03 December, 2002

The Virtueless Girl

"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing." -Socrates 

A tear rolls down my cheek as I look at her. She, like so many others, is ignorant of the fact that I am watching her. But her ignorance does not stop there. She lacks so many qualities: intelligence, beauty, persistence... And yet she strikes me, for when I look at her, I feel something strange. 

It is a hard thing to describe... This feeling is unlike others that I've had in the past. It is a feeling of pity, yet at the same time, it is awe. I feel almost as though I wish that I could be her, that I could live as she lives, in her shoes and not my own. I feel as though where she is preferable to where I am. 

And yet she disgusts me. 

She disgusts me because I see no good quality in her whatsoever. She is not just like every other common sheep out there, but is worse. She is a runt, misshapen in spirit, if not in body. When she talks, it is worse than if she were vacuous -- no, she talks as though she thinks herself intelligent when it is so very obvious that she is not. 

Were I able to hate a person who did me no misdeed, she would be the one I hate. 

But when I ask Garacan what he thinks of her, his reply is that she does indeed have a saving grace. His reply is that I overlooked one simple yet very telling good quality of her person. 

Garacan says she is kind. 

And now that I look again, seeing what I saw before, I notice that he is right. She is kind. She volunteers in many organizations, and she always lends an ear to any that needs to talk. She is courteous and giving, and her charity seems to know no bounds within her meager means. 

"But," I say to Garacan, "although she may be kind as you say, she still possesses no redeeming qualities." Garacan tilts his head and raises one eyebrow slightly, confused at this response. "Kindness is a vice, not a virtue." 

Garacan scowls as he retorts, quoting whom but the leader of his cause: "We must be kind, Eric, to everybody around us. We must accept and forgive -- there is so much to be forgiven in each one of us. If you learn to love everything, the humblest, the least, the meanest, then the meanest in you will be loved. Then we'll find the sense of universal equality, the great peace of brotherhood, a new world, Eric, a beautiful new world..." 

I look at Garacan, and I see in his eyes that he really and truly believes in what he says, and another tear forms. Garacan does not disgust me. He saddens me. He saddens me because he does not see what I see. He does not see his own fallacy. 

But I cannot leave him be without at least attempting to help him. "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." His eyes show a glimmer of understanding, but they quickly fade as I continue on, quoting ~Myrth~, another diarist here at FOD. "It is our light -- not our darkness -- that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that others won't feel insecure around you. We are born to manifest the glory that is within us. It is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." 

By the time my mini-speech is done, Garacan has already stopped listening to me. He has already closed his mind to the very concept, and remains staunch in his belief. "Eric," he says tiredly, "shouldn't you be studying for your final exams?" 

"Yes, I should." I take a sip of tea as I turn to look at Garacan, removing my attention from that of the virtueless girl. "But I find it more important to sit here with you, Garacan. You are my friend and confidant, and it hurts me to let you go without hearing the truth." He turns to face me as well, and we share a brief moment of silence together. When it is over, we both finish our tea in silence and get up from our seat. It is time to study now, and if we don't get it done now, then we won't do well on the exam tomorrow. 

As we walk in tandem, whistling in that grey shroud of nocturnal elegance, a shooting star flies by overhead. And somehow we both know that it is her, the virtueless girl, that has made this star pass overhead tonight. And we -- no, I -- realize something important: 

It is the bourgeois institutions that God truly favors. The meek may inherit the Earth one day, but when they do, watch and see whom will rise to the top of society. 

I thank God that I am an atheist, for if I were not, then I would hate myself even more.

I think I'll go study now.

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