Tuesday, June 12, 2012

On real friendship, evil and losing one's faith

On Monday night, I had one of the most enjoyable dinners I've had in a while -- which says a lot considering I'm out to dinner almost every night, and almost always to wonderful places or with good company. I was invited out by an ambassador and his wife, and the three of us had a truly stimulating discussion on so many topics.


It was just as well that I had a blissful three or four hours because after that came some bad news of greed and hypocrisy that nearly killed my faith in people, and convinced me of the inherent evil of man -- especially men in power.

The inherent evil of man -- how man is basically bad, but it is personal discipline that actually makes him do good or at least avoid bad -- is the kind of philosophical hypothesis that college students discuss with their professors; and never was it more apparent to me than with the things I learned after that dinner and completely separate from it.

It truly is so much easier to do bad than to be good, so goodness takes a lot of willpower. And if I had still been in college, I would have used this example in my philosophy class and I'm sure I would have won any debate on the inherent evil of man and his hypocrisy.


So anyway, from dinner last night I proceeded unplanned to a meeting at midnight where it took all my conscious discipline not to throw a kitchen sink -- if there was any within reach -- at the bearer of bad news.

What a horrible place we live in, I thought last night, where people take advantage of others for their own greed. This was not the kind of world I grew up in, nor was it the kind of world I was taught how to cope with. I'm certainly no saint, but I grew up learning to basically obey the law and not to do bad things to other people.


But today, good tidings came in the form of four people. And one of them called me this afternoon and said exactly what I needed to hear: "Let me take care of it for you." I really don't know if he'll be able to solve this for me, but what a joy and relief it was to simply hear those eight simple words. They were exactly what I needed to hear to regain some sort of equilibrium.

We were talking by phone and I was in a restaurant, and biting my lip was all I could to prevent myself from bursting into tears and possibly shocking everyone I was with. It was a big kindness at the perfect time.

I wish I could write more about this issue as evil should really not be allowed to triumph in any situation. It's wrong, and even the universal law of karma is not adequate enough to do justice to such evil.

But it's probably more sensible that I don't. So I'd like this blog entry instead to be about real friendships: how they're tested, and how you quickly learn which friends are the keepers and which ones are not worth even keeping on your Christmas card list.

Today I had experiences with both kinds of friends, and ironically it was the former -- kindness and caring in a generally unkind world -- that made me cry a bucket of tears. The loss of the other kind of friend didn't even make me blink an eye.

Most days are wonderful and happy for me. But today was not just another day in our never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.


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