As you read this reflection, bear in mind that I include it in the “Random Thoughts” category and conclude the title with a question mark.
In the past few days, I have been going through the myriad notes scattered across my apartment, as part of a process with a dual purpose, tidying up the place and preparing myself to write a story which has occupied my thoughts for the better part of the past decade.
Sometimes, as I read my notes, many not reviewed since I first scribbled them on scraps of paper, they call to mind imaginary images from the various stories I have conceived as well as very real images from my life. And sometimes, themes emerge. One such theme relates to that of human evil, in my case, to be sure, a minor form of evil, or perhaps not evil, just basic malice.
It occurred to me that, in the course of my adult life, the people who have most greatly wronged me have almost exclusively been individuals on whom I inflicted no wrong, that is, they had no particular reason to dislike me (as an individual). In one case, the man believed I had threatened his power. In another, in a work environment, another feared my success (as best I can reckon) would threaten the uniqueness of his accomplishment (as he saw it). In both cases (and these in Washington, DC), the men’s aggressive efforts to thwart my progress undermined the work of their respective organizations.
In a case here in Los Angeles, a man hurt me when he found I was no longer useful to him (he couldn’t get financing for a script I had written for his client). The action didn’t hurt his company.
The ill these men did was not to seek vengeance on me, but to secure their own power. Or self-image.
One final point: as the above thought crossed my mind, I wondered if the converse is also somewhat true: that those who have done nice things for me (often going out of their way to do so) did so even if I had not done them a good turn. While, in this case, I cannot use the expression I used above, “almost exclusively”, I do note the number of people who have acted on my behalf even though I had never shown them a kindness (save perhaps to ask kindly for a favor).