A conversation with an indifferent friend

He doesn’t care at all about anything. “Have you ever thought of death?”, i  asked.

“Why should I? It doesn’t matter!”

He was standing before me, motionless, with a mocking smile in his eyes; but for all that i had an inkling of a passionate, tortured spirit, aiming at something greater than could be conceived by anything that was bound up with the flesh. I had  fleeting glimpse of a pursuit of the ineffable. I had a strange sensation that his body was only an envelope, and I was in presence of a disembodied spirit.

This friend of mine is not actually a friend but a person who interests me. I call him a friend because I have learnt from him and instinctively I inspire him, though very little. I am at loss why. But i have found the reason  from a book i was reading:

until long habit has blunted the sensibility, there is something disconcerting to the writer in the instinct which causes him to take an interest in the singularities of human nature so absorbing that his moral sense is powerless against it. he recognises in himself an artistic satisfaction in the contemplation of evil which a little startles him; but sincerity forces him to confess that the disapproval he feels for certain actions is not nearly so strong as his curiosity in their reasons. the character of a scoundrel , logical and complete, has a fascination for his creator which is an outrage to law and order. I expect that Shakespeare devised Iago, with a gusto which he never knew when, weaving moonbeam with his fancy, he imagined Desdemona. It may be that in his rogues the writer gratifies instincts deep-rooted in him, which the manners and customs of civilised world have forced back to mysterious recesses of the subconscious. in giving to the character of his invention flesh and bones he is giving life to that part of himself which finds no other means of expression. his satisfaction is a sense of liberation.”

He interested me because i am selfish too but not to the extent he is.

“haven’t you fallen in love ever?”, i asked, excited to hear his reply which i expected to be strange.

“I don’t want love. I haven’t time for it. It’s weakness. I am a man and sometimes I want a woman. When I’ve satisfied my passion I’m ready for other things. I can’t overcome my desire, but I hate it; it imprisons my spirit; I look forward to the time when I shall be free from all desire and can give myself without hindrance to those interests of mine which do not relate to my flesh but to my soul. Because women can do nothing except love, they have given it a ridiculous importance. They want to persuade us that it’s the whole of life. It’s an insignificant part. I know lust. That’s normal and healthy. Love is a disease. Women are the instruments of my pleasure; I have no patience with their claim to be helpmates, partners, companions.Life is too short for love and art.”

“You should have lived at a time when women were chattels and men the masters of slaves,” I said.

“It just happens that I am a completely normal man. When a woman loves you she’s not satisfied until she possesses your soul. Because she’s waek she has rage for domination, and nothing less will satisfy her. She has a small mind, and she resents the abstract which she is unable to grasp. She is occupied with material things, and she is jealous of the ideal. The soul of man wanders through the uttermost regions of the universe, and she seeks to imprison it in the circles of her account-book.”

“It’s useless to talk to you about these things as to describe colours to a man who was born blind.”

It was impossible to make him understand that one might be outraged by his callous selfishness. I longed to pierce his armour of complete indifference.Unconsciously, perhaps, we treasure the power we have over people by their regard of our opinion for them, and we hate those  upon whom we have no such influence. I SUPPOSE IT IS THE BITTEREST WOUND TO HUMAN PRIDE.

I think I meet him also because he is a great expressionist. He converses beautifully. I bade him farewell.

Is it possible for any man to disregard others entirely? You are dependent on others for everything in existence. It’s a preposterous attempt to try to live only for yourself and by yourself. Sooner or later, you will be ill and tired and old, and then you will crawl back into the herd. Won’t you be ashamed when you feel in your heart the desire for comfort and sympathy. You’re trying an impossible thing. Sooner or later the human being in you will yearn for the common bonds of humanity.

“But who cares, let him be that way! Why should I be worrying,” I said to myself.” Perhaps, I am indifferent too.

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