The Desperate Man (Self-Portrait) -Le Désespéré
by Gustave Courbet
When I saw it the painting caught my eye…maybe out of empathy. I know the look in his eyes because I have felt it.
Even more interesting was the article it was heading, entitled On Self-Pity
The article had some very wise words that seemed to fly in the face of 'american individualism" and expecting everyone to 'pull themselves up by their own bootstraps'. Self-pite, especially our own is designed into the fabric of humanity:
"FAR FROM MEANING OUR OWN SUFFERING DOESN'T MATTER...it’s rather the case that all SUFFERING MATTERS and can unite the afflicted into a giant collective, who might – when they have time to look up from their own sorrows – FEEL PITY FOR ONE ANOTHER.
So next time you are tempted to feel sorry for yourself…go ahead and do it; it can make you a better human being.
More people need to learn this lesson lest we turn into a nation of sociopaths, which seems the way we are heading. And there you have it...pity for me, pity for those who have lost the feeling of pity, and pity for their potential victims.
h/t to Bilgrimage who knows this lesson well. His story could have turned into one of dysfunctional self-pity with all the suffering he must endure, but instead he is one of the most empathetic individuals and a prophet, a voice in the image of a Jerimiah, speaking for all the downtrodden and misuded and abused. Yes sometimes he would like to go hide away in a cave; and he is vunerable enough to admit it to those around him, giving us a chance to comfort him.
h/t to Owen White for the article.