When you’re a kid you can believe anything. You can create any world you want. Society calls that pretending, and it’s fine. We celebrate the imagination of children and their right to play, to dream. We pretend we think it’s sacred, and we know beneath thought that it is.
At our best maybe we even defend their right. We tend to let marketing entities creep into their imaginations via entertainment because we’re all trying to do everything always and sacrifices are made. Screens are the demons of the age. We know better, we pull back, we minimize exposure and put them in dirt and water and what passes for wilderness in the terrarium we call a planet now. But the point is to try, to let discovery exist and inspire.
Then a kid gets to a certain age, and society decides it’s time to commandeer the imagination. “Ok, kid, you’re a master of hallucination. Now pretend we’re right. Pretend we know more than you and you have to do what we do or else you’re crazy.” We do what was done to us, without knowing.
And the order goes on. “Pretend all this is normal and ideal and worth the pain. Pretend your worth comes from the degree to which you can normalize a way of life contrary to your needs and instincts. Now forget how to pretend anything else. And don’t ever stop believing in the story we tell you, or you’re cut off. Play our game or you don’t get to play at all.”
We’re in an abusive relationship with ourselves and each other. All of us. We sign up for this and we cooperate. We synchronize to the slave drum and we wait our turn at both ends of the whip, vigilant against weaknesses in the chains. We slowly acquiesce, giving away our magic and wonder and gratitude and power. We grey and wilt.
We have been told it’s necessary, that we’ll be safe if we go along to get along. Exhausted, we go to sleep under that trance and live out a nightmare punctuated by dreams we don’t allow ourselves to indulge. And some people realize they’re asleep, and learn to dream on purpose.
We need those people right now. The kids greeting the world in this moment and those to come need them so they’ll have something to grow into. You got this far, so I know you are one. So the question I have for you is: What’s it going to be? Will you keep polishing the nightmare with your tears or will you let a little of your blood rebuild the soil in which we once grew dreams?