The Angel’s Game
I’ve been reading a Spanish author’s books which are, as I can best describe them, very strange. The author, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, has a central character that is far from endearing, a man who is a writer and is depressingly depressed and disenchanted with life. In the current book, The Angel’s Game, the hero is listening to a man who has offered the hero a contract to create a new religion. One almost has a sense that the hero has just made a deal with the devil, or perhaps an angel, who has saved him from a fatal condition of cancer as well as a ruinous contract with an unscrupulous publisher.
“An intellectual is usually someone who isn’t exactly distinguished by his intellect. He claims that label to compensate for his inadequacies. It’s as old as that saying: Tell me what you boast of and I’ll tell you what you lack. Our daily bread. The incompetent always present themselves as experts, the cruel as pious, sinners as devout, usurers as benefactors, the small-minded as patriots, the arrogant as humble, the vulgar as elegant, and the feeble-minded as intellectual. Once again, it’s all the work of nature. Far from being the sylph to whom poets sing, nature is a cruel, voracious mother who needs to feed on the creatures she gives birth in order to stay alive.” [Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Angel’s Game, Part 2, Chapter 8, page 7 ]
As I read these descriptions of the worst among us, I thought of these same pretenders that are found on Twitter, in book stores, in politics, in our churches, in our schools, in our workplaces and began to feel an anger against them. But then, as soon as that affect made its presence felt, I wondered and dreaded just which of these described me. I couldn’t find myself there and that didn’t offer any release. Rather, it seemed to confirm that I fell short of inclusion, not because I was better, but simply because I was perhaps irrelevant being an outlier.
But then again, the book isn’t about me – my affective response is about my own complexes being activated. And realising that, I can see how the sub-stratum of complexes, archetypes have been successfully captured by Zafron. I am anxious to get back to the book which I have yet for another seven days on loan from my home library as an eBook. However, before I go, I just want to say that tomorrow I am away for most of the day, visiting the Aktun Chen Ecological site not too distant from Playa del Carmen. Perhaps I will return with a photo or two for inclusion here in future posts.