Sunday, 23 March 2014

On saving the past

We are the product of belief, I believe. Belief that we count, that we belong, that there's a place we call home. Traditions keep that belief alive, they feed it, renew it. Family makes you feel part of a cycle of life, friends make you remember that you were always, fundamentally, the same, that the passing of time, the accumulation of experience you really didn't want to experience in the first place, have not damaged your unity. So, stay at home, never travel, never leave the circle, never doubt, never put yourself to the test, never see a bigger picture. Stay there. Of course, if you did, you'd probably wonder what it's out there and whether you should be out there too. I personally met two people who had never left their town, one was from Genoa, the other from London, but I know there are many more, for how absurd it might seem. Now, I think that these two people I met saw the passing of time in the most gentle of fashions, because everything was slowly replaced, brick by brick, with other bricks that still belonged. On the other hand, when you do leave the circle, when the explorer in you wants to see what this wonderful, mysterious, world has to offer, you also step out of the comfort of tradition. Of course, you could find a network of supporters and you could go back into the circle often enough to give it the illusion of being still intact. Keep the belief alive that you are Marco Polo, but when you come back after twenty years, you've actually come back, the circle closes again, and that's it. Perfectly safe (apart from going to jail for 20 years, of course). There might be a case, though, in which the circle is not there anymore, or, at any rate, your belief in the circle. In other words, when you cannot go back, when the comforting belief dies that you are only in Space for a given time and that your rocket will take you back to Earth. Perhaps it's because you've turned slightly green and grown small antennas. Perhaps it's because for how hard you search your pocket, that small stone with your details carved in, has disappeared. Or, more simply, your motherworld, Earth if you like, has gone. In other words, the continuity is shattered. Forever. What happens then? There is no certainty at first, just hunger for pegs, to keep you pegged to something. Then your mind starts rebuilding, and you observe it at work (who are you if you can own your mind? But this is for another post). It starts recreating the same puzzle, when it can't find a piece, it replaces it with something similar. Similar in smells, memory, size, colours, texture. If you ever lose your world, I suggest you go for long walks, picking up small sticks, taking random photographs or sketches, touching brick walls, sitting on all the benches you can find, facing North, South, East, whatever. Sieve what is yours from what is alien, by asking yourself every time if it belongs or if it doesn't. If it feels like home or not. The puzzle will slowly form, all the pieces will eventually be found. When you start seeing the picture, compare it to your first puzzle. It probably shows a different scenery, but the atmosphere, the flavour, will be the same. Different ingredients with the same taste. Don't ask yourself if all of this is normal. Nothing is.

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