no’ to nature – consists in his longing to realize himself in another. Man is nostalgia and a search for communion. Therefore, when he is aware of himself he is aware of his lack of another, that is, of his solitude.”