marți, 4 octombrie 2011

The man who lived in the world of other people



The man was not what you would call a weak personality. He was not without will (quite the contrary, one could say) and indeed, like all human beings, he was guided by his own subjectivity. Yet, one day, as he walked back home from a strenuous but otherwise uneventful day at work, this man decided he lived in the world of other people. At first, this thought came to him with uncertainty. But the stone fell onto the quiet surface of his consciousness and in no time the sprout took proportion and transformed itself into a full-grown idea. The man questioned himself, or rather his thoughts. In part, this idea - the fact that he lived in the world of other people - was triggered by emotion and therefore it must have not been fully rational. He was passing by a long row of cars stuck in traffic jam. The man could barely breathe; he felt trapped in the middle of the cloud of noxious fumes. He was not an unreasonable man and as such he understood the need of his fellow citizens to travel. Yet, he was upset by this.

As he walked further, crossing the street and turning left on a quiet alley, the man started thinking about his home. He had two boys, both now in high-school, doing quite well. The man was pleased with his boys and, for what it is worth, he considered that he was being a good father to them, that he always had been, just as he had been a good husband to his wife. The man loved his family and in return he tried to offer all what was expected from him. Again, this expectation was to our man causing some sort of discontentment, perhaps not entirely like the one caused by the uncaring drivers, maybe a little more... refined. There was no guilt involved, no pointing fingers. Things just were this way and of course his wife and his two boys had no fault that the man felt this way. If there was any guilt to talk about, it was his, for the man loved them and felt the need to reiterate this feeling in his thoughts. It was not right to think about his family this way, as if they were a burden to him, an obstacle. What could have been the loss - his true nature? He felt his existence was defined by their and he couldn't imagine what he meant without them. Questioning this was not something a sane person would do.

One had to wear clothes when walking down the street, to give change to the poor, to stop at the traffic light and to smile to the occasional passer-by. The impulse to do otherwise was not exactly there, yet the man felt the need to question: would he be able to do something that didn’t subscribe to society norms without his sanity being rebutted? Where was the line between positive living and conformity with a series of personality crushing standards?

When he was a little boy, the man dreamt of flying. In this dream he used to capture his own idea of living life. A blink of an eye, a twitch of thought and he was up in the air. He would travel above the city for a while and then he would slowly move above yellow fields or green forests. Sometimes he would fly above deep blue waters.

The world was made up of imitations of life. Sometimes first hand imitations - if you were lucky. Worst case scenario: an imitation of an imitation of an imitation, and so on; a cliché of living. The man who lived in the world of other people was thinking of his life in terms of patterns and nothing stood out. Just noise.

When he reached the front of his house the man instinctively looked up for the sun. It was on his right; he could see it between two concrete walls. He contemplated the noise of the world under the red light. He took a good breath and he tried to recall hope. He knew it was there, he'd just have to find it.

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