Emotional Lobotomy

Rushing to better things is trendy nowadays. Everybody wants to be a poster child, an epitome of pre-conceived ideas. And if the desire’s strong enough, people get run up against their own walls, each a dead end with no one around. Funny, that’s what they wanted, in a way.

Don’t get me wrong; sometimes the hypothetical dead end is what they asked for. But every time you want something, you actually want two things: one, whatever it is you want to happen, and two, the exact opposite not to happen. If there’s winning, there’s losing, same thing. You ask just right, you put in the hours, and spick-and-span you’ve got it. Then again, maybe yours was a tall order from the start. And on top of that, there’s friction, resistance, lack of friction, lack of resistance. If’s, but’s, maybe’s, someday’s are crowding out and numbing your attention, becoming a wedge between you and everything you thought was true, until suddenly—it snaps. Dead end.

Why again? Who thought up these prefab ideas we think? Tell me again why there’s so much breaking and fraying and knotting. Is it really too much to ask, to have the best?

It is, actually, too much to ask. A lot of people want the same things we do, have the same life goals. Simple demand and supply, we know that. We live with that compromise every day. The ungraspable fact is, success is a scarce artificial resource. I can imagine it and even accept the fact, but I’ll never get it.

There are two solutions to this (because it’s never just one, is it?). Let’s call one of them “success entrepreneurship.” If you make your own success on your own terms, you win. But I’m afraid I made it sound too easy. Because to want that to happen means to want the exact opposite not to happen, which is to fail in the eyes of the Other, sometimes called the communal audience and has recently become the world. In addition, getting the top spot means someone else doesn’t. How the complications mount.

Let’s call the second option “emotional lobotomy.” That is to say, don’t care at all. Stop wanting, feel nothing. Cop out of the loop and be ordinary. But could you do it? Could you really choke your heart?

If only we didn’t have such good memories for bad things, then we wouldn’t mind being so normal. Nowadays, forget elephants; we remember the exact moment of falling, the crack lines, the blue blots, the particular pain. Crowding out and numbing sometimes starts to sound good, even. Funny, this is what we wanted, in a way. Our generation becomes the epitome of anxiety, imaginable and yet to be imagined. In the midst of the rushing, we slow down the memories to a trillionth of a second per frame. I think that’s called theory of relativity, or something.

Still, I realize that it’s better to be ordinary. I’d rather be that guy in the movies who waits tables in a café or shouts “America!” on a New York-bound ship. It’s nice not knowing what comes next, or even caring about it. I’d be happy. It’s not what anyone would really want, but it’s workable. The great irony is, people would look at a person who lives in the now and say, “Hey, that’s a happy person, when can I be happy like that?”


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