There are three sorts of people: those who are openly humiliated, those who are secretly humiliated, and those who somehow lack the capacity for humiliation — in order of increasing danger to themselves and others.
The successful poet is one who possesses the capacity not to write good poems, but rather to cheerfully endure all the bad ones produced by his or her contemporaries. Talent is neither an obstacle nor a prerequisite.
Arrogance is the product not of talent or success, but rather cosmic near-sightedness, a failure to comprehend the terrifying enormity of things. An arrogant adult is one who, intimidated by his peers, prefers the company of those who lack his natural advantages. He’s the unwitting author and protagonist of an unbearable tragicomedy.
On the first day of his long weekend at the casinos, Jones wagered and lost half his savings. On the second day, he wagered and lost half the remaining total. On the third day, he wagered and lost half of that, again.
Despite the poor results, Jones remained unconcerned. “How can you seem so happy?” his friend asked. “You lost almost 90% of all your money.”
“It’s Zeno’s Paradox,” replied Jones. “As long as I wager only half my savings, I can never lose the whole sum. I’m able to gamble forever without consequence!”
Unfortunately for Jones, his wife was familiar with this dichotomy, as well. When Jones walked through the door, she murdered him halfway. Then she murdered him halfway, again. Then again and again and again. She continued in this fashion for some time, until Jones was merely a lump on the ground.
At her trial, the prosecution called for an actual murder conviction, but it was difficult because Jones remained alive, if just barely. After that, I forget what happened, as a new project at work required more of my attention.
No pleasure is more readily available than the sort facilitated by righteous indignation. Unfortunately, it’s a pleasure founded entirely on hubris. To claim that one is the victim of mistreatment, is also to claim implicitly that one understands the rules of the game — which rules the universe isn’t so naive as to have revealed.
“For me, the act of writing has always been a matter not of choice but necessity.” That’s a sentiment you hear from a number of authors, and little reason exists to doubt their conviction on the matter. Suspiciously, however, they omit to mention whether reading their work is a necessity, as well.
“You must think you’re pretty special” my mother used to say — and perhaps I did… then. Now? Now the precise opposite is true. Every thought that occupies my head represents only a disgusting new exercise in banality. And, to compound the damage, I attempt to cultivate new thoughts, anyway.