Tuesday, July 07, 2009
He would have been dismayed by the betrayal if he hadn't suspected it all along. Which is not to say it didn't surprise him, but only in the way that one is surprised by the inevitable arrival of a long-lost brother bearing an unexpected gift. Not that the traitor in this instance was his brother, or indeed, a relation of any sort, which is what made the betrayal so puzzling, because why pretend allegiance to someone whom you owe nothing? So perhaps there was something the traitor owed, or thought he owed. Had he helped the traitor in some way, done him some unconscious kindness, the burden of which had now caused him to snap? It was possible. And should he then forgive him, or choose reprisal, even vengeance, as a way of balancing things out? Would it be more of a penalty to betray him in turn, or to ensure his guilt by refusing to betray him? And wasn't this calculation itself a betrayal? What were the ethics of mirrors? Was it possible to observe oneself in a moral stance?