Most blinding is this pride, even pride where pride is due. It seems to me the prideful are the most underdeveloped. For if the pride is neglected–if one neglects to pet his pride–the order of his mind is ruptured. Attempting to underpin that, one attempts humility. But even in this humility, I have found, there is a fierce sense of identity and independence, and when these two are threatened, the very hackles rise.
Everyone’s sense of pride is threatened by a particular element. My weakness is women, and someday I hope to shake that. Not that I’m a womanizer, hardly. In fact I make no effort where I am not met halfway. But that is not where pride is found. My pride is in the writer’s life; it lashes out at anyone or anything which threatens it or questions it. A woman almost always seeks to change the way I think. She may not even realize her methods. The exception, of course, is the meek of heart. But strength and independence are such venerable qualities. Give me the adulation of one strong woman over twenty of these meek-minded, painted lambs one sees through every window.
Sounds reasonable, at first, until I come to see a threat in every corner, until I shun my fellow artist when he attempts to claim camaraderie; as I shun a loving woman when she claims to comprehend. In her love, she cannot comprehend. In expressive longing, they cannot comprehend. In the end, they’re out for themselves, just like me in pride, but not so fierce or passionate.
I weigh the sacrifices I’ve endured, that I have yet to endure. I weigh my dedication. I weigh my education, everything I labor toward. Almost always I find myself grow heavy. And then my pride ignites, and I demand to be recognized as the greater force, a cloud above the common road: to be esteemed, but hardly understood, hardly in communion. The prideful recluse. Do not touch, but worship from afar. Don’t address me as an equal.
That’s the pride, the ambition at work. Spit on anyone who cannot teach you something–indeed and scorn the rest for being common, vulgar…made of baser metals. Yes, scorn the soft of mind, search for the lofty, but rarely(if ever) encounter it.
Would I even recognize it if I did encounter it outside myself? Would I embrace it, or be overcome with envy and resentment? Would I merely see what I wished to see? Must I be the only writer in the room?