Friday, September 23, 2005

Me And My Shadow

I like to think that there’s some truth to the idea that any disagreement between people can be worked out with enough patience and understanding.

The pace of our lives never makes it easy to find the time to take a slow, methodical approach to problem solving, though. And so we seem to live in a world which becomes more fragmented and brittle all the time.

Or are there simply differences that no amount of friendly discussion can lead to common ground? I know I meet people from time to time that I feel immediately estranged from for some reason. Something in their demeanor, their speech, their attitude.

For god’s sake, I wouldn’t want to be stuck in an elevator with anyone who voted for You-Know-Who last time around. Lord knows there’s no common ground available there. Or is that attitude my problem? Maybe I need Tom Cruise to come over and help erase some of these engrams.

All of which is to say that you feel a certain amount of harmony with some folks, and not so much with others. We all muddle through by nodding our heads and delivering whatever parts of ourselves we think will get us through this bit of social interaction, and no one’s the worse for wear.

But –

What if you made the acquaintance of someone who was so much your diametric opposite, so completely the negative to your positive, that you felt as if you’d met your shadow-self? A doppelganger whose existence cancels yours out, an evil twin who represents everything you most despise? Someone whom you sense on every level operates from a completely different set of motivations?

What would you do?

What would you do if their way seemed to be working better than your way?

What if their way was more popular, more successful than your way?

Would you start to doubt yourself, question your most cherished beliefs? Faced with the incontestable evidence of how well your life wasn’t working, how tempted would you be to throw in the towel? Would the world continue to make any kind of sense? Would you try to take a tip from your enemy and revise your behavior? Would you question the way the cosmos works? Forced to live in a world you never made...

What would you do?

It happened to me.

It happened to me and I nearly disappeared into a phantom zone of negativity, to wander forever through a wasteland of my own design.

It’s all in the story we’ll relate next week…

Next: This Bile's For You


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