When we meet any new person, or come into new relations through necessity, there is an assumption that we make, that this person is a friend. One speaks to them then as though they were a friend, till one hits that facet of their souls that reveals this to be an error. When I finally retire from each person back into my solitude and silence, I find myself muttering to myself “I have done you no injustice, and done not a thing wrong. Try to put into words your objection to me, and see how it sounds.” What they do rather is to distort something I did do or say until a fits into a category that justifies indignation, and, while it still does not sound right, they let go the facts and cling to the abstraction. I am faulted for having spoke, and faulted for the very intelligence and truth in my words. And once this is done, my extreme fault is to try to explain myself to avert the slander. Of all the things I do, this is found most intolerable, and when they close their ears, oh, should I raise my voice, I am clearly over the edge, in need of some drugging or executive action.
It is like the experience in love, an analogy, of approaching a woman under a street lamp only to say, “I’m sorry, I thought you were someone I had known.” My error was to speak to you as a friend.
Anything you say will only be used against you. People will use you, then throw you away when you are no longer found profitable. Socrates was a gadfly to Athens, till the beast smacked him. He was prosecuted in the trial that was like that of a physician by a pastry chef before a jury of children.
What is “the accuser” another word for? Our error is to approach the world as though it were a friend, till we are broken on its rocks. Then we learn that friendship is actually quite rare, those capable of learning through discussion almost non-existent. Our error is to assume otherwise, and though they would be offended if we did not, assume that they were intelligent and capable of conversation and learning, they are not. That old thing the shadow kicks in, and soon they are after the splinters in our eyes again. Worst if all is if one says a thing they do not understand, that calls for an ascent of even a moments thought. In the pain of their ignorance, they will lash out most viciously, to everyone’s surprise, because they are not accustomed to take pleasure in learning.