Monday, July 14, 2003

Living with Illusions...

There's an old game in philosophy... it's about illusions...

Say you know somebody who holds a belief that happens to be wrong. He's a Flat-Earther. He thinks McDonald's food is healthy. He supports school prayer. He thinks Shrub actually won the election. You know, just flat-out wrong. You take this person and you ask, "Would this person be better off if you enlightened him?" The obvious answer is that he would certainly be better off because to live in ignorance is to perpetuate unhappiness. It only hurts you to deny the world is round or to eat fast food or to not understand the significance of the separation of church and state or to not understand how Shrub has been anally raping our country.

At least... that always seemed to be obvious to me. There are people on the other side of that argument who would say that if people's beliefs work for them, you should allow them that. Kurt Vonnegut talks about "harmless lies" people believe - religious, political, etc. I never really bought that... before...

But, as you know, I've been plagued by nightmares recently - a few every night. Normally, I can't go back to sleep afterwards... on those nights when I do sleep at all... So, we're talking more than three weeks of nightmares, no sleep, and your basic terror. (You try having nightmares every night and tell me if you don't walk around a nervous wreck.)

Well, you often reach moments of clarity in the midst of all that. Moments of clarity are good for reflection but don't necessarily mean a resolution to things - just so you know. It was in just such a moment that I was thinking of Rosa last night during a long walk. I was reflecting on how Rosa recently (meaning "back in April") broke up with me, saying that she didn't love me. Hearing that... well, it didn't hurt. Shattering my right arm hurt. This was much worse. This was a women who I'd loved more than I ever knew I could, a woman I couldn't stop loving, but she found it relatively easy to stop. Too easy.

That's when the thought occurred to me. How much did she love me when she told me to find someone else?

Did Rosa, in fact, ever really love me at all? Back in 2000, when she told me to hit the road, she'd achieved everything she'd wanted to achieve, with my help, and attained everything she'd wanted, with my help. What else did she need me for? So, why did it come as any surprise that she spend every day for months trying to get rid of me, filling my head with how little she wanted me and how I needed to find someone else if I ever wanted to be happy.

It suddenly occurred to me that I may have been suffering from an illusion of devastating magnitude. I'd always thought that, since Rosa was the love of my life, I must have been the love of hers.

... Not so. If I had been, would she have found it so easy, so necessary, to reject me - over and over and over again?

I'd devoted my life to a woman who didn't love me.

Is it any wonder I'm suffering from nightmares? I'm living one!

... and that's the cheerful news for today...

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