Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Emperor

And how could we save ourselves from suspicion? There is no deliverance from suspicion! Every way of behaving, every action, only deepens the suspicions and sinks us the more. If we begin to justify ourselves, alas! Immediately we hear the questions, "Why, son, are you rushing to justify yourself? There must be something on your conscience, something you would rather hide, that makes you want to justify yourself." Or if we decide to show an active attitude and goodwill, again we hear the comments, "Why is he showing off so much? He must want to hide his villainy, his shameful deeds. He's out to lie in ambush." Again it's bad, maybe worse. And, as I said, we were all under suspicion, all slandered, even though His Most Gracious Majesty said nothing directly or openly, not a word -- but the accusation showed so in his eyes and his way of looking at his subjects that everyone crouched, fell to the ground, and thought in fear, "I am accused." The air became heavy, thick, the pressure low, discouraging, disabling, as if one's wings had been clipped, as if something had broken inside.

The Emperor, Ryszard Kapuscinski

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