Whenever we hear a cliché or buzzword our eyes start to glaze over. Clichés seem superficial and insincere, buzzwords are pretentious and temporarily trendy expressions. Marcel Proust couldn’t help but cringe at people who used cliché phrases. His sentiments are as relevant today as they were in his time, social media incessantly feeds us stock expressions, the media churns out shallow portrayals of life. We must disenthral our minds from the trite, conventional ways of expression and unravel ourselves from our habit of imitation — Proust thought art can help us to that. Art reminds us to try a little harder to be authentic, and helps us find a deeper, more genuine way of expressing ourselves.
“Our vanity, our passions, our spirit of imitation, our abstract intelligence, our habits have long been at work, and it is the task of art to undo this work of theirs, making us travel back in the direction from which we have come to the depths where what has really existed lies unknown within us.”
— Marcel Proust, Time Regained