February 26, 2010

Page 108

At first glance this appears to be merely a subspecies of a greater failure, one that ultimately explains almost all the ills and wrongnesses of the word, cataclysmic and trivial. I mean the failure of imagination. And I suspect that when a male friendship dies over a woman, the failure of imagination is to blame. But for once - just this once - I might be tempted to argue that in this case the failure of imagination is not entirely our fault, not entirely the product of our inveterate human tendency toward withholding or bankrupting the faculty of imagination at the very moment when it is most required. When the Woman enters the life of the Holmes to whom you have always served as Watson, and vice versa, it's not simply that you can't or won't imagine what he sees in her. It's that you aren't meant to understand; you have not touched to the innermost core of another person and hence the zero limits of imagination.

That's what gives the process of losing a friendship over a woman such a lasting sense of distress and confusion: The loss obliges you to confront the fundamental mystery of another man, one who you believed you knew as well as you knew yourself. But there is something in the guy, something crucial and irreducible, that you do not understand at all, and She is the proof. You have no access to that innermost kernel of him, and you never did. And in turn, this leads you to question everything you ever though you knew, not only about him but about the man you thought you knew as well as you knew your best friend - yourself.

- Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon

No comments: