How a man responds to a single blow of criticism defines his character far more than all of his good deeds combined. There are aspects to ourselves which are hidden by some unconscious design. In actual fact, it could be said that who we think we are is, in reality, a fiction which blocks us from ever fully reconciling ourselves with the world. Our accustomed reactions are defense mechanisms which will take us in the direction of inner violence towards the cause of our dismay, perhaps towards ourselves, and more likely both of them combined in alternation as the devastation of anger and depression attack in both loud and subtle ways.
There are certain sore spots in each one of us which are unique to our specific type. There are quite a few categories of where you in particular belong, but the reactions are relatively the same. Some are negative and others positive in general disposition. They each have a special hue to them, like the colour red for example, and impact the situation or environment as the colour red would have in a pond of other colours. Cause and effect are always in constant play and motion, and whatever comes in has an influence which will bring about reactions in the environment that it enters. One man may be indifferent to you, another immediately annoyed, and yet another who is most keen to be in your company.
We all avoid conflict, as any sane creature of this world would. However, in nature conflict arises when the need calls for it. Humans are no different yet our psychological approach to conflict is often rife with a sophisticated lineup of justifications and excuses which are designed to make one side right and the other wrong. We are constantly moving from one situation to another, falling into traps of inner justification as we try to make peace with ourselves to what has just happened. When conflicts arise which create an inner disturbance, such as self-pity, our self-defense mechanisms come online quite actively in order to self-calm, self-comfort and self-delude ourselves back into a positive state of mind called ‘wishful thinking’.
There is hardly a less beneficial thing to do for oneself than indulge in justifications which try to make things right. We are not self-conscious to the degree that the modern messages so ascribe to us. No, we are quite unconscious to many things, most especially ourselves. There is not much truth in our fiction of who we think we are, except for the general pillars of our character which only a deranged mind might miss. They say ‘the devil is in the details’ and it is truly the small nuances and subtleties in our behaviour and way of being which add up to who we are in this world. Unfortunately, only those among us can plainly see these details put together as a whole and understand our personal qualities in a way which we personally could never do without very special means.
A man must avoid self-calming with all his strength and keep himself from trying to cool off the heat that has erupted within him. The inner turmoil is simply a reaction to something that has been pointed out in us which in fact exists, regardless of the inner motives of the individual who has pointed it out. Perhaps their wording, actions and intent were skewed, biased and nefarious, but there is something in what was said which has pressed on some deeply coiled button within us, and it must be recognized and studied for what it is. A man has to be able to muster the strength to step out of himself and review what is happening from the point of view of an observer. He has to detach to some degree, awake to what is happening and use all of this violent energy to try to understand a little bit more of who he actually is.