Does the devil know he’s the devil?

Elizabeth Madox Roberts

That person you think is being mean to you, probably sees themselves as fair and balanced.

Because nobody thinks they are at fault. Nobody thinks that what they are doing is not the right thing to do in that particular time and place. Nobody wakes in the morning saying they will be the bad guy today, or they will hurt somebody, or they will make decisions that will put hundreds out of a job.

Most things merely happen. And while we like to think that there’s an hidden agenda behind them, that somebody’s masterplan is making it more difficult for us to be happy, that our antagonist is out there to get us, that’s just the delusion that comes from us being the main character to our own story.

Most things merely happen. Or at best, they are the consequence of years of inertia, of a series of actions that somebody has done without even thinking twice about them, of a lack of ownership or imagination in somebody’s writing of their own story.

Nobody can be really blamed for that.

When was it exactly that I became . . . this? By small degrees, I suppose. One act presses hard upon another, on a path we have no choice but to follow, and each time there are reasons. We do what we must, we do what we are told, we do what is easiest. What else can we do but solve one sordid problem at a time? Then one day we look up and find that we are . . . this.

Joe Abercrombie, The Last Argument of Kings

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