is another short story by Fyodor Dostoyevsky ***spoiler alert*** in which the hero doesn’t get the girl. This time it is because he wont take a bribe from her father. Some people may think one should be more committed to a person than the truth, but usually I don’t. One has to balance this with exaggerated fault finding or criticizing a sincere weakness, but if one is expected to gloss over something one feels makes one culpable, then as a matter of conscience, one may end up sacrificing a valued relationship. I do not think this has to be so, but if the offender demands cooperation, or at least silence, and feels betrayed when that is not given, then he will be the one to break it off. It is like an act of revenge. He probably sincerely thinks that the hero’s betrayal is a personal slight instead of a matter of conscience, so he feels justified in ramping up the slighting in return. I do not feel all is equal as the offender does, but he will frequently use it to guilt-trip the would-be accomplice. Guilt trips are a favorite tool of bullies.

And what if the bully is powerful enough to ruin the reputation of the conscientious objector? Maybe some can be rehabilitated, but more likely, he has to learn the ways of humility. It’s interesting how he can’t see how he should have acted differently, but he is ashamed all the same. How can he be ashamed of doing the right thing? Because of what he lost, I suppose. He lost his goal in life.

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