Saturday, May 18, 2024

"Teachers" from Night Thoughts

I myself still haven't escaped the desire for comfort. I like comfort, I like comfort enormously —even luxury, if I can get my hands on it. But my teachers softened me up, without any question. I'd say I'm halfway to decadence. My manliness gauge stands at more than half empty. And that's also true for many of my friends. And many of their friends.

If someone says to me, "Your air conditioner uses energy sources that are raising the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere," I may take a hard look at the person who's saying it, think for a moment, and ignore what they said. But if all my friends gave up their air conditioning units, I wouldn't insist on keeping mine. And if some day next week or some day a few years from now, the great masses of the unlucky should come to my door and want to confiscate my air conditioner or even my entire apartment, I'm pretty sure that I won't fight them. I'm pretty sure I'll simply give up. I'll simply surrender. If some of my neighbors form an army of the lucky to fight the unlucky, I won't join. I'm much too lazy to fight for what I have, and what would make me an impossibly poor soldier in the army of the lucky is that I don't really believe I have a right to what I have. I know that my side is not the right side. I know that my life has always been wrong. So today I can very easily live my life and enjoy my life, even love my life, but if the moment comes, I won't kill for it, and I won't even fight for it.

In other words, I'm saying that one way that a great upheaval could possibly occur without the shedding of blood would be if those who are now the lucky elite could already, today, be privately at work on quietly melting and softening their own shells, to use a snail metaphor, so that ultimately they would all become small worm-like creatures who wouldn't fight and couldn't fight. And this is not a preposterous fantasy. The children of the most ruthless executives and military commanders very often turn out to be delicate aesthetes who want nothing more than to play with puppets or make long necklaces out of small colored beads.

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