What is it to have courage? The cowardly lion thought he had none but that was not the way he was perceived. The hero will never say he has courage. He has a reaction that is just a part of his make up. In Pascal’s Pensées, he reminds us “The heart has reasons, which reason cannot know”. What brings us together is chemistry, and sometimes it makes no sense. Often what we may say in hatred is really just an unfamiliar smell and electricity we cannot fathom. In fact, when they say “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear” means that often those we find jarring and confronting are the ones we need to listen to most. On the other hand, accepting and hearing a compliment can almost be more difficult. Having a good day can instill a fear of “how bad will tomorrow be?”
It is OK to be supremely negative about something or someone, if you need the courage to break through to a new beginning. Chaos and change are exciting but scary. “Age cannot wither her, …she makes hungry where most she satisfies; for vilest things become themselves in her”, is Shakespeare version of accepting the thoughts that come with life experience. Being fascinatingly unpredictable is a desirable gift. It is often what sets us up for stagnation as we have had the disappointments of repeating patterns.
Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Laclos celebrates duplicity. The malice described is deliciously seductive. Rather like the media and political atmosphere of present day, there was a need to say it. It was a precursor to the French Revolution. But, perhaps it was just the glorifying observance of amoral behavior. Also, the human condition requires a shake up from time to time.
A misquote of WC Fields, actually written by Leo Rosten is “Any man who hates dogs and babies can’t be all bad”. Even when we are sympathetic to helping others we can observe the need to denigrate what is the “hope” in our psyche.