Thursday, 20 August 2015

Unrepentant for life?

What if such a man (or woman) exists among us? A man who is simply unrepentant. He does not see a need to apologize. He just can't believe that he has done anything wrong. He is blind to his own faults. He can't accept that he has hurt others, destroyed their character, marginalized his colleagues, betrayed his friends, and scapegoated those who trusted him.

He views the world in binary terms, that is, in black and white, and what is black is the world and what is white is him and no one else. And if right is as right does, and wrong is as wrong does, then he is always right and is always doing what is right even when many would persistently beg to differ and differ most persistently.

If anything, he suffers from a myopia of the most vexing kind and that is the inability to examine his own heart. Somehow, he sees not. His reflection in the social mirror is missing something crucial for one to be humane, understanding, forgiving, self-reproaching, self-correcting, kind and compassionate.

What is shown to him when he looks in the mirror is not his own flaws as a human being but the many flaws of others, innumerable and endless even. So innumerable in fact that his self-protective mirror conveniently shields his own broken image from sight; very much like an insidious conspiracy of self in favor of self. And if love covers a multitude of sins, then pride - in his case - uncovers many but it is the sins of others and never his to renounce. Never his to disavow, to make amends.

This is a man who holds himself up in the highest esteem and it is perched so high that even he himself finds it impossible to reach. Alas, this same conspiracy has mutated into one where self takes over self and reigns undisputed.

Does such a man (or woman) exist then? Does he or she walk among us? Or is this just a character made up in fictions, fairy tales and science-fantasy? But if truth (or reality) is stranger than fiction, can anyone then say with an admittedly contrite heart that such a person actually exists and he thrives in certain circumstances of life. Some of them even live to a ripe old age, insulated from penury, sickness and blame.

And apart from certified psychopaths, or the mentally disturbed, how does clinical psychiatrists or the DSM-V characterize this peculiar personality type? 
Here is a confession by a successful law professor for your digest:

Remorse is alien to me. I have a penchant for deceit. I am generally free of entangling and irrational emotions. I am strategic and canny, intelligent and confident…Yet I am not motivated or constrained by the same things that most good people are…(As a child), I envisioned the people in my life as robots that turned off when I wasn’t directly interacting with them…I have never killed anyone, but I have certainly wanted to. I may have a disorder, but I am not crazy. In a world filled with gloomy, mediocre nothings populating a go-nowhere rat race, people are attracted to my exceptionalism like moths to a flame.” (“Confession of a Sociopath” - M.E. Thomas).

Now, to be fair, none of us are spared corruption. Even for those who do not subscribe to the religiously-loaded concept of the original sin, history has shown us what we are capable of. The combustible mix of extreme religion and self-preservation has exposed us to the most horrid chapters in history. Wars fought for land, prestige and   power have been our heritage since the beginning of time. Our struggles are tainted by blood, slavery and massacres. On a personal scale, we are at times ruled by deceit, lust, envy, hatred, arrogance, apathy, revenge, sadism, recklessness, indolence and pride.

No one can whitewash our history of human savagery unless we start all over with a Noah-like annihilation of sorts and a self-administered amnesia jab to leave our sordid past behind for good. Good luck hoping the second time over will be better. But my point is not about the savagery of humanity - that much is undeniable. My point is about our redemption - for as insane is our cruelty, equally empowering is our indomitable conscience and free-will to save us from a point of no return.

With every evil raised to the fort, the good in us also rises to meet the challenge. And such good and evil can co-exist in one lifetime with good ultimately triumph. However, this Manichean struggle of good versus evil will be endless because love's prodigal is hate, and light's blind spot is darkness.

Yet, are there those who simply defy this human leaning towards eventual redemption? And if the arc of history is bent towards justice, then for this rare group, is it bent towards impenitence, unforgiveness, and bitterness?

It is said that one should judge not lest ye be judged. But what if such a person exists regardless of whether he is being judged or not? Worse still, what if it is our silence or goodwill or compassion that we unwittingly extend over and over again to them that aids them in perpetuating their agenda? In the same way that I dread that such people should exist and thrive in the world that I live in, my fear is that the far-sobering reality is never held a hostage to my wishful thinking or religiously-manicured sensibilities.

The world is the way it is because it can't be anything else. 
I can surely wish that I am wrong about the existence of such people but I can't wish that if I am wrong (that is, they do exist), they would be redeemable. The glaring reality of this rapacious world just doesn't offer me that luxury. In other words, my idealism can only inspire me from within to hope for the best in mankind, but that will not change the existence of such rare breed of people whose deathbed's regret is that they have not done enough to crush their enemies, exterminate their opposition, exploit the ones who love them unconditionally, or amass enough power and wealth at the expense of those they deemed dimwitted enough to part with their life's savings, devotion and trust.

For such people, the tolls and trails of the misfortune, misery and suffering they leave behind is just not long enough.  And if Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin, Kim Jong II and Pol Pot, to name just a few, are historical tyrants to go by, then I guess the only hope I have is twofold: First, that their murderous exploits in this world would be short-lived; and second, that I should always guard my own heart, for out of it flows the issues of life - both good and evil. Cheerz.

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