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Here's a cogent passage from that Gopnik article on Popper that Dratfink had posted.

But what really underlay the contradiction between what he thought and what he was, I now think, after a quarter-century's reflection, is a perversity of human nature so deep that it is almost a law-the Law of the Mental Mirror Image. We write what we are not. It is not merely that we fail to live up to our best ideas but that our best ideas, and the tone that goes with them, tend to be the opposite of our natural temperament. Rousseau wrote of the feelings of the heart and the beauties of nature while stewing and seething in a little room. Dr. Johnson pleaded for Christian stoicism in desperate fear of damnation. The masters of the wry middle style, Lionel Trilling and Randall Jarrell, were mired in sadness and confusion. The angry and competitive man (James Thurber) writes tender and rueful humor because his own condition is what he seeks to escape. The apostles of calm reason are hypersensitive and neurotic…
I just want to say how true it is. And if any of you have been taken in by that namby-pamby, new age nonsense posted elsewhere, well, just let me assure you that it's strictly therapeutic. I require the bandwidth in order to dispense with these awful impulses of love and understanding that torment me. I am so thankful to have this means of eliminating my baggage, so that I can get back to my real business of being one nasty bastard!
- alex 4-01-2002 6:34 pm [link] [1 comment]