I went to Mitsuwa yesterday and bought a big carton of sake. I also ate at a Japanese restaurant in the same parking lot; I had sushi and green tea, a meal that both made me kind of sleepy and oddly pleased. There was a little Second Life in the evening, the highlight of which was conversation and Nareth demonstrating prowess with her new knife.
I'm only a few hours into to-day and I already feel like I've been shot in the gut. This is almost entirely due to seeing that someone I like, who's a better writer than me, is getting another story published that shall probably be a very good piece of work. Myself and the person in question used to get along pretty well, but now, for various reasons, she kind of thinks I'm scum. It's always kind of a bitter pill to swallow when you like someone who loses interest in you, and it's a bitterer pill when that loss of interest seems to morph into an active dislike. But I can't stop liking her, and I can't stop liking her writing, though I admit there's a puerile reflex in me to hate her.
I've often observed that when two people have a falling out, one of them magically seems to become a complete monster to the other. I've always seen this as sort of a grossly dishonest way of interacting with people, but it's only in recent years that I've come to understand it as a natural defense mechanism; if you respect someone who doesn't respect you, doesn't that mean you must at least lose some respect for yourself? I don't find it logical to hate myself any more or less than I did before things went sour with this person, and yet the reflex is there to hate her or myself. The fact that she's a better writer than me contributes to this, too--there's an Icarus thing here. I had the arrogance to aim for the sun, and I must consequently be burnt that badly. The sun is no less the sun just because it burnt me. It's still the great fire.
Now, some might say there's a fallacy in seeing some people as greater than others. There's a song by The Smiths called "Some Girls are Bigger than Others". I think a lot of people interpret the song as being about variations in physical weight of women, but it's only peripherally about that. There's a line; "As Antony said to Cleopatra, as he opened a crate of ale, 'Oh, I say, some girls are bigger than others.'" Sure, there's an element of subjectivity to it, but Cleopatra was great according to the subjective opinions of a whole lot of people. The most important subjective opinion to me, of course, is my own. Unless you're like Fred Madison in Lost Highway
, afraid of video cameras and constantly re-editing your memories, the hazard in liking other people is in meeting the imperfections of yourself.
This is rather a difficult thing when you're unable to turn into another person. Most of us sense there's probably not an afterlife, and we're stuck with our individual bodies and psychologies, and one can only go so far with self-improvement. And there, it's difficult to know exactly what self-improvement can mean and which path could effect it. It's why a lot of people choose to distance themselves from even understanding human evil.
A few years ago, I was at a family party and I was talking to my cousin's friend about a book that was popular at the time (which I've never read), A Child Called "It"
. It's about a small child abused and kept in a basement by his mother, who held an escalating disregard for him. My cousin's friend said to me she couldn't understand how a mother could treat her child that way, and I said I found it completely understandable. When one finds something difficult to deal with, there's a desire to sterilise it, to dehumanise it, if it's a person. The worse she treats the child, the less, therefore, she can afford to regard it as a human without confronting herself. My cousin's friend seemed very uncomfortable with my explanation and didn't want to talk to me anymore.
Looking at the synopsis on Wikipedia now, I see that there was probably a comparatively small initial incident, like a single drunken hit that the woman could not apologise for without acknowledging the existence of.
Obviously, that's an extreme case, but it's something I remember in the effort to keep myself on guard against self deception. Though I'm not arrogant enough to assume I'm immune to self-deception--I see it running too rampant in my fellow humans. It's why I call myself "Trompe," after all.
Anyway, now that I've brightened everyone's day, I think I'll go do some writing.