Take my love, take my landPosted: January 8, 2009
[the following is entitled, “you can’t take the sky from me, or, something for the rêveur”]
“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.”
Uttered, or perhaps, shouted with a degree of bombast by the great Mohandas Gandhi, who, upon second thought, wouldn’t defile those words by shouting them with a degree of bombast but by speaking them somewhat softly, with an assertion of the true wisdom behind them underlying his tone. Spoken loudly enough so that the lucky (wo)man could transcribe them, in graphite, ink, or magnetic tape, and reread, recount, replay them for the masses to hear, to transcribe, in their minds, their penpads, their typewriters, and eventually their computers and open them to the mind’s interpretation. Should I follow in those steps? Should I deconstruct? Should I take the words of a man much greater than I, and twist them to my own twisted definition? I’m sure he meant for them to be so, mulling over the correct choice in diction in order to spark, to incite some degree of inspiration. Or, he could not have, most quotable quotes occur not with minutes of preparation, but seconds, the reverse of what I just stated.
I’m leaning towards the latter.
I’ve heard the statement many times before, I may have made the statement many times before, and it can be distilled into a simple adage, a cliché, even, “we don’t change the world, the world changes us”. And, in essence, that’s all he is trying to say, with a degree of sophistication that the prosaic statement I just made is lacking, and what makes his statement so transcendent, in my eyes, at least. The innate ability for the human being, Homo sapiens, if you will, aside from sentient thought and all those flappy bits, is its ability for its mind to adapt, in the form of a personality. The way people act is affected by the external stimuli that it faced, the world, changing us, changing our minds, causing ourselves to carry ourselves in our own idiosyncratic ways. Other species on the Earth live only to be born, grow, procreate, and die, and have lasted for hundreds and thousands of generations carrying that four-step lifestyle over the span of years, months, or even days. One can argue that humans, as well as other organisms that exhibit a degree of personality follow those exact steps, but in a more protracted (read: more carried out) fashion, and the personalities were put in place to make the process at least somewhat interesting. No, I’d much rather believe in the notion that the personalities were put in place so that we don’t kill each other before the process completes itself.
Yes, that was a joke. And I’m also straying off topic.
The human mind is ridiculously incredible, the glob of flesh that it really is, constantly keeping ourselves and our perceptions of our surroundings in check (and occasionally letting itself be damaged by psychoactive drugs). One of the facets I find most interesting is the mind’s ability to dream; the ability to think of ways to change itself in order for it to adapt or overcome to either the surroundings it surrounds itself in or the mindset in which it puts itself in. People can take your livelihood, your land, your loves, and yet, one can still be free in the realms of their minds and their dreams. With nothing surrounding you, either a barren wasteland of scorched earth and boiled, dried up seas, or in an impersonal, overcrowded city¹, you can always look toward the sky, look upwards toward the realms of possibility above. It could be a reason as to why the human brain is placed at the highest point of the body; it could be in our asses², right?
My point is this; the greatness of the human being is not only the way that the world shapes us, physically, emotionally, but also the way that our own minds can incite a change within ourselves that is comparable, perhaps greater than the ones that the world causes. Oh, the power of the dream, the power of our own selves taking action in order to attain the uncertainties that are made available through the wandering mind. Oh, how we can look to a potential future of greener pastures.
Here’s a bad, belabored example. One takes a journey, through a plain that is being battered by a storm. The rain stabs your exposed skin like daggers that leave no trace, winds beat and batter the skin like fists. This causes the body to be rough, calloused to the touch, and the journey that was undertaken through said winds and rain shapes the mind just as much. “Your survival has taught you many things,” the mind will tell itself, “first and foremost, to never fuck with Mother Nature”. But then, as you rest, in a bed, or a tavern, alone, or with someone you have held dear since you were young, you were stupid teenagers, you saw them as you entered the building, the mind will start to wander. It will start to dream. It will tell itself,
“Maybe I should go on another adventure. Just, maybe. It was tough, right? But it was interesting, right?”
You can always dream, as another saying goes.
¹ however oxymoronic it seems at first read, think to yourself, what is “nothing”? the absence of “something”? what if the “something” you yearn is not there? is that “nothing”?
² if that was biologically feasible, mind you.
This should last a while, eh?