Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Le Misanthrope

The fellow above is one M. Moliere author of a somewhat famous play entitled Le Misanthrope. Clearly, not a lover of humankind, and overall bastard about town. Considering that I have been accused of being a misanthrope myself, I feel more than a little sympathy for M. Moliere's protagonist Alceste. I was once described as a misogynist, and was quick to point out that I do not dislike just women. I dislike all people. It has been said of me that "he just does not like people." A statement that I can not, even if I wanted to, deny. I sometimes try to blame certain aspects of my job for my misanthropy, but the truth of the matter is I was a misanthrope long before I obtained my present employment. In some ways a certain part of my job does exacerbate my condition, but it is not the cause. It is a long standing and deeply held conviction of mine, and I just do not seem to be able to shed it. I mean I just spent two whole days without having a real live conversation with another human being, and I loved it. It plays hell with the Christmas party season, birthday parties, and just any social function that will require me to speak to more than four people. I do not really care if it makes look like a grouch, but other people have sometimes been upset at my lack of sociability. I think it is for the best that I avoid these types of situations because I would either be unable to conceal my scorn, or I would be considered the worst conversationalist alive. People just seem to be rather put out when you explain that you do not like them. Trying to explain that it is not necessarily them personally, but them as a species does not seem to mollify them. My (quite few) friends understand my condition, and do their best to not be horribly offended by my bad behaviour. Which is probably why I consider them my friends in the first place. To be fair, I do not exclude myself from my misanthropy. I am certainly not a fan of myself, and in some respects I represent almost everything I can not stand about the human race. Of course that is probably because I am the one human being that I spend the most time with, and just can not seem to get away from. I look in the mirror, and bam! There I am. I go to the bathroom, and I am there dawdling about. Even asleep I appear in my dreams (well, me and a crow or two). I mean jesus, can I not get a moment's peace from myself. Spending all this time with myself causes me to notice, and be disgusted by my own (many) flaws. With that much time to pick them out it is inevitable that they become, to me at least, painfully obvious. Hopefully, that softens the blow of my condition in regards to other people, but even if it does not, I can not say that I am too upset. I do not really expect this condition to win me any popularity contests, and understand if the majority of people are put off my by position. Perhaps my misanthropy is part of the reason I blog. After all, I am certainly not inclined to open my "heart" in person (sober at least), and blogging allows me to express my feelings (provided I have them) in a impersonal forum. It is much easier, in some respects, to merely be read rather than listened to by people. By writing my thoughts and feelings out I am in many ways being a Fascist. Schopenhauer said that there were only about 25 books written in the history of time worth reading. His rational was that when you read a book the author of that book is taking over the controls of your thought processes, and his theory was that there are only a VERY limited number of people you should allow to do that. It is similar to a line by Blind Melon about reading a book to stay awake though it strips my mind away. It is much harder to do that in person since very few of us really listen to what the other person is saying. We are usually much too busy formulating or thinking of our reply to actually listen. Writing, on the other hand, is much more tyrannical. I can control (at least in theory), where this "conversation" goes, and how it gets there. I say in theory because I sometimes have a tendency to "write myself into a corner." It is a very similar experience to painting yourself into a corner, but you can not just wait for the paint to dry. I actually wrote myself into, and (I hope at least) out of about three corners during this post alone. I have to be careful of blind alleys when I write because I have a tendency to write what I am thinking as I am thinking it. Calm reflection does not appear to be my strong suit. Of course, the reader does have the ultimate veto power, they can just stop reading altogether. A lesser threat, but one that writers such as Arthur Rimbaud, have used to great effect is to approach the problem from the other way around. That is they just stopped writing.

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