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This serves as a follow up question related to this, with a focus on the last paragraph. Again, here's the passage:

物体は激しく動けば、それだけ摩擦が大きくなる。人間だって、激しく動くと熱を持つのだ。端から見れば、輝いている人間のことが、きっと羨ましく見えるのだろう。

だけど、輝いている本人は熱くてたまらないのだ。(中略)

これは真面目に、けっこう辛いことなのだ。

カッコつけているわけじゃない。自分がそうなってみて、実感としてそう感じる。

What makes this sentence difficult to understand is it introduces a subject 自分 and makes use of そう which acts like a 指示詞.

What I know so far

From broccoli facemask's (broc's) comment, I learned that 自分 refers to the author, and that it is the author's way of sympathizing with the 輝いている人.

What I don't know yet

  1. What does そう refer to? Or even before that, do the two そう refer to two different things? At first I thought the first そう refers to 辛いこと but if I try to match broc's comment, it doesn't make sense that 自分 = 筆者 will become a concept: 辛いこと. So it must be that the first そう refers to 輝いている人. Then the second そう must refer to a feeling as hinted by the verb 感じる so it must refer to 辛いこと.
  2. Knowing that 自分 = 筆者 and keeping in mind brocs's comment that "自分がそうなってみて、実感としてそう感じる means that he actually feels it, not only an imagination", I still can't understand the construction of the verb なってみて. As I understand it, this can be broken down to なってみても = なる + てみる + ても, where てみる is the grammar point explained here and ても is the grammar point explained here. If this is correct, I would translate this to "(Even) if I try to be like 輝いている人, I will really feel the 辛いこと."

So there goes my line of reasoning. Where did I go wrong?

  • After having my questions answered, I have come to appreciate this passage even more. I like how the final sentence supported the one preceding it, consequently adding "gravity" to the entire passage. It's as if the author was saying, "That living a life under the limelight of success is difficult, is not pretense at all. I am no stranger to it, having lived such a life myself." – rebuuilt Jul 1 at 21:45
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  1. What does そう refer to?

This is an essay written in loose composition, so both そう might not be found grounded on a short phrase, but given this context, it is reasonable, as you said, to fill in 輝いている人間/激しく動く人間 and けっこう辛い, respectively.

  1. I still can't understand the construction of the verb なってみて.

This みて belongs to a minor usage of みる.

㋑「てみると」「てみたら」「てみれば」などの形で、その結果、ある事実に気づいたり、その条件・立場が認められたりすることを表す。「踏みこんでみるともぬけのからだった」「親としてみれば、そう言わざるをえない」

It does not mean "try to V" but is used as the first part of conditional to mean "when one has actually V-ed" or "when one ends up V-ing". The key is that it always implies you already have had such an experience, not a hypothetical situation. Of course, in a long shot, it is an expansion of "try" みる, as you can say:

やってみたらとても簡単だった When I tried it, it was quite simple.

But you can no longer use "try" in such a sentence as in your case.

自分がそうなってみて、実感としてそう感じる。
Now as I have become such myself, I feel so as a real experience (couldn't feel more so).

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  • Thank you so much! I didn't know that dictionaries entries for 見る would also include てみる and that てみる can precede a realization or recognition of a fact/truth. – rebuuilt Jul 1 at 11:27

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