“Isn’t it the moment of most profound doubt that gives birth to new certainties? Perhaps hopelessness is the very soil that nourishes human hope; perhaps one could never find sense in life without first experiencing its absurdity.”
Vaclav Havel was the last President of Czechoslovakia and the first President of the Czech Republic. He’s one of the people I used to idolize. My therapist says idolizing people isn’t a good idea because sooner or later, everybody does something disgusting. Okay, maybe I’m paraphrasing. She pointed out that I have this pattern of putting people on pedestals by only seeing the goodness and light in them. However, all my pedestals are cleverly placed atop trap doors which are activated by the slightest misdeed, at which time the occupant plummets to their death, as in “you’re dead to me”, while, in the same moment, all previously perceived goodness and light are immediately transformed into badness and dark so I don’t have to grieve losing them. At first, I thought I’d just have to learn to accept that everybody is capable of doing both good and evil things and that nobody is either just good or just evil, you know, shades of gray. But I’m wondering whether it wouldn’t be better to just stop pretending to be godlike enough to be able to judge who or what is good or evil at all.
Now that the internet exists, it’s a lot easier to find out whether public figures deserve to be idolized, or even marginally respected, or not. Take Vaclav Havel, for example. Our mainstream media never mentioned that he was from an extremely wealthy family of real estate owners and developers. Or that at least some of the world leaders who bestowed humanitarian awards upon him were dictators installed by the U.S. government. It’s hard to tell what someone’s actual motives are while they’re being used to help demonize communism and angelize capitalism. (I’ve decided angelize should be a word, no matter what spellcheck thinks.)
Havel championed artists and working people. He even married one. Actually, his wife Olga, who I didn’t even know about until today, should have received as much credit and as many awards as him. Did he marry a poverty-stricken woman who lost four fingers in a sewing sweatshop to rebel against his parents? Did he marry her in desperation to demonstrate that the capitalist nobility had a human heart upon seeing the masses sharpening their pitchforks and preparing to come for his family’s real estate fortune? Or did he marry for love, and that love forever transform his perspective? Nobody can ever know what’s in someone else’s heart. Sometimes it may seem like the answer can be A) or B) or C) none of the above or D) all of the above, in reality, the answer is always E) not enough information.
If you’re going to have human relationships, you have to accept that nobody is 100% trustworthy, and trust people anyway. That’s the hardest thing in the world. Can Zoloft help me do it? Will medication make it possible to disconnect my fight or flight trigger from the trap door my pedestals are placed upon? Can it accurately determine which color wire to cut to prevent the next death? Dismantle the pedestals? Board up the trap door? Or will it be necessary to demolish the entire edifice the trapdoor is located in, which is me?
Remember when I was going through the list of symptoms of Diogenes Syndrome and I said I wasn’t a hoarder? I don’t hoard material things, but maybe I hoard wrongs instead, keeping them on file like police photos of convicted criminals that I can compare against everyone I meet. No wonder I’m tired.