I see so many of you suffering from a new sudden clarity, from the now irresolvable difference in values between yourself and almost everyone you know, from the burden of wondering whether the sense of isolation and loss will ever fade. I feel confident enough to say: it will fade. Keep on the right path, the one your integrity has led you to, and one day that sadness will be replaced with quiet certainty, the loneliness with pride, and the loss with a freedom you will learn to savor like blue sky.
I feel that I’ve suddenly gained access to a perhaps temporary and very special portal, in which a tiny cross-section of the global first world has been carved out for us: this is a precious moment in which to discover who can think for themselves, who will stand alone, who will sacrifice comfort and certainty for the sake of an integrity that promises no reward but itself.
We have been forced to grow up into the full possession of our integrity: we can no longer merely flirt with ethics, no longer play dilettante and hipster and self-pitying loner, no longer hide behind a vague wishful benevolence, we have to graduate into the seriousness of a Yes and a No. I see it revitalizing and rejuvenating some of you already: this hardship may prove to be the most important gift of our previously all-too-cushy, hazy, ill-defined lives of restless recreation and protracted procrastination. Be glad that for you the test did not come too late! For most of those I thought I loved, the test revealed a weakness I can no longer forgive.
You see, COVID has blessed me. I have been a misanthrope for many years, but with COVID I was forced to actualize it: to take it seriously, to stop imagining that around the next corner of growth I would find tolerance for the intolerable. This episode has served to tip the scales and confirm for me finally: trust your mistrust. For many of us, the most neurotic aspect of our relationships was not our recurrent antipathy and revulsion, but the way we’ve tried to silence our mistrust.
Your instincts are not something you should seek to overcome or annihilate with any self-flagellating "compassion": your instincts of repulsion are to be refined into a shield and a watchful guardian of the truth - we all desperately need your ability to tell the truth. The moment you resolve to no longer tolerate the sanctified lies of social conformity and the complicity of anonymous violence, is the moment that signal will propagate through the unconscious matrix of human community we are all reading at all times: in other words, folks can tell when you will eat shit, and when you won’t. The less of us that do, the less it will be served like pretentious caviar.