Friday, September 07, 2012

What We Hate

I found this riff on David Foster Wallace interesting:
A lot of what he disliked in other people, and much of what concerned him about contemporary culture was a reflection of something that discomfited him in himself. ... he wanted, in his life and his art, to be a great deal better than he often was. (As a teacher he was hard on clever students who reminded him, either in their work or their personalities, of his younger self.)
This really rings true, but with a twist. Personally, I sympathize with those who display my pet peeves about myself, because I understand the good-faith origin of these faults (I know I mean well, and can extrapolate). In strangers, I only loathe those vices where I never feel any temptation. Yet I also loathe vices I find in myself in my immediate family because I really want them to succeed, and so feel compelled to shake these bad habits out of them out of an overbearing love only appropriate for family.

Any self-aware person knows their faults, and is especially observant of these faults in others. Yet, I'm not sure such self-knowledge is truly advantageous. Perhaps, like overconfidence, self-awareness is best done in moderation.


bjk said...

This is what group therapy is for. Listen to a bunch of other people who have the same problems and realize how lame you are. It's a good motivator, I'm told.

isomorphismes said...

I've never felt that way. The people I hate are very different to me.