“Where misunderstanding serves others as an advantage, one is helpless to make oneself understood.”

Lionel Trilling, “Art and Fortune,” in The Liberal Imagination

I need to be reminded of this from time to time, if only to assure that I do not take leave of my senses in the process of trying to help others come to theirs. The plain fact is that some people don’t want to come to their senses, because to come to their senses is to come to themselves, and sometimes we will commit any crime of logic or memory in order to be spared a mirror in plain daylight.

Of course the problem is that they’re probably thinking the same of me. And the danger is that they may be right.

Perhaps the only safeguard any of us has, in the end, is the introspection made possible by silence and prayer. And by silent prayer. I’ve never trusted those talky praying types, even when I was one of them. Especially when I was one of them.


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