What ought to be

Published On:
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
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Imagine you are in a field.

It stretches endlessly into the horizon, with no other color but green grass and blue sky. You are alone in this vast domain.

Now, imagine you have the power to raise forests, or cities, or whatever your imagination desires, effortlessly. You may include anyone you want in this world you build for yourself. You are, in effect, the arbiter of your own reality. While you did not choose to be here, you choose what to do with the time you’ve been given.

Life is nothing if not an infinite expanse of possibility.

Yet if we, even for a moment, step out of our vast imagination to view the so-called “reality” around us, we find a world far from such a vision. In reality, we are in a world beyond control. Expectations aren’t met. Hopes are dashed. Good deeds go unnoticed. Bitterness sets in, anger releases, and apathy infects.

It has been said we are a society of silent sufferers. We are told to be strong individuals, to suck it up and to hold it in. We take what’s ours, and damn the rest — all in pursuit of a dream that was, at its core, rotten to begin with.

So, in a time of economic difficulty, when extra money is no longer a luxury but a necessity, we look to the deeper aspects of life. The frills fall away as our collective heart beats once again.

Our silent suffering is disconnected between the ideals of the heart and mind and the “realities” of the old social, political and moral constructs. It is loving someone but being unable to say it, needing help but being unable to ask for it, and dreaming of the infinite expanse, but unable to believe in it.

How many limitless possibilities have been fenced in by single-minded pragmatism? Just how much farther along would we be had the distance between our dreams and our reality been even a slight amount closer?

I don’t know. I’d rather not think about it.

However, you see it every day. You see it in the distant expressions, the aggressive behavior and the anonymous isolation. The haze that hangs above and divides us all is this disconnect, that very base perception that “reality” comes first and dreams come a distant second, if at all.

Well, that perception needs to die.

We will kill it with our daring. We will bridge the gap between that which is and that which ought to be by taking a simple first step. A dream will be dreamt, and it will be carried through to its fruition. It will be followed by more, and even more still. We will be emboldened by our successes, even if we experience failure.

Eventually, what was once the grey, pervasive norm will slide into oblivion, the crumbling edifice of a limited past.

This will only be possible when we no longer imagine a field of limitless green grass and blue sky, but, wherever we go, we see such a place. We need no bridge, as there is no disconnect to connect; we build our cities and invite our friends as we walk in our daily life.

You need not imagine you are in a field, because you are already there.

Alex has left the building, but can be reached at alexander.petrusek@asu.edu.