I loved this observation in Kundera’ s The Joke which I’ve just reread (and as often happens, found so much more in it that I did twenty years ago):
“At the time I felt nothing but hatred for him, and hatred shines too bright a light on things, depriving them of relief. I saw him merely as a vindictive, wily rat. Now I see him as above all a young man playing a role. The young can’t help playacting; themselves incomplete, they are thrust by life into a completed world where they are compelled to act fully grown. They therefore adopt forms, patterns, models – those that are in fashion that suit, that please – and enact them.”
I wonder, though, if we ever stop playacting?
The Joke, tr Aaron Asher (Faber and Faber, 1992) p. 87