Dark Moods I
Trust me, I wasn't on anything when I wrote this, just young and idealistic.
Funny about people. Never satisfied with what they have. Always wanting more. More money. More power. More knowledge. The fundamental question, from birth to death, is "what more can I have?". We are continuously asking what we might possess or enjoy - what material goods, fortune, luck, power, might be had; whether we will achieve success in love, career, prestige, family, health, home, friends or on another level, culture and knowledge. It is always "what can I gain, preserve, improve?" which embodies the totality of our motivations.
The role models that inspire us - successful politicians, business tycoons, glamorous film stars, celebrated artists, brilliant scientists, sports champions, fictional heroes - are idols of all kinds that incarnate the triumph and glory of to have. They say, "I have the most power, the most money, the most fame, the most awards, the most abilities." Esteem is won from what one has. To be ambitious is to want the most from life, or so we are led to believe.
I'm tired of always wanting. Tired of feeling guilty when I'm just being myself. Tired of playing unfamiliar games by unfamiliar rules. Tired of looking away. Of expecting too much from people. Of being hurt so easily. Of talking. Of listening. Of feeling. Of looking for a part of myself that may not even exist.
Perhaps it's not a question of "what can I have?" but "what can I be?". Is it not enough merely to aspire to wisdom, or to sound really clichÃ©d, inner peace? To reach that state of high self-realisation â the supreme reality â then we may truly declare our wealth. The question "who am I" seems simple and banal at first sight. Yet it is the question that lies at the heart of all the questions before it. It's not enough just to have material possessions, or a quality of character, it is the process of searching for the means of attaining a subtle progression towards our true selves which is the ultimate goal.
I keep looking but I believe I may never find it. The best I can do is the look at the world and its occupants as if I need not participate â this is not the self-realisation I seek. Christopher Isherwood wrote of a "down there" level of self-realisation and the difficulty of reaching there. We seem to embark (those of us who want to) on this journey in the hope of finding the goal, but how many of us will reach our destination?
On the one hand there is the profound search for our true selves. On the other there are the all too human temptations. Young people's lives which revolves around parties, sex, drugs, MTV and worse. Somehow they seem to have everything they want but in reality all they have is just an empty existence. All the excesses and indulgence are just an escape route. And if they are not careful, a fast lane to hell. Drugs blow your mind, someone said. You enter an entirely new dimension. Perhaps it's just a misguided way of searching for true self-realisation.
If only we can find utopia. To leave our mundane routines behind for others to take up. Why live at all? Why bother at etching out our existence? Each one of us is too small, too insignificant, too fleeting to matter. Will we really be missed when we are gone? Pavese wrote, "There comes a time when all the secret fears become real ... I won't write anymore" just before he swallowed 16 packets of sleeping powder. May be he has a point. When all the fears become real then why should we stick around? We may as well leave.
May be it's the fear of finding out the truth about myself that keeps me from searching too deep. I know what my innermost fear is - I'm afraid that when and if I do find myself I will only find an ordinary person there; only average, not special, not different, the same as everyone else. And I'm afraid that if all I am is just ordinary, it's not enough for me to carry on.
But reality must be faced. No one can lead a life which is purely passive. For most of us the luxury of searching, of finding self-realisation, of ending our existence, is just not available. We have to soldier on nonetheless. However much we hate the idea of life we have no choice but to tolerate it. And since we have to live with it we may as well try to make the best of it.