The Fall Power Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph). We used Justin O'Brien's translation.
And in order to correct somewhat what I said yesterday, I am going to tell you the great idea that has come to me while telling all this, which – I’m not sure now – I may have lived or only dreamed. My great idea is that one must forgive the pope. To begin with, he needs it more than anyone else. Secondly, that’s the only way to set oneself above him ... (6.7).
Interesting. Jean-Baptiste claims that forgiveness is one way to get power, and yet he is against forgiveness himself; he merely "tallies up" the crimes of others and tells them what they are – he judges without forgiveness, condemns, and does not believe in grace.
Thirdly, because in this way I dominate. False judges are held up to the world’s admiration and I alone know the true ones (6.10).
This is one of Jean-Baptiste’s reasons for harboring the stolen van Eyck panel in his cupboard. That he derives power from concealing the truth, essentially for lying to the world, is a great example of how extreme his value system is.
When I get to "This is what we are," the trick has been played and I can tell them off. I am like them, to be sure; we are in the soup together. However, I have a superiority in that I know it and this gives me the right to speak. You see the advantage, I am sure. The more I accuse myself, the more I have a right to judge you. Even better, I provoke you into judging yourself, and this relieves me of that much of the burden (6.21).
If what Jean-Baptiste says is true – that the more he judges himself, the more he gets to judge you – then his whole confession has just been about getting power over you.