Don’t Take the Good for Granted

Christ Carrying the Cross

Since my early years – and I am no longer young – evil in people has struck me as particularly loathsome, unbearable to the point of suffocation and calling for immediate derision and destruction, whilst on the other hand I hardly noticed good in people, so much did it always seem to me the normal, indispensable condition, something granted and inalienable as, for example, the capacity to breathe is implied by the fact of being alive. With passing years I developed an extremely fine flair for evil, but my attitude toward good underwent a slight change, as I came to understand that its commonness, which had conditioned my indifference, was indeed so uncommon that I could not be sure at all of always finding it close to hand should the need arise.

Vladimir Nabokov
Tyrants Destroyed (1938)
The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov

Painting by Hieronymous Bosch: Christ Carrying the Cross (1485-1490)


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