Sunday, 4 January 2009

Pandora's Box

I keep having imaginary conversations with people. I assume most people do. But mine are visceral. I end up mouthing my replies, and can see in my mind's eye the other person, in their setting, as if it's real. I've always had a knack for that. It makes me very tense. It's as if you have all the arguments you could potentially have in a lifetime or twenty.

I wish I could channel it to some purpose, but these days, it's generally a dead-end.

Anyway, this evening it was the smooth young youth of a psychiatrist I was arguing with. I won't bore you with the details, but it involved how the human race can turn a theory as simple and as self-evident as Malthus' into a 'disproved' theory.

Well, in my argument I realised I was going to cry, thinking how the human-race-salesman-par-excellence had sold me the same golden story, and now I had three children, and hence the urge to weep, and I wasn't going to have that, not in front of that bastard, so I changed the subject and asked him if he knew the Pandora story.

"Yes, of course," he replied, frowning slightly.

"Well, the last thing that came out of the box, can you remember what that was?"


"Hope. Does that ring a bell?"

"Ah yes! Hope."

"And was it a good or bad thing?"

I gave up the mental games there. Most bullshitty versions of the story have Hope as the gift of solace from the gods after all of the evils have been unleashed upon humankind. The original story, from the Ancient Greek, has Hope as the ultimate evil, because it keeps us being ignorant, it keeps us lying to ourselves, it keeps us from making the world better.

Hopelessness is a greater spur to action than Hope. After all, what have we got to lose?

Sorry. Just had to get that off my chest.

Edit: and while I'm being grotty, some music (warning, it's the Ballad of Hollis Brown):

It won't be me down that road though.


Lola Snow said...

I am probably a little overexcited to hear that you have conversations in your head but mouth the answers too! I do it, and can waste hours without noticing the time passing.

Lola x

LoopyKate said...

Yeh me to!

I'm the same in that I abandoned 'hope' several years ago and switched to 'hopelessness'. I find it works much better for me. Everything is as it is. I don't expect much and I'm rarely dissappointed. But I think for many, especially those of more tender years, hope still has its uses. It takes a certain mind and disposition to adjust to terminal hopelessness. I'm quite certain I was genetically predisposed to cynnicism, atheism and hopelessness since despite the attempts at intense indoctrination,nothing remotely 'hopeful' or wishful would stick. Plus I have a scientific outlook and tend to apply 'scientific method' to most of life. That way, hope tends to be be substituted by 'what if?'. This usually makes things less dissappointing and sometimes more fun.
But it's different strokes for different folks.
Liked your poem btw!

differentlysane said...

I too am quite excited and squealing at the screen cos I do that! Although the conversations in my head are not nearly as intellectual. I've always suspected it was fairly common, besides as my mum used to say, "it's better talking to yourself, at least you get the right answers." Although I don't always, but that's a whole other story.

Hope - good or evil? I'm going with ultimate cop out that it depends. Pinning all your hopes on winning the lottery - probably not a good idea. But too much hopelessness on my part and I tend to get disheartened and just give up. I have to believe that there's a chance of change or improvement otherwise what's the point of trying? I guess it's the kind of hope that our actions will have an effect on our lives, acting as a motivator as opposed to the if I sat on my backside maybe things will improve on their own type of hope.


Abysmal Musings said...

Strange to see how daydreams arguments or pointless enacting of imaginary situations got a chorus of recognition there. It's better than a film, I tell you... Daydreaming is common enough - it just sounds that we must have a more vivid way of throwing ourselves into the scene. I asked someone recently, and they replied that they never daydream that vividly. Funny thought is: if you lose track of time and reality for a few minutes while inhabiting that world, are you technically delusional? :-)

Marian said...

Hope, or - cynical - hopelessness. Are there only those two options to choose between? Differently wrote: "I have to believe..." Faith. And faith is not the same as hope. Faith is now. Hope is not-now, the future, one fine day. But it will never be not-now, the future, one fine day. "It's always being now, (...) It's always now..." -Van Morrison, On Hyndford Street