“Wonder is always cut short by some evil”

William Blake

Evil comes unexpectedly. Wonder is always cut short by some evil. It slips imperceptibly into life, as the snake slithered through the undergrowth of the garden of paradise.

An insignificant lapse of the Other, some oversight, inappropriate behavior, action with an ulterior motive, a response to my thirst that falls short of my expectation, makes me open my eyes to a contrary revelation: Suddenly the Other becomes remote, subject to space and time. He is aloof, altered. In relation to my own yearning for life he seems timid and miserly, and along with him everything begins to diminish, all things become objects again, prompting me to measure and calculate my emotional investment. …

As a rule we don’t see the blemishes within ourselves. Love is only betrayed by the Other. He puts less into the game—in relation to what he offers he receives more. I begin to count, to calculate. And the calculation always shows me disadvantaged. Therefore I feel I have a right to resist, to be full of reproaches, become aggressive, change affection into hostility.

And if the Other responds with his own calculations, then the break is ferocious. It is not our emotional interests which are being gambled on, but our life. All or nothing. Even if the Other withdraws silently into his pain, exposing his wounds, I have no interest in seeing them. I cannot share in his pain. I can only continue to measure my own pain. He has no right to be aggrieved. Only I have the right.

. . .

There is no anguish more agonizing than the hostility between two people who believed at one time they were wholly in love, and that their love was reciprocated.

Christos Yannaras


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