Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Both Sides Now...

I've looked at life from both sides now,
From up and down and still somehow,

It's lif'e's illusions I recall

I really don't know life at all.

~~Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now

We all carry around illusions in this life. Perhaps it is a belief in god or the supernatural; perhaps it is the image we have of a hero, a celebrity or a loved one; or perhaps it is the way we see ourselves. I am starting to think there is a time and place for illusions, that maybe they serve a purpose in our evolution. That the stories we tell ourselves have perhaps kept us sane for a time, kept us looking ahead, kept us company on the stark cold journey through life.

I have systematically confronted illusion after illusion in the past few years, many quite publicly through this blog; others in the privacy of my secret world. Each time I stare down an illusion and see it for what it is I am humbled. I see how that illusion has both helped and hindered me. I see how it has laid the path for the woman I am now. I also see how my life is at a loss without it. I see how facing reality, how confronting my personal mythology lays me bare, lays me open, lays me naked and vulnerable.

And so, I will carry a few illusions with me for the journey. I will allow myself a few stories for the ride. I am human and to be human is to weave a tale. It is the gift and curse of language. It is what bridges us from the animals to the next step in the evolutionary chain. And who am I to interfere with that?

tall penguin


Gerald said...

Despite the fact that this is the first google result for the phrase "tall penguin," you are not a penguin. You should be ashamed for leading me and the thousands of people interested in tall penguins on like that. Tsk tsk.

mememe said...

hi ...first ....this gerald....he is an dont be ashamed!!......but this comment is funny....!! who told him to search for penguins .,....and that to tall!!..haha.....
OK to you..yes illusions and dreams..they are as much a part of us as the real things, and its good to carry them on for some time because they make you happy......n a hope sometimes!!.....hey how abt hallucinations???....

Tammie said...

Illusions are a wonderful way to get through a really crappy day, month, year, whatever.
When you become too deeply immersed in them though,they can very easily become delusions and these are much more dangerous.

Gayle said...

This entry reminds me of (part of) the philosophy behind Life of Pi by Yann Martel. Have you read that? Sometimes the stories do carry us further. I think maybe because stories themselves contain elements of the human spirit that more strongly touch our conscious than just facts. Why we'd sooner read novels than textbooks.


tall penguin said...

lol at gerald. So sorry to you and all the other "real" tall penguin seekers. :)

Ashok, hallucinations are all good provided you know they're hallucinations. ;)

An interesting distinction you make between illusions and delusions. It can be a fine line.

I haven't read Life of Pi but have heard great things about it. I will put it on my reading list. Thanks for the suggestion.