Friday, June 3, 2016

Ponder: "we all share in shattering duality"

“The great mistake, I think, the mistake that surely leads to more misery, is for the victim to succumb to the normal temptation and take the part for the whole.  For there is a balance here: the great majority of those who winked and nudged and raved and joked would, in the very next moment, have willingly given me whatever lift they could, and the same schoolboy who staggered with such derisive exactness would in an instant have given up his free morning to serve my Mass and drive me halfway across the state and back.  We all share in shattering duality—and by this I don’t mean that soggy, superficial split that one so often sees: the kind of thing, for example, where the gangster sobs uncontrollably at an old Shirley Temple movie.  I mean the fundamental schism that Newman referred to when he spoke of man being forever involved in the consequences of some “terrible, aboriginal calamity;” every day in every man there is this warfare of the parts.  And while all this results in meanness and bitterness and savagery enough, God knows, and while only a fool can look around him and smile serenely in unwatered optimism, nevertheless  the wonder of it all is to me the frequency with which kindness, the essential goodness of man does break through, and as one who has received his full measure of that goodness, I can say that for me, at least, it is in the long succession of these small, redemptive instants, just as much as in the magnificence of heroes, that the meaning and the glory of man is revealed.”

Edwin O’Connor, The Edge of Sadness

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