When we avoid risk we believe pain is not necessary. We try to prevent what is inevitable by grasping at as many happy moments as possible, all in a fleeting purist of a “best life now.” When we do this we can hurt ourselves by throwing away opportunities to grow. And we can hurt others by discounting their feelings to spare ourselves potential discomfort.
But there are those who are brazen when faced with pain…with harm…with adversary…and do not fear affliction. They are blind to the hurt they face or can inflict on others. They take no heed of what will come tomorrow. They have no thought of their own mortality, and perhaps have contempt for it, never considering one day they will be no more…so there is no need to leave the world better than how they found it. This is the faux immortal’s creed, and he is cruel by indifference.
Faux immortals prefer “the finer things in life” for the sake of perception. They worship possessions like a false god. Such beliefs are one part vanity, one part delusion and two parts poor investment. They are vain because they think themselves entitled to what they own. They are diluted because they think such things matter. And they invest poorly because material wealth brings no joy. The result is a “must have more” mentality to fill the abyss of their desires. But it will never be filled as long as they live…which will not be forever. To be clear, I am not questioning luxurious possessions, but we must ask the motivation for them.
The faux immortal is cruel when he thinks he is growing himself. When he crashes through people’s feelings and crushes their desires to attain what is selfishly important…such as a promotion, a romantic interest, or a coveted item on Black Friday (introduced in Winter of Kindness entry #35). Or when he cares more about a title than merit, using his job as a vehicle to twist, turn or trample colleagues to get to where he wants to go (#66).
The faux immortal is also cruel when he ignores himself. When he tries to escape the everyday because he is unfulfilled, abhors the ordinary, takes no accountability for his happiness, and views other’s opinions more valuable than his own because of their title (introduced in Winter of Kindness entry #35). When he lacks the capacity to forgive, succumbs to regret by blaming himself for choices that caused him pain and falls victim to the no-win situation (#10, #29 and #53). When he ignores emotional injuries…and possibly physical injuries…and dwells on destructive thoughts because he has no respect for his mind or body (#61). Or when he hates himself because he believes he is not worth the trouble (#54).
The faux immortal can either be an elitist or a loather, seeking a superficial definition of power from misguided beliefs, or violating survival instincts to self-deprecate the intrinsic value of human life. In either case, they believe there are no consequences for their actions. In either case, they believe the only moment is the one they have is now. In either case, whatever gratification they seek is self-serving. In either case, they lack the reason to except that death is part of life. In either case, they cannot imagine a world without them. And, in either case, they would see the world burn before they are not a part of it.
The faux immortal, fueled by indifference, is a cruel beast indeed. And tomorrow, we will explore the darkest parts of cruelty…cruel by intent.