“I don’t do well with people. Rather than enjoy someone’s company, I spend my time thinking about why that person chooses to say what he says or do what he does. I never add anything to a relationship because I don’t see the point, when I’m so confused about everything—you know, like, if nothing means anything why should I do anything or care about anything or talk to anyone … ? You see that? I also feel that I’ve been tricked and duped my entire life. I really just want to know if I’ll ever be able to tell the difference between real and fake.”
“How do you mean?”
“Well, if someone said, ‘I really want to climb this tree,’ I’d have no idea if he or she likes the idea of climbing the tree or hates the idea of climbing the tree, and I’d probably sit around for hours and wonder which one it is.”
“You’re a young boy. Your age?”
She pulled her hands away from mine, removed the cigarette from her lips, flicked away the ash, and then took a final puff before smashing the butt into the ashtray on her desk.
“OK … so let me tell you what I know. I know that you think my business is phony. I know that you just came here to talk with me because you have no one else. Perhaps you’ve suffered some recent losses and you’re incapable of processing your angst. But … let me tell you what I also know. You’ll be faced with some decisions in the very near future. The choices you make in these specific cases have the capacity to result in extremely divergent life trajectories, much more so than any choices you’ve ever made before. I still see an energy in your eyes, feel a warmth in your blood, but it’s very important for you to understand that, when faced with these decisions, you should not seek darkness. You’re very naive and fragile, because you act as if you don’t believe in anything, as if you don’t care to believe in anything, but, really, all you want is to believe in something with all of your heart. This is a problematic combination. I should tell you that the only way to fit in well with people is to truly love people. And the only way to truly love people is to continue to immerse yourself in social environments where, contrary to what you hope for, you’ll find that people are never what you want them to be. It is at this point of acceptance, if you’re still willing, that you’ll be able to start loving people. And let me enlighten you about something—you must know, for your benefit, that it doesn’t really matter in the end if a person says she wants to climb a tree and doesn’t mean she wants to climb a tree. That’s all I can tell you today.”
— Isn’t It Pretty To Think So? (page 144)