What had happened? With unerring accuracy, she had marshaled just those words that were calculated to wound him most deeply, like arrows aimed at his weakest points. She had tipped them with a poison distilled from the misgivings that preyed on him most. He should have stopped to reflect on the extraordinary efficacy of this poison. He should have tried to decide just why such a crystallization of pure malice had occurred.
But his heart was thumping in his chest, and his hands shook. Bitter anger so overwhelmed him that he was close to tears. He could not be objective and coolly analyze the emotion that wracked him. Worse yet, he had to rejoin the guests. And later in the evening there would be no escape; he would have to make pleasant conversation as though nothing were troubling him. He could imagine no task that he felt less fit to perform.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
For even in the triviality of a single playing card missing from a deck, the world’s order is inevitably turned awry. And for someone like Kiyoaki, the smallest incongruity took on the proportions of a watch deprived of one cogwheel. The order of his universe collapsed and he found himself trapped in terrifying darkness. The lost playing card, of no value in itself, would, in his eyes, assume the significance of a crown over which rival claimants were locked in a struggle that would plunge the world into crisis. His sensibility was thus at the mercy of every unforeseen occurrence, however trivial, and he had no defenses at hand.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
The chaplain had sinned, and it was good. Common sense told him that telling lies and defecting from duty were sins. On the other hand, everyone knew that sin was evil, and that no good could come from evil. But he did feel good; he felt positively marvelous. Consequently, it followed logically that telling lies and defecting from duty could not be sins. The chaplain had mastered, in a moment of divine intuition, the handy technique of protective rationalization, and he was exhilarated by his discovery. It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all.