Контент 16+ I wonder how many people spend their lives searching for TRUTH. Probably not many. For most, it likely dissolves once they are past the undergraduate level — when things like money, career, and status become more important. For others, I suppose it becomes rather like a lifelong obsession. Yet whether the candle of idealism burns out when we are young or old or never at all, it seems that many of us live — and unfortunately all too often die — restless in our belief that something potentially precious was left undone and unfulfilled.
For example, the Jewish-American rabbi and brilliant author Harold S. Kushner described this phenomenon after many visits to hospitals for the purpose of providing comfort to terminally patients and members of his synagogue. It wasn’t, he discovered, impending death itself that they were distraught about; rather they lamented the notion that perhaps they had never really LIVED. In other words, they had settled for a life that they should have rejected; they had turned their backs on the ‘authentic’ life that beckoned. They had been content to dwell in the shadows even as they saw the sunlight in the field beyond.
If this is so for many of us — and I believe it is — why do we do this? John Lennon wrote that “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” I would agree, and I think it is something that we should always be aware of. Why? Because change is only possible when one is cognizant of the idea that change is needed.
For numerous individuals, living a ‘full life’ just means stacking up a pile of brief but titillating experiences. How many countries did I visit? How many women did I sleep with? How many cars and houses did I own? Regarding such people, I sometimes think that the only thing that saves them from ultimate despair is their stupidity. It’s like the bumper stickers I used to see on American cars that proclaimed “He who dies with the most toys wins.” OK, you win, congrats.
The problem with this approach seems to be that nothing is ever enough. It’s kind of like a nymphomaniac: you think she’s great because she apparently wants to fuck all the time, when in reality she may well be frustrated and miserable because either she can’t reach the ultimate orgasm she longs for, or else she always believes that the next one will be better. Never quite the jackpot… The same is true of guys who are always ditching one girlfriend for another. They imagine that they are ‘trading up’ and finding a better lady. The fact is it wouldn’t matter who the lady was — she could be a combination of the Virgin Mary and the Goddess of Porn and she still wouldn’t be good enough — and the reason is that it never was about them, it was about Lover Boy and his narcissism.
So maybe the search for the ultimate defining moment or the perfect partner is never more than an illusion. At least for most, although in every city, town, and village in the world, you will find people (NO, not billboard beautiful people !) who seemed to have found happiness and have done it without whiskey, self-hypnosis, or mediocre expectations. Some of them are religious and some would never go near a church. Also, there is the fact that some people don’t require partners to be happy; for a lot of these folk, their darkest days happened when they HAD partners.
The modern world with all its marketing hype ruthlessly exploits this terror we carry around with us that what we have is not enough. The sexy nymph on the billboard puts your corpulent wife to shame, and you curse the universe and shout under your breath: “Goddammit, why can’t I find one like THAT.” Of course, the reality is that the billboard mannequin isn’t really like THAT either. It’s an illusion.
Just think of Facebook. Skim through the rapturous photos that all your ‘friends’ have posted Look how much fun they are having!! And so why are YOU sitting at home scratching your ass and swallowing medication to try to ward off the flu — and all of these bastards are having so much FUN ?? But think about it. Really think. I mean, when was the last time anybody posted a photo of themselves barfing up their sushi after swilling too much saki? When have you seen a Facebook picture of someone standing on a chair with a noose around his neck getting ready to hang himself? You haven’t, and you WON’T because Facebook shows us what HAPPINESS is, and reminds you in no uncertain terms that if YOU want to be able to post YOUR happiness you had better get off your ass and go find some.
Underlying it all, you know, is a sort of clinging sadness. We have our moments, it is true. One of my own favorites happened years ago in Rome. My truly fabulous Italian girlfriend Lucia and I had just returned to our hotel from some sort of excursion, and were making love. As I recall, we were doing something really exotic and all of a sudden we heard a chorus of laughter and applause. When we looked up we saw that our windows were open and a group of people had gathered on the balconies of an apartment building opposite. They had a bird’s-eye view, that’s for sure.. They must have been Italian because they were not mocking us — but celebrating us. They were happy for us, I could see it. We laughed and waved back and pulled the curtains. And continued what we were doing. Well, that was love Italian style.
It was an ultimate moment. That woman and I are still friends but parted long ago, and that great Roman day has long since dissolved away into the abyss of time. I remember. That’s all.
After ten years of living and working in Moscow, I have now retired to my village house in Bulgaria. Well, not retired — in fact, I am working as hard as ever, via Skype, etc. Yet, undeniably, the most wonderful chapter of my life is behind me now. This stark fact stands out. The work, the weather, the metro, the legion faces that made my life worth living, the sexy girls, the thousands of nights spent grabbing a cigarette on my balcony while thinking of what to do next, what to do tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow — have vanished away. It was what it was. I came to Moscow because, as I have been doing all my life, I was looking for Eldorado.
Did I find it? I think so. I think so. Looking back, I think maybe I did. But not while I was actually there, especially during the last few years when a lot of the sense of adventure and ‘romance’ had worn off. Pushing on to some distant location through the muck and grime of a rainy morning or through the каша when the snow melted did not always seem like Eldorado. Only when I look back.
I guess I have always been a seeker. The other night I was gazing on the internet at the famous Vermeer painting “Girl with the Pearl Earring.” They did a film about her, and it was enthralling. But only a film. I have looked at that painting many times and other work both done by Vermeer and by different painters of the period. You know, I really want to walk into that painting, into that world. I want to meet that girl. I want to understand if she was really like that or if the painting is only the 17th century equivalent of a 21st-century billboard or photo shoot. I want to take her to a bar, right there in her city, and drink ale and laugh and maybe even make love to her.
That girl, whoever she was, has been dead for well over 400 years. But I am still searching for her.
As I was immersed in fantasy, my wife called me to dinner. I yelled “OK, I’m coming !” and soon the dogs were gathering round for their portion of my meal. I spent the rest of the evening with a wife and dogs that in fact could have been different; she could have been a different woman, and they might have been different dogs… I would have adjusted to that and returned later to the Girl with the Pearl Earring.
But there they were, and just then something in me cried out: “Eric, stop being such a stupid cunt.”
And I decided that I was a pretty lucky guy, after all, there in the kitchen with the only family I have — safe and well-fed, while outside there was the night that is very very dark and endless…
===Eric Richard Leroy===
BY EDGAR ALLAN POE
A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
Had journeyed long,
Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.
But he grew old—
This knight so bold—
And o’er his heart a shadow—
Fell as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.
And, as his strength
Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow—
‘Shadow,’ said he,
‘Where can it be—
This land of Eldorado?’
‘Over the Mountains
Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,’
The shade replied,—
‘If you seek for Eldorado!’