Giving and Forgiving

Look who thinks he’s nothing. All these blacks and whites make existence grey. The certainties, the rectitudes, the stridencies, are like a cloud cover interdicting the light, halting it in its natural course to us, and trapping the world in a dense foggy dread. It sometimes seems as if the more people make a claim to clarity, the more unclear things become. The unsure people begin to look perversely attractive, insofar as they represent minds not yet closed. But hold on. How can anyone not be sure about the evils that we face? Are they blind or are they stupid or are they bought? It is a fair question, except for its naivete about the actual processes of opinion formation, which leave us all not only in disagreement, which is one of the sweetest features of life with other people, but also in the tragi-comic position of building an absolute view out of a partial perspective. I do not mean to hold myself above the ferocity of our absolutist mood. I, too, know that I am right. For this reason, I have been trying to lower my own temperature as history is demanding only fevers. In this new era of atrocities, some of them close to home, I strain not to become the slave of my feelings. I find myself grateful to people who maintain their composure and even hide their thoughts. I believe that interstices must be created between the emergencies, so that a man’s soul does not shrivel. Not escapism; just some escapes. Something a little tender, a little alien, a little private, a little serene; stimulation without pain; a rupture in the ambient anxiety and a break into a less bruising variety of seriousness — a kind of spiritual furlough, in the knowledge that the crises and

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