Moments (6)-June ’20 [15,16,17]

“Moments” are short posts of a rather “poetic – existential” taste

JUNE 2020:

[15] Flexible dreams

** A few days ago I saw by chance a very old friend of my youth and we had a coffee together. «A!» he kept on saying again and gain «When I started my course in life, you remember, I had two big dreams. One to create a happy family and another one to become an architect. Neither of them I managed to realize. I live with a miserable woman, no kids, and my job is too boring to stand it. All the time I think of these dreams and how my life would be if I had managed to make them true. I feel a terrible weight here, on my chest, and I am tensed every instant. Sometimes I stay silent for hours and hours. Some other times I complain like a child or I explode in horrible rage».

** All of a sudden I saw in front of me this man imprisoned in a cage having thrown far away the keys just by himself. His dreams seemed to me like guards and iron bars.

** I thought that we make dreams to get grounded to our present time, to find some consolation through hope, or to sketch some vague pathways into the infinite possibilities lurking in front of us into our future time. We do not make dreams to transform them to prison or to haunt our own selves by living into them.

** Our dreams have to be flexible. Adjustable to the facts of our lives, willing to be shaped according to our present and ever changing needs.

** But mostly, our dreams have to be mortal. Able to die when they cannot find their place in our steps so that they can offer their space to new dreams. Our dreams have to take us tenderly by the hand and pull us softly into our future. They must not drug us violently while scolding us that we did not serve them effectively.

** Our dreams are born by our selves. When they are not flexible, often it is just us who are frozen in our lives and, immobilized, we keep on leaking our own wounds.

[16] Our glorious times…

Who is waiting? Whom? What? For what? For where? Why? So many so basic yet constantly and agonisingly unanswered questions…

[17] Threat on the pandemic background: “me” vs. “us”

As time flows the responses to the common threat of Covid-19 change according to what we have introjected or we ourselves have developed about the nature of danger, risk and pain.Greek author YANNIS KALPOUZOS, in his novel “Saos: a pantomime of ghosts” suggests that we might see such responses framed (1) by our sense of belonging, of connectivity or (2) trapped in selfishness.

In his novel an isolated island starts slowly sinking after an earthquake and people respond in different ways to the disaster, which both practically and symbolically is much similar to the very real pandemic of our present.
I think that Kalpouzos’s ideas fit exactly to what might happen with the pandemic and so I thought to present a summary.

****For Kalpouzos, the 1st state of responses corresponds to the 1st period following a sudden common threat. Most people participate in collective processes, we share, we support, we care about how collective structures may be relieved from pain, the need to draw strength from each other is imperative.

****The 2nd state of responses corresponds to the 2nd period, after the initial astonishment and tension end and pain in time becomes less acute. Then, many people focus on how they can individually get rid of the threat.

And so pain becomes a private matter and is no longer evenly distributed between the members of the community.
Various groups start feeling threat by other groups and the sense of collectivity degenerates to smaller and smaller structures until it reaches the scale of the family and the individual.

Individuals surrender easily to impulsive responses not thinking of their effects the others. The care of larger collective structures is left to authorities which easily become the “black sheep” even for individual crimes.

****To what degree an individual passes to the 2nd state depends on her/his level of awareness of what meanings he/she attributes to pain.

If awareness is enriched and pain is a source of exploration, observation, learning and contemplation, then the person may not totally surrender to the impulsive responses of state 2. Her/his choices and actions are conscious and stable.

****On the contrary, when awareness is poor and pain is faced in an accidental, coincidental, or hereditary and traditional way, the majority tend to change their behaviour: now they respond just impulsively.

The initial outbursts of togetherness, mutual support and collective effort end: the individual turns back to his/her usual selfish behaviour


Now, focusing on the PANDEMIC, I think that we are just crossing the BRIDGE between state (1) and (2).
What will happen? How many of us will pass to the state (2)?
Shall selfishness, rage and violence emerge?
Is the present level of awareness, in our consumer and technocratic societies, enough to somehow enforce state (1) as time goes by?
To be honest I do not like the superficial and easy optimism. On the other hand life is full of surprises of all kinds. And, finally, always “tomorrow is another day”…

***My books translated in English are here

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