“The bruises go away, and so does how you hate, and so does the feeling that everything you receive from life is something you have earned.”
— Jonathan Safran Foer (via beautyisanillusion)
What caught my eye here was the line “how you hate” because quite frankly “the bruises go away” makes me think of a battered wife, so I thought maybe we were going for that ride. Then, we jump light years ahead on the inter-galactic emotional roller coaster to find ourselves in gang land, forgetting how the Hatfield-McCoy feud even started, ignoring the clearly spelled out cautionary Montague v. Capulet tale at the peril of our star-crossed teenage sons and daughters, who will die for love, letting impulse and desperate conclusions lead the way. So how do you explain Iraq? Have the East-West grasping their Plato v Mohammad dogma as they walk out the door forgotten how the ‘hatred’ started?
But at the end, I think I understand the meaning, yet it is awkwardly conveyed; the lead in gerund guardian participle set up line which is that these things will eventually ‘go away’ (but never in the sense of complete erasure, they either just diminish in importance due to other crap coming up and taking their place or as the cliche goes, ‘time heals all wounds,’
So with all that in mind, the set up is these [bad things] go away, then it would follow that “the feeling that everything you receive from life is something you have earned” is also a ‘bad’ thing, like bruises and hatred. But that’s precisely what gives the pain some value, without feeling that you’ve earned your stripes by going through a hell you never imagined you could endure, much less with any quotient of grace. The idea that we ‘earn’ anything means we’ve worked for it–very different than the (implied) quality of ‘entitlement.’ Big difference. Pain and suffering do not entitle you to any sort of wisdom, pass Go! collect $ 200 (that you owe the bill collector anyway), do not entitle you to empathy, getting relief a nano-second sooner than the next schmuck. No, enduring the bruises, the mistreatment, the unspeakables do give you something you have ‘earned’ — earning infers working for what you gain. And if you gain anything at all from being bruised, battered, pissed off and downtrodden, it’s one of a few things — your soul comes back to you (instead of floating in the ether between Walmart and the abandoned lot it made, like all good Americans, consumer first, since Patriots drive the economy by consuming more than they need and depleting resources at the fastest rate in the world–those people earn their comfort level by just existing, by saying they do the right things (or more likely telling us who does the wrong things and that’s why they haven’t ‘earned’ the easy life;
If you get good things in life, you have ‘earned’ them, according to zeitgeist gurus and the final world on all things self-improvement, Oprah and the Secret both say you deserve good stuff for thinking positive thoughts. But according to my twitter acquaintance, it does not work the same in reverse. You do not ‘earn’ the right to feel as though your hardship gave you anything — it is implied, however not confirmed, that we don’t ‘earn’ anything. We are given everything we need, good & bad from the being upstairs. We cannot claim to earn anything, according to this mantra.