Bittersweet Charity

In a piece in Taki’s Magazine in which he admits to an inadequate sense of gratitude for his life’s blessings, and describes the necessity of the bad as a way of helping to make meaningful the good, Dalrymple describes encountering a man suffering from some unknown medical condition:

I departed the shop with my accustomed feeling in these circumstances of guilt, not that I had done anything wrong in this instance, but that I habitually failed to count my blessings. You couldn’t help but feel a fathomless sorrow for this man, though in fact he said or did nothing to indicate discontent, let alone unhappiness. No doubt there were many people more fortunately endowed by nature and circumstance than he who were far less happy, and it is with unhappiness that we commiserate even when, to a degree, it is self-inflicted (as it usually is these days). But still our compassion is aroused more powerfully by a man such as he than by the unhappy fortunate. However content or happy we found him, we should neither envy nor wish to exchange places with him.

Of course, the salutary effect of such an experience as mine in the shop does not last long; it evaporates within the space of a hundred yards. Just let the bus be late or a shoelace come undone and you are back to pitying yourself and counting your curses.

2 thoughts on “Bittersweet Charity

  1. Alban

    Another rueful, nuanced and enjoyable article from Dalrymple — again the below the line comments at Taki Mag are astonishingly repulsive.
    I would dearly love to read Dalrymple’s response to some of the unpleasntness displayed.

    Reply

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