I have been contemplating a problem for some while. I have been haunted by a fact undeniable to me that I have come to a stage when I cannot help despising the people I used to hold as my friends and comrades in life, the people I once liked and loved. I have always concluded that it is solely my arrogance, that the guilt lies with me and me alone.
But since I started reading Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, this colossal study of the human condition reveals never so clearly to me of the nature of wrongs that I am facing and suffering from – that the people I feel uncomfortable with are those who have given up thought and action, the two most important faculties of man, and only rely on those who exercise them. They are people who claim that they are unhappy with the current situation, but are either too lazy or reluctant to spend any effort to think of doing anything to change it. What they do is to rely on those who do, and feed on the effort of others. They find it more expedient for them to extract their lives’ meanings precariously through the effort of others. They are people who acquire a feeling of empowerment and being special through dating or befriending somebody powerful and special, instead of trying to be powerful and special themselves. They think that their open admiration for or association with ability alone is enough to qualify the same respect due to that ability. When my ex told me that he could not lose me because I made him feel special and that he feared that if I left him he would return to the nobody he once was, I felt nothing but contempt. Whatever respect or feeling remained was lost at that instant. This was followed by a hard time reconciling this feeling of mine, and it was not until the guilt eventually wore out that I realized that was actually the most honest and just feeling to feel. Nobody has the right to demand from the other what he or she refuses to do himself or herself. Human relationships, of whatever nature, do not depend on the charity or pity of the one towards the other, but the equal exchange on both sides. What people call arrogance, referring to people who would not pay the same amount of attention to people of less ability, is based on the premise that human relationship is a kind of duty, a kind of charity and self-sacrifice, and that people who cannot feel love for people not as able are guilty of arrogance. But the truth is when you have met enough people in your life, you will have realized that one can only feel real love and happiness with people who do not demand anything from you for nothing save the recognition of your worth, but are able to share with you what they have in exchange with what they find in you. You are only wrong and guilty when you pretend to love those who have no meaning to you and allow them to make you feel guilty of arrogance.