III. Be centered in the others

20.  The exaltation of the ego
21.  Believing in the others
22.  Fear to the interference
23.  Corresponding
24.  The little glass in the eye
25.  People interested in the others
26.  To give energy to the others
27.  The true love
28.  The false compassion

20.  The exaltation of the ego

"The western culture -José Antonio Marina points out- can be related as the history of an "I" that has been growing fat.  It is easy to indicate the main phases.  The protestant reform appealed to the own conscience against the authority.  Descartes established the I-think as final instance.  The Illustration did the same thing with the reason.  The romanticism exacerbated the prominence of the "I".  The German idealism converted it in the origin of all.  And, as last step, we find the growing insistence in the individualism.  All has ended into an excessive affirmation of the ego that doesn't present us any problem.  What at times has been an opportune defense of the personal autonomy has finished becoming an obsessive care on oneself and a disproportionate narcissism". 

This way to see the things, which is inscribed in our culture, is a source of attitudes that promotes in the people a little feverish and tormented psychology.  A fixation on oneself that causes resounds in the interior of us. Our interior is disturbed by a crowd of voices.  Voices that always are there, that arrive at the most intimate of one self.  Voices that require us to be successful, to be famous, to have power.  Voices that question our own value, that go round and round considering the right to be loved and kept in mind.  Styles of thought that carry us to have few moments in the day free of dark feelings as grudge, jealousy, lust, greed, antagonisms or meaningless rivalries.  Ways to undertake the things that carry us to be obsessed for the approval from the others or the consideration with which we are treated.  A wander of the memory and the imagination that causes us to dream awake fantasizing to be inspired, brilliant, admired.  A fear to not like or not to be censured that constantly invites to design new strategies to assure attention and affection. 

That emotional style sifts to the man as a rowboat in the middle of the swell.  A small criticism causes him annoyance.  A small refusal depresses him.  A small success animates him.  He is encouraged with the same facility that he is discouraged.  It thinks that only will be wanted if is good-looking, intelligent, full of health, if he has a good work, friends, and contacts.  He falls in a world that promotes the addictions, that incites to accumulate status that creates false expectations, deceits that carry to useless searches, to constant disillusions. 

All that living centered in oneself gives also power to the envy.  It seems that all things go to the others better, that all they are better than I.  They go around constantly with the idea of how to arrive to where they are.  Then, with the failure, the jealousy and the resentment come; the suspicion and the defensive attitude arrive.  The envious entangles himself in a bundle of desires that, at the end, impedes him to know which his true motivations are.  The victimism and the distrust push to a constant search of arguments, to be always in guard, to divide the world in the ones that are in favor or those that are against me.  All turns dark around.  The heart hardens itself full of sadness. He is in found wrapped in endless dialogues with absent speakers, anticipating questions and preparing answers. 

The worse thing is that many times, despite the evidence of the destructive style of thinking, it is not easy to be removed of it, because that person is found enslaved by his heart, hungry of some desires that carry him through wrong roads.  Surpass it is not easy, but it is very necessary.  It is precise to pledge oneself in order to leave that narrow world of the selfishness and to discover the greatness and the peace of center the own life in the others. 

21.  To Believe in the others

Anthony Robbins relates how in the school he had a professor of oratory that, one day, told him that he wanted to see him after the class.  The boy was asking himself if he would have done somewhat badly. 

Nevertheless, when they spoke, the professor told to him:  "Mister Robbins, I believe that you have conditions to be a good speaker, and I want to invite you to a contest of oratory with other schools". 

Robbins had not thought that he posses any special capacity as lecturer, but his professor told it to him with such a security that he didn't doubt in believing him and he accepted.  That simple intervention of that professor changed the life of that boy that in a few years time came to be one of the most valued talents in communication, with a great international prestige.  That professor did a small thing, but he managed to change the perception that the boy had of himself. 

The image that each one has of oneself is, to a large extent, reflection of what the others think on us.  Or, better said, the image that each one has of oneself is, to a large extent, reflection of what we believe that the others think of us. 

It cannot be forgot that such image is a real component of the own personality, that regulates, quite importantly, the access to the own interior energy or even creates that energy.  It is a phenomenon that can be observed with clarity, for example, in the sports.  The coaches know well that, in such determined psychic situations, their athletes yield less.  When a person suffers a failure or he founds himself in a hostile environment, it is easy that he founds discouraged, lifeless, with lack of energy.  On the other hand, when a team plays in the middle of their fans and this encourages it with heat, the players grow themselves of a surprising form.  Also the long-distance runners experience it or the cyclists: they can be near to the limit of their resistance by the exhaustion of a very long career, but an applause of the public while they are doubling a curve seems to put energy in their feet. 

Our interior energy is not a constant value. It varies a lot of according to what we think on ourselves.  If I do not consider myself capable to do something, it will turn out to be extraordinarily costly to me to do it, if it is done at all.  One must think that the option of the discouragement has also his power of seduction, and that the defeatism and the victimism are presented for many people as something really alluring and tempting. 

And in this, also habits can be acquired.  The optimistic or pessimistic vital tone, the favorable or unfavorable slant with which we see our personal reality, is also something that, to a large extent, is learned, something in which any person can acquire a positive or a negative habit. 

And it isn't a little narcissism to think so much in the own image?  Could it be if the things are not presented well, but it has no reason to be thus.  The narcissist suffers because, in reality, he doesn't love to himself, but, above all, to his image, of which he finishes being an authentic slave.  At the moment to elect between him and between his image, he finishes, in practice, preferring his image, and this is the cause of his anguishes: an exaggerated attention to his figure and, consequently, a lack of identification and consolidation in himself.  Developing the self-esteem, that is to say, a stable estimation of oneself is something very necessary, for what it is precise to have a good perception of oneself.  If someone confuses that with being left to enslave for his image, he mistakes the road; but if he manages to create a positive image of his own capacities, without doubt he will yield a lot more. 

Therefore, to believe in the others has effects that many times are surprisingly positive.  All we respond according to the sincere expectations that others have of us.  If we try during a time to treat someone with greater consideration and affection, to believe him capable to improve his character or his performance; if we endeavor, in final, by seeing him with better eyes -perhaps more intelligent and more capable than now we see him-, it is very probable that the person finish being a lot better than now he is. 

All we have passed sometimes by small crisis, for moments in which we lack of a little amount of faith in ourselves, and perhaps then we find someone that believe in us, that bet on us, and that caused us to grow and to surpass that situation.  Goethe wrote: treat a man just as he is, and he will continue being as what he is; treat him as he is able and should be, and he will become what he is able and should be. 

22.  Fear to the interference

"That episode -thought for herself the protagonist of that novel of Susanna Tamaro- comes often to be presented again in my thoughts because it is the only moment in which I had the possibility to get the things changed".

"She -her daughter- had begun to cry, she had embraced me: in this moment a crack in her protective armor had been opened, a minimum crack by which I could have been able to enter.  Once inside I should have acted as those nails that become opened immediately after they enter the wall: little by little they are widened, gaining slightly more space.  I would have managed to enter a little in her intimacy and converted perhaps in a firm point in her life". 

"To do it, I should have had firm hand.  When she said "It is better than you go", I should have remained.  I should have refused to go without more motives. I should have come to call again to her door each day; to insist until transforming that crack in an open path.  It lacked very little, I felt it". 

"I didn't do it, on the other hand: by cowardice, laziness and false sense of modesty.  I had never liked interfering; I wanted to be different, to respect strictly the liberty of her existence.  But behind the mask of the liberty hides often the negligence, the desire of not to be implied. 

"There is a quite subtle border between a thing and another; to cross it or not to cross it is a matter of an instant, of a decision that is assumed or that is not assumed; and of its importance, sometimes,  you only realize when the instant already has passed.  Only then you regret it, only then you understand that at that time she asked clamorously the intromission, and I told to myself: you were present, you had consciousness, of that conscience should have born the obligation to act". 

"The love doesn't suits with the lazy, and to exist in fullness it requires precise and strong gestures.  I had disguised my cowardice and my indolence with the noble vestments of the liberty". 

This reflection of that tormented woman by her memories can serve us to recall that the true affection needs, at times, of energy and of firmness.  To love truly to someone can require from us to be willing to act with certain violence towards us, to surpass that fear to interfering that feel the majority of the people. 

There are times in which, really, the cowardice and the indolence disguise themselves with the noble vestments of the liberty.  And behind that mask hides the neglection, the desire of not to be implied.  It will not be always easy to distinguish when one must intervene and when one must respect the intimacy and the isolation of the other, it is true.  As that woman said correctly, there is a quite subtle border among the error by an extreme and by the opposite.  It seems as if, in these themes, the path of the success passed dark and deviously among many other roads that conduct it to the failure: some people will have to fight for not falling in the pusillanimity and the loss of nerve; others, on the contrary, will have to put their effort in trying to maintain a little more respectful view of the voluntary isolation from the others. 

The protagonist of our story was one of those people that -according to her own opinion- are left to carry too much by the desire of not resulting authoritarian, of not censuring anything, as if they were repeating constantly:  "We are different and we have to respect our diversity".  She was of that kind of people that think that in order to be beloved they have to elude any trouble, any conflict, and any edge.  There are many times in other situations-in another cases not- in which all that is a lack of identity, a lack of security on almost everything. 

23.  To correspond

"My mother -told me already sometime ago a good father of family- is very absorbent.  And I regret to say that, since we have brought her home, we have begun to have quite a lot of new problems". 

"She is seventy-eight years old and she is quite sick.  And the illness affects her already a little to the head, and she has become quite absorbent, as I told you, not by saying that sometimes -with pardon- she is unbearable". 

"She would like that we were all the day by her side, and she controls us even the hour at which we arrive at home in the afternoon.  She stops never to give her opinion on everything, and the truth is that there are times in which she puts an end to my patience. 

"Some times I think that the best would be that she was in a residence and to leave me free of problems.  But then I get ashamed by recalling everything that she has done for me, before and after I was born.  And I think that I have to correspond to her". 

This is a quite common situation in many homes.  They are circumstances that sometimes become difficult, but we must assume that serenely, as a difficult and at the same time marvelous task, to do happy to our parents in those few years of life that remain to them. 

At times, by their age or by their illnesses, almost already they cannot avoid being like they are.  They want attention, cares and affection.  And at times they act with an invading selfishness that one must know how to manage, with a way to be that perhaps tires us a lot, and then come to our head thoughts that after we see them, we find them incorrect. 

One must think that, when we had six months, or four years, also we were many times boring, unpleasant or capricious.  And sure that more than one time our mother lost a little the nerves and passed through her head the idea that she willingly would have thrown us away.  But, naturally, she didn't do it and here we are. 

You must think that, some years ago, your parents took care of you.  Now the terms have reversed and you have to take care of them.  And do not forget that in not so many years, the terms will reverse again, and will be you of whom someone will have to take care of.  Consider that, taking care of your parents, or of your parents' in-law, aside from complying with a duty of justice and of affection, you are teaching a lot to your children.  Keep preparing you by then and act now as you want that happen with you in the future. 

I have known that, in the days of the beginning or in the days of the end of long weekends or holidays, there is in the hospitals an avalanche of admissions of aged people.  And it is not because those days the grandfathers have some special motive of illness, but because many families want to be get rid of their elderly parents and to pass thus more tranquil the holidays.  I ask me if in those families there will be really tranquility and happiness in the enjoyment of those days of rest, after abandoning thus to whom gave the life to them. 

Those families in which all the brothers ignore, in which to all is absolutely impossible to attend their elderly parents, in which -in the best of the cases- they bear them a few days in each house and with face of displeasure; in those families, is easy that, twenty or thirty years later, the parents expect from their own children a similar treatment during the latest years of life. 

Nevertheless, I have known, by fortune, many other families that have considered a pride to do happy to their already elderly parents, and that have done large efforts to receive them gladly.  That has supposed so many times for them to renounce many exits and to a lot of apparent happiness, but they are happy families and we can predict for them a happy old age, because their children will have seen, like in a practical lesson, how to treat to the own parents when they become old. 

24.  The small crystal in the eye

One of the stories from Andersen begins with the history of a magical mirror built by some evil elves.  The mirror had a curious particularity.  When looking at it, only the unpleasant and bad things were seen, never the good ones.  If it was put in front of the mirror a good person, she was always seen with unpleasant aspect.  And if a good thought passed through the mind of someone, the mirror reflected a sarcastic laughter.  But the worse thing is that the people believed that, thanks to that damned mirror, they could see the things as in reality they were. 

A day, the mirror broke in many pieces, small like particles of invisible dust that were extended upon the entire world.  If one of those small crystals was put in the eye of a person, she began to see all the things under their worst aspect.  And that was what happened to a boy called Kay.  He was a night looking at the window and, suddenly, he rubbed one of his eyelids.  He noted that something had entered into the eyelid.  His friend Gerda, that was with him, tried to clean his eye, but she couldn't see anything. 

Nevertheless, from then, Kay was no longer the same as he used to be.  His character changed drastically.  His games were now different.  They pretended to be very judicious, but his attitude was always critical, acid and distant.  He saw ridiculous all the positive and good things.  He liked to emphasize the bad aspects of all, to underline the defects of all.  And that odious crystal, that so much had changed his way to see the things, went sliding from the eye until arriving at the heart that was chilled as much as his expression, which became a floe of ice.  And then nothing could hurt him any more. 

The boy finished imprisoned in a cold castle, and there he lived, persuaded that it was the best place in the world.  His friend sought for him from a place to another during a year.  She had to surpass many difficulties until, at the end, she founded him.  She saw then how the boy was keep occupied collecting gobbets of ice and composing them with very ingenious designs.  It was the great frozen puzzle of the intelligence. 

Perhaps in the ordinary life something like that has passed to quite a lot of people.  In a determinate moment they change their look.  They began to see all with worse eyes, to put attention always in the negative thing.  They were seduced by a dangerous and murky dialectic that carry them to be lean out to all the abysses.  They think that acting in this way will surpass their previous ingenuousness, and happens with them as to the ones that looked at in that damned mirror: they were sure that now they have a more mature vision, that they see the things just as in reality they are. 

And changing their look, they change also their heart.  They begin to see the people by their defects instead of by their qualities.  They begin to be envious, to think badly and to suffer with the alien successes, to feel themselves victims.  Many of them display that negative vision also on themselves, and that carries them to enlarge their defects, to undervalue and to diminish their qualities. 

After sometime, perhaps they note that this process torments them and consumes them, but it costs a lot to them to control their thoughts.  They know that they would have to manage those ideas that have taken control of their head, but there is something that freezes their memory and their emotions, as happened to Kay during his captivity in the castle. 

To surpass that negative way of looking at the things -that in some measure affects to all of us-, we should understand the wrong thing of that pain, what we have suffered and we have made to suffer vainly, the ungrateful and unjust that we have been with our thoughts.  When we regret truly all that, when we allow the heart to recuperate and we start to see the things with our previous eyes, we will see again the reality just as it is. 

Perhaps the problem is that the heart is already a little cold and barely hurts us, as happened to Kay.  But not for that it doesn't have the need for an arrangement.  This is a difficult but possible change.  In the story, were the tears of Gerda were opening the path to the heart of her friend, that also began to cry, and did it of such a way that the damned crystal left dragged by his tears.  Also to us a friendly hand can help us a lot, a person that surpass the obstacles that are necessary to cause us to understand the sadness of our attitude.  The life is at times hard and difficult, but it is, above all, by that accumulation of prejudices that have entered us through our eyes and that has gone descending to the heart.  And only crying in the soul will cause us to recognize that error and to surpass it. 

25.  People interested in the others

"Thus was my mother -recalled the protagonist of "The Volume of the absence", that great Mercedes Salisachs' novel-.  She declared very infrequently her renunciations sown with affections. 

"Her example was a continuous challenge for my egotistical reactions.  A day, exasperated, I asked her how was it possible that she felt love for the entire world.  Her answer left me puzzled.  She looked at me, amazed, as if I was a being from another planet, and told me:  "My daughter -and she struck with smoothness my front, as if she wanted to awake me-, from where do you take that I always feel that?  The true love is not always felt, it is practiced". 

"She used to tell me:  "To act is the best form to love, daughter.  It is not necessary that you feel love for them -she emphasized-; simply, help them.  You will see how quick you will appreciate them". 

"I contradicted her, and I spoke of people to whom I could not love, and she retorted me:  "When you feel hate towards a person, remember his mother, remember his children or remember any other person that has loved to him as you love to the persons that you appreciate more.  Try to put yourself in his shoes and immediately you will stop hating".  She insisted to me that there is not possibility to love without rejecting the selfishness, without living for the others, and that a life without love towards the others is worse than to live in the darkness." 

The affection to the others, with the generosity and the diligence that always carry implicit, is the main source of peace and of interior satisfaction of any person.  On the other hand, the dynamics of the selfishness or of the laziness conduct always to a dead end of burdens and dissatisfactions.  Therefore, the people with a good level of interior satisfaction use to treat the others with affability. It turns out to be easy for them to understand the limitations and alien weaknesses and rarely are they hard or inclement in their judgments.  But what more characterizes them is that they are people interested in the others.  And this is thus because only in that way the man grows himself and he is enriched truly. 

We must not forget, besides, that even the most material satisfactions need to be shared with others, or at least, they need to be referred to the others.  A person cannot enjoy a pretty house, or a car that has just bought or a new cloth, or his physical beauty, or an academic title, or even a good culture, if he doesn't have around people that look at him with affection, that can be happy and that can enjoy at his side.  If he is not able -or he doesn't want- to share his happiness, sooner or later he will submerge in a deep feeling of sadness and of frustration, because, sooner or later, the face of the selfishness appears with all its ugliness in front of the one that has left it to seize his feelings. 

The man is extolled and fulfilled when he understands his life as a service to the others, like a delivery to noble desires, which have always reference to others.  On the other hand, when he submits to the seduction of the selfishness, it is very easy that the things quick stop to make a sense to him, that they tire him and that they cause him to lose his footing.  The selfishness carries, by its own dynamics, to a childish way to understand the personal happiness that finishes always in the most categorical failure. 

To serve is what more ennobles a man.  To the extent that the moral configuration of a person acquires the fortress and the necessary liberty to offset the natural inertia to the selfishness, that person will manage to endow his life of sense and of interest.  The silencing of the obsession by the own thing, of the tyranny of the hypertrophied desires, of the misery of all the inducements of the selfishness, are ways to eradicate all those small motives of sadness that go around to the sickly self-esteem. 

As Martin Descalzo wrote, who was accustomed to close his soul and his heart to all who surround him, always finishes for having wizened, fossilized and petrified the heart and the soul.  The selfishness has to be paid.  And the one that never loved is condemned to love never and to not to be loved by nobody. 

26.  To give energy to the others

"There are men that fight a day and they are good.  There are others that fight a year and they are better.  There are others that fight many years and they are a lot better.  But there is who fights all the life: those are the indispensable." 

These words of Bertolt Brecht invite us to think about the necessity that all we have of those people  that all we know and that seem never tired, that always are there, that always pull up the ambience in which they are, that are catalysts of all the positive things for those that surround them. 

If we consider it to think, there are quite a lot of people that are thus, that have done natural in their life that emotional stability and that maturity that causes them to be accustomed to pull up the others, passing almost unseen.  They feel occasionally, as all, the temptation to stop doing that discreet and efficient work, they feel at times tired of listen, tired of encouraging, tired of mediate, tired of reconciling…  Nevertheless, who manage to do all that in a natural way and pass to consider that effort as somewhat ordinary, are the people that manage to create and to maintain an environment of work, of optimism, of good understanding among all.  They are those men or women whose influence many times is not valued until the day in which they lack.  And perhaps then it is seen that their role was fundamental, that the positive climate that was around them was fruit of their habit to think about the others, to be not tired of being the consolers of ones and others, to say with affection and loyalty what should be improved, to relax the tension that so many times is created by simple trivialities. 

It recalls me also that old movie of Frank Capra titled "how beautiful is to live", in which the protagonist is desperate and ready to commit suicide, and a nice angel causes him to see the valuable thing that his life has been and how much has it resulted good for a lot people.  To show it to him, he concedes to him the privilege to see what would have happened in the life of some of those people if he hadn't existed and, therefore, he had not been able to help them.  Thanks to that, he recovers the happiness to live and understands everything: that a normal existence can contribute in the life of so many people. 

All we can incorporate to our life that attitude.  Because a kind and conciliator word is easy to pronounce. Nevertheless, sometimes it costs us to pronounce it.  The tiredness stops us, other worries distract us, and a feeling of coldness or of egotistical indifference stops us from doing it.  We pass next to people that we know but barely we look at them to the face and we do not pay attention to those that suffer, and in some cases perhaps they suffer precisely because they feel themselves ignored or little valued by us.  It would suffice a cordial word, an affectionate gesture, and immediately something would awake in them: a sign of attention and of courtesy can be a gust of fresh air in the obscurity of an existence punished just then by the sadness and the discouragement. 

Many times, what impedes that good attitude is our impatience in front of the alien defects.  Perhaps those people that so much exasperate us have objectively those defects that so much annoy to us, but, if we center there too much our attention that will generate in us an anxiety that does not help anything, neither to them neither to us, and can finish in something like an obsession.  Besides, there are so many times in which those defects are not such, but different and legitimate ways to be.  If we are too complaining, perhaps we should gain in inner strength and to strive more in being like those people of which we have already spoken. 

27.  The true love

"He contemplated her youth and her beauty as something that went never to be exhausted".  He didn't understand yet that no love should be supported too much in the beauty.  Why do we refuse to admit that the beauty and the youth are lent fortunes?  Why do we never imagine that what dazzles us today will be able to become the worst of the disaffections in the future? 

"Our wedding was not by love.  It was a wedding by simple infatuation".  Those infatuations that are sensations that cause exchanges of certainties, kisses, hugs and a great quantity of intuitions carry us to the selfishness to believe that we are the owners of the world, with right to imagine you amaze perpetual marvels and a continuous expectation that, when it arrives, leaves us cold.  In that epoch, I didn't know that the infatuation can be simple self-worship, desires to see in the other what we want to see and that, when we imagine what we see all returns to us as attraction, as need to melt our desires to the ones of the person with which we fall in love.  And the fact is that, deep down, what we do is to fall in love with ourselves. 

"We saw that, as an eternity of bucolic novel, with no exemption of nightmares, always sunny, with clear skies, like a flock of little lambs awaiting the wolves, awaiting unexpected changes of humor". 

Thus recall the protagonist of a novel of Mercedes Salisachs the history of the beginning of his marriage.  The history of a deception, of many frustrations and selfishness until coming to understand that most of what attracts to our eyes is only pure appearance, until verifying that the shortcut of the desire leaves almost always a vestige of dissatisfaction, a sad flavor of disillusion.  Eros, that species of Greek little god, messenger of the love, inherited of his parents a contradictory nature that got him rich in desires and poor in results.  That mischievous and playful little god likes to call to our heart through the corporal beauty, and that call seems to us irresistible at times.  Then he gives us concessions that do not give us what they promise, that attract us but that later they fly away. 

To desire another person is not the same as to love her, and the desire, many times, what in reality intends is to utilize, to possess, and to manipulate.  The force of the desire, overloaded in our days by the impulse of the omnipresent erotic messages, does that the imagination, the sensibility, the memory of the today's man be conditioned by an excessive and sickly increase of the power of the desire.  To discover the own wealth of the other person, knowing her and to fall in real love with her, and not simply to desire her, it is needed a not despicable effort.  When the infatuation falls too much in the corporal side, which offers little consistency respect to the future, because the corporal side is the most ephemeral part of the human being, the more inconstant part, the one that more suffers the decline of the passage of the years. 

The true love carries always to an enlargement of the personality, it is happier with the happiness of the other that with his happiness.  It puts to the other as fundamental protagonist of our project of life.  It gets then our liberty compromised, and that always costs, because it signifies the renunciation to many things, because the love acts as a forge where our selfishness and our desires are tempered.  Because there are desires from us that are not compatible with that love, desires that perhaps up till then were good and legitimate but that they now no longer are.  In any love, once the first infatuation has passed, the key of the success is in that painful process of purification of the desires.  It is a matter of hard test, that serves to harden and to mature that relation, that brings out the quality of the material of which we are made, and above all, enlightens the reality of our pledge to improve.  If we cannot pass this test, at the end we will be lovers of ourselves. 

28.  The false compassion

"The dangerous piety" is an interesting novel of Stefan Zweig.  A young Austrian lieutenant is invited to a party.  During the celebration he invites to dance to the daughter of the owner of the mansion, without knowing that the young woman is impeded.  The following day he sends to her some flowers apologizing by the incident and, because of that detail, the girl thinks that the lieutenant has felt in love for her. 

The protagonist of the novel has a noble and good sensibility in front of the alien pain.  He is a man proposed to help to all the people until he can be able.  Any defenselessness demands his interest.  Nevertheless, that good disposition founds suddenly a difficulty.  His desire is to cause not any suffering, of not to disturb, to avoid the alien pain, carries him to prolong the small misunderstanding that had been produced at the party.  In order to avoid that the excited and capricious invalid girl becomes sad, he delays time and again the necessary explanation on his supposed love to her, and he becomes involved little by little in an immense absurd that has increasingly more tragic consequences for him and for those to whom he wanted to avoid any damage. 

All began for a mere and pious not to say the truth, without will or even against his will.  At the beginning, it was not a conscious deceit, but immediately he became entangled, and beginning with a first lie by compassion, he saw that now he had to lie with impenetrable gesture, with convinced voice, as a consummate delinquent that plans each detail of his action and his defense.  For the first time he began to understand that the worse thing of this world doesn't come caused by the wickedness, but almost always by the weakness. 

There are two classes of compassion.  One, the weak one, the sentimental one the one that is not more than the impatience of the heart by being freed as soon as possible of the embarrassing commotion that suffers in front of the alien misfortune; that compassion is not exactly compassion, it is only a setting apart instinctively the alien pain, that cause us our own anxiety.  The other, the true compassion, is determined to resist, to be patient, to suffer and to cause to suffer, if it is necessary, to help truly the people. 

That man had to say something that turned out to be difficult to him, and delayed it time and again.  He prolonged that absurd situation, among others things, because he was flattered by the vanity, and the vanity is one of the strongest impulses in the weak natures, that succumb easily to the temptation of what is seen from outside as admirable or as valiant. 

By false compassion, many times on lie, on deceive, the costly truth is eluded as well as the uncomfortable realities, the responsibilities that bother us.  One may lie to avoid contradiction, to avoid a damage that then returns multiplied; the difficult but urgent truth is eluded to say, although we know that it will not disappear for ignoring it; by false compassion on consent practices or reprehensible situations in the business or in the family, that are not confronted to, in order not damaging to some, even knowing that to tolerate it is a greater damage. 

The false compassion of that young lieutenant converted him in a wretched man that damaged with his weakness, that disturbed and destroyed with his compassion.  As he, all we should do our best analyzing the compassion that in determined moment we feel and to distinguish if it is not concealing, in reality, our selfishness or our weakness.  We should recognize sincerely that to consent and to spoil the children, to spoil to the ones that are under our responsibility, not to require the respect that deserve the rights of the absent (the false compassion use to incline against the ones that do not see us), are occasions in which we sympathize with the others wrongly and we close the eyes to the reality. 

To live responsibly requires, sometimes, disturb to the others.  For example, to educate, to form, supposes always a certain constriction, to contradict, to deny consolations that we would be able to give but that we shouldn't give.  It is certain that we should be flexible, but to give in to the false compassion implies to do damage.  A damage, that perhaps at first sight, doesn't seem such, but that sooner or later returns, with obstinacy, and bigger, more real, less avoidable.