On being and existence

A long time ago, I gave up being an academic. It was attractive to me (I am fairly bright), but my boundaries are indistinct; I get lost in other people’s ideas. I wake up later wondering what my own thoughts might have been, had my mind not been cluttered up by theorists.

In fact, I was destroyed by practical circumstances and spent decades coerced by necessity into deploying my talents for simple pay, and to constructing what might be recognized as a ‘good, comfortable life.’ I yielded to expedience, when I was younger, and I believed the trade was forever. I thought the press of employment and family would be all the weight I could carry; I would always find within my constraints sufficient ‘joy of being’ to justify my moments of wistful regret.

I have been shaken, like some science fiction character jarred and distorted and, suddenly, snapped into the ‘real’ experience enjoyed by his extra-dimensional counterpart. For a moment, everything seemed possible. I spoke to people who understood. I created things of beauty and vitality, and shared them in front of brilliant sunsets with poets. Then – snap! – I was ‘comfortable’ again, with my daily self-persuasion and my nagging conviction I’m a hollow doll – so valuable to those who trusted me; so pointlessly empty under my skin.

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