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Small Disappointments

There was nothing special about the times I grew up in. There were wars far away, and gangs fought each other at home. Crazy people walked the streets, women screamed at their children, and men went hungry sometimes. So I’m not mourning a lost utopia, or a fall from grace. But at least we had hope. We imagined that we could make things better, by doing good for each other. But things just kept getting worse.

How many times I’ve wished that the power of dreams could have saved us! If, while we were sleeping, each of us could have shaped her true world, the world of her imaginings, and if we could have joined these worlds in a federation of dreams, perhaps the waking world would have come to resemble this softened and shadowy landscape. Perhaps the hard edges of life, its brutal realism, its crushing logic of cause and effect, would have loosened, leaving space for miracles. Perhaps we would have surprised ourselves, and found something to wonder at, even while awake. Instead we walk like zombies through a landscape that shapes us, and which we are powerless to shape. Small disappointments crush us, and we’ve lost the will to resist. We’ve lost our connection to each other and ourselves.

Ever since I was little, I’ve been shouted at. My parents, my teachers, my boss. Sometimes the shouting is couched in sounds of politeness, or even in words of love, but it amounts to the same thing. Someone wants something, someone expects something, someone is telling me what to do. Movies, music, and nightclubs offer a temporary way out, but even in these worlds of excitement, the message is the same. Ambition, desire and ego are the word of the day, and the rule of our lives. Then of course there is God, who some people talk about. God is the ultimate ego, and God wants things too.

I remember the man who thought he could write a novel while dying, a never-before-attempted novel about the journey to the other side. He took a bunch of pills and sat down to write, but instead of charting the uncharted, he wrote a handful of rambling phrases before drifting off to sleep. When he realized his mistake and fought to bring himself back, he threw himself out of his chair and died on the floor.

Comments

Comment from mounir
Time: October 21, 2010, 17:44

It was a long time. Pleased to read from u

Comment from Myrtus
Time: October 21, 2010, 18:52

Nice! I should have my daughter read your post Marcel, I believe these are the things she’s been trying to communicate to me for a while and I wasn’t getting it. Thanks, cuz now I do! :)

Comment from Bill Day
Time: October 22, 2010, 08:21

Interesting how modernization has in so many ways improved our comforts but diminished our imaginations. Once our lives were miserable but our visions were heroic; now are lives (in middle America) are comfortable but our imaginations are impoverished. Once we dreamed of Odysseus; now we live the life of Leopold Bloom. We envision ourselves as much smaller actors on a much larger stage.

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