“Are we to hang our hearts on such little things?”

“Tables and chairs, beds, mirrors, a clock to remind the happy couple of the passage of time, an armchair for an hour’s pleasant daydreaming, carpets to help the housewife keep the floors clean, linen tied with pretty ribbons in the cupboard and dresses of the latest fashion and hats with artificial flowers, pictures on the wall, glasses for everyday and others for wine and festive occasions, plates and dishes, a small larder in case we are suddenly attacked by hunger or a guest, and an enormous bunch of keys–which must make a rattling noise. And there will be so much to enjoy, the books and the sewing table and the cosy lamp, and everything must be kept in good order or else the housewife, who has divided her heart into little bits, one for each piece of furniture, will begin to fret. And this object must bear witness to the serious work that holds the household together, that object to a feeling for beauty, to dear friends one likes to remember, to cities one has visited, to hours one wants to recall. And all this, a small world of happiness, of silent friends and proofs of lofty human values, is as yet only in the future; not even the foundation of the house has been laid, there is nothing but two poor human creatures who love one another to distraction. Are we to hang our hearts on such little things? Yes, and without hesitation.”

– Sigmund Freud, in a letter to his fiancé Martha reflecting on their relative poverty (as recently and selectively quoted in a provocative but partial article on IKEA by Lauren Collins in the October 3, 2011 issue of The New Yorker, and earlier and more completely by Betty Friedan, to different ends, in The Feminine Mystique.)

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