"Besides, what good would it have done if I had spoken to Gilberte? She would not have heard me. We imagine always when we speak that it is our own ears, our own mind, that are listening. My words would have come to her only in distorted form, as though they had had to pass through the moving curtain of a waterfall before they reached my beloved, unrecognizable, sounding false and absurd, having no longer any kind of meaning. The truth which one puts into one's words does not carve out a direct path for itself, is not irresistibly self-evident."
Marcel Proust, Within a Budding Grove, p. 659
Here Proust is explaining why he did not talk to Gilberte and make it clear to her that he would no longer love her. Beyond the obvious fact that all proclamations like that are fraught with potential disaster, his point is that she could not have possibly heard him. "We imagine always when we speak that it is our own ears, our own mind, that are listening." Maybe another way to think about it is to consider the reason why others don't understand us is that we aren't even talking to them, we're only talking to ourselves. This would definitely continue the theme of the previous pages on the self-possession and self-absorption of love. Proust had proposed that what one found attractive about the beloved was the reflection of their own interests. Sometimes when we're discussing objectivization in class I will saying something like, "OK, how many times in your life will you not be making love with another person but instead simply using them as a masturbatorial tool?" While some students will respond with a look somewhere between stunned and mystified, others will, doubtlessly inadvertently, reveal a knowing, sad, maybe even guilty, expression. The point is how much of the time, even the most intimate moments, we spend entirely alone, unable or unwilling to know others.
"For regret, like desire, seeks not to analyse but to gratify itself. When one begins to love, one spends one's time, not in getting to know what one's love really is, but in arranging for to-morrow's rendezvous. When one renounces love one seeks not to know one's grief but to offer to her who is its cause the expression of it which seems to one the most moving. One says the things which one feels the needs to say, and which the other will not understand: one speaks for oneself alone."
Marcel Proust, Within a Budding Grove, pp. 660-661