Yes, it has occurred to me that it is my neighbors and loved ones who have provided me with my desires, both profound and superficial. But I haven’t ever tried to catalogue precisely which desires come from who.
Yes, I’ve known resentment all too well on too many occasions. It occurred to me one night how much I hated a certain type of person. I began writing all the reasons I couldn’t stand any of the people I’d ever met from this particular group (i.e. westerners who live in non-western countries). I had meant for my indictments of others to be a self-justification (as is I were the one western sojourner who actually knew how to respectfully inhabit a foreign culture), but once my indictments were written down … I saw that I couldn’t have described myself better. For a few years I could only make sense of this self-encounter in the other by thinking, “well, I guess I’m just one of those people who hates himself.” But after being introduced to Girard’s analysis of scandal, I began to see more than hatred. I had believed in a distinction that wasn’t there in order to give myself prestige. I had become a ex-patriot who sought only to situate himself amongst an array of other ex-patriots, and who never actually gave his full attention to the local population. This had been, of course, at the very top of my list of things I hated about ex-pats. The unmitigated forces I poured into proving I was not like the other western sojourners I met, ended up turning me into the living breathing reality of what I had perceived those others to be–even as I made-believe that I myself was vastly superior. I couldn’t stop myself from becoming more and more isolated, as I nurtured my resentment of those who isolate themselves from their neighbors while claiming to be exploring the world.
The way out of the snare, I suppose, would have been to sincerely endeavor to help those other travelers I despised to appreciate the culture we were living in. Then maybe I would have been open to receiving their help in doing the same.
This was all several years ago, I’m not at all sure what I may be ensnared in now.