I just tweeted the following. I suddenly realise how true it is:
I’ve spent so much of my life striving to see good in everyone. My strategy involved (I can see this now) speaking first – openly, sincerely, honestly, frankly – and then ruminating, Sherlock-like, afterwards. In a sense, maybe this process became an unconscious strategy which was anything but unthinking: make people think you’re naive as hell (which, even so, I may be), and then do the intellectual dirty on them as you watch them watching you being moderately irritating, confusing, difficult to get a handle on – and, ultimately, disposable as a human resource.
But whilst they thought you weren’t taking notice of anything – I mean in that fuzzball of verbal diarrhoea you came out with, how could you possibly catch on to whatever? – you actually noticed it all: or practically all, anyhows.
Everything, that is, except how very real the enemies who’ve attached themselves to you really are. Everything, that is, except how true this all is.
This is for real: people actually do honestly hate me. But with a virulence I never intended to arise, not quite understood until today.
And so today everything changed. Today I realised – after a conversation I had last week, when a person who changed my life on one occasion made me see the change engineered required me to sign up to a discourse of revolutionary violence: a discourse where such outcomes would be favoured and supported, even as the hands that got dirty in the process would remain those of the proles – that I had two ways to move forwards in my life.
The first way involved saying goodbye. This is the edited content of an email I sent to a close friend on Saturday, as the implications of the game being played with me began to slowly but surely sink in:
I realise why I don’t want to [be doing this]. I feel cheated and almost raped – intellectually anyway [if that is an acceptable way of using the term] – by people looking for adepts prepared to sanction and support others’ use of violence against the status quo. This is something I am not prepared to associate myself with. So yes. Now I feel dirty – as I say, like I had actually been raped: in this case, of course, by […] brain[s] clearly better than mine, but also far more ruthless than I shall ever be prepared to become.
So if you want to understand why I can’t carry on […], these are the reasons why. It is via […] a violent intellect that I got in – and it will only be my own intellect which will serve to get me out.
But that was then, and today is now.
And so then – as in all my thens – I reverted to running away in order to solve my problems: to giving in to the violent; to avoiding the battle; to pretending it was not my choice and therefore not my responsibility.
But that was then, and today is now. And now I realise my responsibility lies in staying put and fighting – even to my professional and personal detriment, even to the shame of very professional suspicion and disrespect, to the full-blown hatred others expressed for me in the past, and will now perpetuate into the rest of my future.
It’s a battle and a war, and maybe even a terrorism of the super- and bitterly competitive.
And if in the process of engagement I am now prepared to share I end up losing everything – self-respect, position, pride, love, a life which is more than basic survival – then so be it. But at the very very least I will have fought for what I sincerely believe in: truth, compassion, kindliness and humanity.
And if nothing else, if I achieve little more, let that one day sit on my tomb as my witness.