Monday, June 3, 2019


Very often the curse and blessing of life is our relationship with one another. It is an unfortunate contradiction because as frequently the same person is the object of devotion and evil. It naturally aids the poetry of the analysis to dismiss or overlook the multitude of other misfortunes which may regularly attend our lives - like disease, accident and financial distress - but unquestionably the human component has greater inertia and volatility.  The collateral features of damnation and denunciation afford a singularly toxic submersion from which none but the most generous or intellectual are likely to extricate themselves unharmed.

It is no inductive leap to observe that when the excommunication arises we collide with those to whom we are closest. Broader, less personal outrages are normally reserved for persons with whom we are not directly associated. Invariably those peripheral execrations are without self-punishment, being merely expressions of loathing for what is esteemed or characterized as other than appropriate behaviour (such as political or commercial articulations). Ironically the conflagration of intimate relationships provokes a deep emotional state of melancholic longing peculiar to the absence of a loved one (what is called "saudade").  It is accompanied by a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never return - "those sonorous fruits grown from overripe hearts".

Notwithstanding the resulting nostalgia and yearning arising from personal conflict, most of us persist in maintaining the initial anathema - at least for a time.  It is for this reason that the elevated trait of magnanimity is so sparse in these circumstances. Anger and benevolence have seldom existed side-by-side. Two factors operate against this polarity: one, hatred is poisoning one's own food; and, two, argument is decidedly lower-class.  I say that without social equivalency; rather as a denotation of that which is beneath any high-minded person. In fact, civility is not unlike common sense - namely, there is nothing common about it at all, at any level of society, rich or poor, educated or not, young or old, man or woman. Just as alcoholism knows no bounds, so too the privilege of rising above personal disagreement is manifestly individual.

If you're set on preserving a distance there is always the convenient perception that succumbing to the avoidance of abhorrence is itself an imprecation. Unfortunately what underlies much of that proscription is not morality but bloodymindedness. To pretend to stand on ceremony of this nature is customarily a complete waste of time and energy. Granted, there may exist patent exceptions in the realm of international diplomacy and other multi-lateral schemes; but within the context of intimate relationships the distinction is usually wanting, barring egregious and unforgivable sins.

As deep-seated and spirited as charity must be, it nonetheless admits to an ingredient of pragmatism. Just as the mind-body dichotomy is forever entwined, so too the disparity between aversion and forgiveness is likewise a mixed blend. On the purely logical scale the extrapolation is that we are ultimately compelled to unite the forces of regret and resolve. This head-to-head battering is never easy to overcome. For those who have the savoir-faire to remove themselves from needless particularity, their confidence is inevitably and unwittingly rewarded with evaporation of contaminants. Aside from the fact that elevated conduct is becoming, there remains the very real possibility that "no one cares, no one's listening".  Harsh though that may be, it is shallow to assume that we'll capture more attention - if that is all we seek - by preoccupation with our own sense of personal slight. Similarly the unexpressed compliment for cautious conduct governed by cerebral motives is a much preferred ambition.

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