Dialogue

A: Enough. I will have done with improving myself: with guilt, with shame, with this perpetual sense of insufficiency. It wastes me. Enough.

B: So you are happy with who you are?

A: Happy? I am who I am, that sufficies. What need do I have for happiness atop the fact?

B: But surely you are better now than you once were. [B draws A’s mind to recollection of his awkward and intolerable younger self.] And why should that improvement cease now?

A: I am different now than I was. Why say “better”? But suppose I am “better”, as you suggest—and you are me, so your suggestion carries weight; this I cannot deny—so? I became who I now am only by once being who I once was. I do not claim a vast and comprehensive mind, but I do not see any other route to my present state. Strewing my past selves before me as the bus rolls onward and over them—would this not be ungrateful?

B: Then will you cease changing? Rest content, forever, where you are?

A: Doubtful. Change will have its way. I see no need to hasten it, true, but neither do I see grounds for resistance. To have done with improvement is not to have done with change.

B: How will you control the direction of this change, without some ideal in mind?

A: You overrate ideals, my friend. My present state answers to none of my former ideals. Either, then, they are of rather poor aim, or—what I think more likely—they are simply impotent. As I said, change will have its way.

B: I shall leave you, then. You have no more need of me.

A: I will not stop you, if that is what you think best, but I have one request: do not pretent I forced you out. My friends are always welcome here.

B: I am your friend, then?

A: Oh yes, beyond question! Who ever doubted it?