The Marquise had made a brilliant marriage, but detested people in high society so much that
Not only, at a soirée, would she pour scorn on everyone, but this mockery had something so violent about it that even her laugh was insufficiently acerbic and turned into a gutteral hissing.
Virtues can enable us to tolerate another’s failings. Lacking these virtues, the vices of others gave the Marquise great pain. She thought everyone an idiot, though she appeared more stupid than they.
She had so great a need to destroy that, once she had more or less renounced society, the pleasures that she then sought after underwent, one after the other, her terrible powers of dissolution.
First she loathes social gatherings, then musical evenings and the music played- Beethoven, rebarbative!
Soon what was tedious was everything. Beautiful things, paintings, writing letters, in the end it was life itself that she declared to us was a bore.
It is important to me to find genuine pleasure. I may have seen anhedonia in a person, and it is not a pleasant sight. And Oriane de Guermantes suffers from the same malaise, though not in such a raging form. So, what gives me pleasure?
Doing something which appears to be of use. Just after I was sacked as a solicitor, working my notice, I was sent after the Conveyancing partner who had forgotten a key. I drove eighteen miles to give it to her, and was amazed by the delight this service gave me: it took me time to recognise the delight for what it was. Now, I get some of that at the citizens advice bureau, and though we spend most of our time crafting the case record so that there may be not the shadow of a doubt that the query was answered fully and correctly- more important than engaging with the issue itself, especially as there is some confusion as to what the terrifying Auditor requires- I get a little of that pleasure, every time I go there.
Doing something which leads to my own self-improvement. There is a lot of work in that karate, and I enjoy some of the time there, though it is difficult.
Being present in the moment. Walking in the sunshine in the park, this afternoon, I saw a dragonfly alight on a twig, and fold its wings: the refraction of the light on the wings and body, and the strange, globular eyes, moved me. Paying that sort of attention takes awareness: at the moment I bring myself into it, self-consciously, with hand gestures which symbolise and for all I know manifest the refreshing of the Qi in me from the Spirit/Life-force/Whatever of the Universe. Paying that sort of attention to another human being might even give greater delight still-
And- that anger I posted on yesterday- these two posts come out of the same anguished weepy journaling session. I must give it my attention, and love, and even perhaps obedience sometimes, not for any ulterior motive but simply because it is me.