You’re an asshole. That’s right, I said it. And on some level, I bet you agree with me, because you’ve got that whole philosophy student bullshit going. That seems strange, right? I’m insulting you because you are intelligent, well-learned, studying great works of great philosophers? No. However, to be fair, I am saying these things to you because I’m not able to say them to a person you remind me of- thankfully, they’re gone from my life forever.
You’re both a very specific type of philosophy student, one who suffers from what I like to call “the vanity of self-loathing”. It’s something I saw a lot of in college. Guys like that are everywhere at universities. Simply put, you think that because you are critical of yourself and your own behaviors, it somehow means you are better than other people. You pride yourself on your self-loathing, because if you think if you actually liked yourself, that would mean you were stupid and unaware. You see everyone who isn’t constantly self-critical as lesser. Unintelligent. Oblivious. That’s what makes you an asshole.
You were cruel to Ophelia, who thought for a brief moment that she was someone special- someone worthy enough to be loved from someone so high above her. And then, you made her hate herself. All because she distracted you from what you saw as your higher calling. Perhaps, if you allowed yourself a moment for guilt, you might have regretted that. But you never did understand how your actions really affected others. Your vanity never did allow you to see the real issues.
He was cruel to me too. I’ll admit, I might be projecting, a little bit. (You’re still an asshole, though.) He also refused to look at the world through anyone else’s eyes. His philosophy was the only correct one. Of course, he’d never say that, and he’d never take credit for that philosophy, that vanity. There was always some new philosopher who he named as his teacher, his inspiration. It didn’t matter. The results were the same no matter whom he professed to study. He would make lists of his flaws, always missing the ones that really mattered. He confided in me, he made me feel special, made vows and promises of eternal devotion. Sound familiar?
Then one day I was no longer convenient. No longer fit into his master plans. And he threw me aside, as heartlessly as you did Ophelia. I blamed myself, like she did. It took a long time to undo that damage, but I survived. She didn’t though. And while I’m sure you mourned, you never did accept the blame.
Of course you didn’t accept the blame. You were self-critical and self-deprecating and self-loathing, but never for the right reasons. Your second greatest fault is being oblivious to your real mistakes. (I won’t try and argue that your indecisiveness isn’t your greatest flaw). You think you cannot be vain, because you hate yourself. But the truth is you put yourself above others for not participating in your self-loathing philosophies.
People who hate themselves are not better than people who love themselves. Loving yourself is hard- much, much harder than hating yourself. It requires such strength of will that it takes some people a lifetime to learn it.
Oh Hamlet. You are complex, you are intelligent, you are confused, and you are fascinating. But most of all, you are an asshole.
And so was he.