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To Resemble One's Enemies

July 8th, 2007

“In time, one inevitably comes to resemble one’s enemies.”
–Borges

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4 Comments »

  • Now that’s an interesting quote.

    • mjd says:

      It seems accurate and apt, wouldn’t you say? Look at Michael Moore. Look at Tort.
      It struck me as a thing to watch out for. I think the moral lesson there is “don’t make enemies”.

  • Ian says:

    It seems to me to be a corollary to another principle — the people who tick you off the most are the ones who are a lot like you. We hate twisted mirrors of ourselves.

    For me it’s crappy or lazy artists, and people born to priviledge who take it for granted. For the immigrant who works hard, it’s first-generation criminals. For the girl who really does love cheerleading, its the girl who’s just there to be popular. Pretty much all around, it’s the people who live up to an unfair stereotype that happens to apply to you.

    People like that, at best, embarass you and give you a bad name by association, and, at worst, reveal to you all the dark truths about yourself that you’ve been trying to forget.

    • mjd says:

      Yeah. This quote actually resonated for me in both directions when I first came across it: ie that too often, the people I might feel inclined to call my enemies are of the “there, if not for the grace of God, go I” variety, AND that in order to retain someone as an enemy for any length of time, you have to pay so much attention to what they do, in order to keep squaring yourself off against them, that you end up mirroring the transgressions that made foes of them in the first place. I think if you can muster the magnanimity for it, in most cases it’s better to try to identify with those you’re inclined to loathe, in the hopes it will teach you how to improve those aspects of yourself you see in them.

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