Cultural Osmosis

Roland Barthes, “An Interview with Jacques Chancel (Radioscopie),” Essays and Interviews Volume 5

I said that you can say this because we live in a cultural world where there’s a ‘superego’ — a pressure that makes us feel obliged to read certain books, so that we’d feel guilty if we hadn’t. I simply wanted to push back against that pressure and explain that we very often know books without having read them — there’s a sort of cultural osmosis that happens.

[See Umberto Eco.]

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