Friday, October 05, 2012

100TWC - Day 70: Bitter Silence

The arguments would be over soon, he realised.

He liked to win. Whenever they had engaged in verbal jousting in the past, he'd always tried to win. Mostly, he liked to think, he'd succeeded in the attempt. Or was that just his take on things? There was another argument in the making, right there. Perspectives. Beliefs. Expectations. They were all argument fodder at one time or another. No matter how the cut and thrust of vocabulary and pithy comment soared and dived, he's always felt in control. Always knew he'd end up ramming his points home, convincing the others of the validity of his reasoning, the clarity of his thinking, the enormous towering edifice that was his intellect.

Just recently, it had begun to dawn on him that edifice may actually be artifice. That he had never, in a reality seen from their alternative perspectives, convinced anyone. Only alienated them. Turned them off, in the modern vernacular that he descried so forcefully on so many occasions. Faces began to turn away not in submission to the weight of evidence he presented, or acceptance of his supremacy, but in resignation. They only bowed to his argument, they didn't accept it. Or embrace it. Or believe it.

He'd call it a pyrrhic victory, only there was no fire in it. It was a cold, empty ascendancy. Like climbing a mountain and attaining the summit only to find no camp, no survivors, no friendly climbers had preceded you or prepared a welcome. And there you sat, alone on your mountain of right, while your fellows remained below in their wrongness. Their warm, comfortable, familiar wrongness. Sometimes, being right was a lonely place to be. He'd expected that. Expected to lead the herd, to be out in front, in the vanguard, lighting the way with the fiercely burning, bright torch of his righteousness. But he'd also expected them to follow. Take his example, and walk his beaten path. Not leave him to blaze the trail and watch the light disappear into the darkness. Not let him wander alone on the path with no succour or companionship or validation.

So it came to this. He'd won his arguments, all of them, one at a time. And it had made no difference. Had he changed anything? Now that he thought back, he honestly could not remember a single person altering a single belief or behaviour as a result of his debating. It was like an intellectual exercise to them. The mental equivalent of going to the gym. The intent was only to get better at the debate (physical activity) and to limber up the muscles of the mind (body). The content of those debates was immaterial to them, when to him it was the very stuff of existence. The reason for being. Its import could not be overstated. He had the knowledge. The direct line to fact, certainty, attainment. Did the fools not realise all they had to do was listen to him, follow the thread of his discourse, to achieve enlightenment?

Clearly not. And the endless striving had now exhausted him. One way remained to him to win the final argument, albeit by default. For if he wasn't there to listen to their side of the deliberations, why then there could be no debate. They had heard his side. And when he was gone, he would never be able to hear theirs. Stalemate? Perhaps, but the points were weighed in his favour.

He took the small white pill in his left hand, the glass of water in his right. The time for debate was done. Now was a time for silence.

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