6 sept. 2006

Envy of the great and envy of the mediocre.

Envy of true accomplishment is easier to bear. It is easy to relatively easy to see a superior artist receive just recognition. It doesn't offend my sense of justice.

Mediocrity-envy is much more corrosive of the soul. To see a mediocre scholar's work touted as the best of the field, as happened in my own field at one time, creates a curious sort of vacuum in the soul. It's hard to explain--or maybe it's self-evident, I'm not sure. I'm not particularly proud of this kind of envy. It's not that praise of the mediocre takes away from me directly--it just devalues the currency. Suppose I win some prestigious award. The next year a monkey wins the same award. I don't envy the monkey, per se. Rather, I feel that the currency has been devalued.

Please feel free to praise my own mediocre poems, though.

No, actually, don't.