Saturday, 29 November 2008

Freedom, where art thou?

In a shitty mood today. One of the particular modes of depression is a feeling of being immensely trapped. Freedom is an elusive ideal; perhaps more than any other, it is one of the defining characteristics of the human situation.

Frequently I get sick of the seeming banality and changeless stasis of my life. One week passes by much like the previous, and much like the next. Going nowhere, doing nothing much. Living in a room. An external prison mirroring your internal one. It is so easy to dream of all the places on the planet you could be, all the things you could be doing. But you're stuck in a prison that you don't know how to escape from - no money, no car, no proper home. Television programs and films can offer up an acute form of torture; you see places you wish you could be, see people doing things you wish you could be doing, people living lives you wish you could live.

The difference in quality between the child like sense of wonder and openness is that when life hasn't worked out how you planned, when your dreams seem to have been crushed... instead of dreaming and wishing with the residual optimism that "I'll do that someday", this feeling is instead replaced by the emptiness resulting from "I'll never get a chance to do that before I die". A sense of dreaming has been replaced by a sense of loss.

Of course you can't possibly know that for a fact, generally speaking, but it isn't about objectivity. It is about the feeling. It becomes difficult not to feel bitter.

And it is a grim, dark, and miserable place to be. A place barren of hope. Alone.

It wouldn't be so bad if you had some firm idea about what to do to change things. But when you can't see a way forward - then your soul might as well be sucked out of you, for you start to feel like merely a breathing corpse.

We all get glimpses of freedom. But increasingly they feel like mere shafts of light reaching down from a high ceiling in a dark cold cave; tantalising but ultimately unreachable.

1 comment:

Xina said...

I get where you are coming from. That's why I went to Egypt. I mean, for you Brits, it almost seems like a day trip, but from over here, it's the other side of the world (literally). I had to go. I travel every chance I get because I can get very stuck in my way of thinking, and on a multitude of occasions, that has been a bit of a failing.

My next "trip" I want to go for is England, actually. Might be 5 years down the road, but damnit, I'm going. I'll be in debt and broke as hell when I get there, but I will have gone. That's the important part.

It also helps to have a 14,000 ft. mountain in my backyard. From the top, I can see several other states. It's weird traveling though. I can look at the map, and 16 hours later I'm 1,000 miles away. It boggles my mind. Airplanes fuck me up pretty bad too... then again, so do elevators...

Ya know what I'd love to do if I were over there? I'd go to Bath. And up to Hadrian's Wall. And Dover. And Ireland. And up to Stonehenge. I don't know how much touristy crap you've done over there, but I live in a tourist trap, and I haven't done it all yet. There is always something to do in my own backyard that other people come here for, but I take for granted because it's always been there. So do some mindless touristy bull shit. You'd be surprised how entertaining it can be.