Distribution Automatique

Friday, August 13

"There are persons who cannot make friends. Who are they?
Those who cannot be friends. It is not the want of understanding
or good-nature, of entertaining or useful qualities, that you complain
of: on the contrary, they have probably many points of attraction;
but they have one that neutralizes all these- they care nothing about
you, and are neither better nor worse for what you think of them.
They manifest no joy at your approach; and when you leave them, it
is with a feeling that they can do just as well without you. This is
not sullenness, nor indifference, nor absence of mind; but they are
intent solely on their own thoughts, and you are merely one one of the
subjects they excercise them upon. They live in a society as in a
solitude; and, however their brain works, their pulse beats neither
faster nor slower for the common elements of life. There is,
therefore, something cold and repulsive in the air that is about them
-like that of marble. In a word, they are *modern philosophers*; and
the modern philosopher is what the pedant was of old- a being who
lives in a world of his own, and has no correspondence with this. It
is not that such persons have not done you services- you acknowledge
it; it is not that they have said severe things of you- you submit to
it as a necessary evil: but it is the cool manner in which the whole
is done that annoys you- the speculating on you as if you were
nobody- the regarding you with a view to experiment *in corpore vili*--
the principle of dissection- the determination to spare no blemishes-
to cut you down to your real standard;- in short, the utter absence
of the partiality of friendship, the blind enthusiasm of affection, or the
delicacy of common decency, that whether they 'hew you as a carcase
for hounds, or carve you as a dish fit for the gods,' the operation
on your feelings and your sense of obligation is just the same; and,
whether they are demons or angels in themselves, you wish them
equally *at the devil*!"

*On Disagreeable People*
William Hazlitt
*The Monthly Magazine*
August, 1827