Outward or inward?
Sunday morning was unusually sunny, quiet and beautiful in an autumnal way. The usually lively Lesya Ukrainka Boulevard pleased me with the absence of cars. A black Land Cruiser sharply took off from the restaurant, crossed three traffic lanes at an acute angle and stood in the furthest lane at the traffic light. At the green light, it suddenly made a prohibited left turn and entered the lane with the opposite direction. How the driver of the speeding car didn’t collide with him is a mystery. Surely he was as shocked as I was. Too great was the contrast between the calm morning and the tragedy that miraculously had not happened.
The man puts on three masks, being highly disturbed by the world’s statistics of the spread of Covid. He stays up nights waiting for a tactical nuclear strike. He spends a lot of energy and time trying to understand what really happened at the 20th meeting of the Chinese Communist Party. But then, not waiting for the universal apocalypse, he chokes on a fishbone, gets seriously ill from stress, gets into a fight with strangers, or swerves into the oncoming lane at a stroke. It turns out that the greatest danger to him is not something or someone, but himself.
If man were a rational being, as economists believe, he would realize the absurdity of his anxieties about events over which he not only has no control, but cannot even influence them. However, the redundancy of such experiences suggests that emotion plays a key role here. Event X symbolizes something so intolerable to this person that he literally can neither eat, nor sleep, nor work, nor live. Careful introspection in psychotherapy, for example, may reveal that behind the disturbing symbol is an entirely different object Y, whose roots stretch back decades. It turns out that whatever environment this person is placed in, he will find a representation of Y everywhere, to then fear, crave, hate or save it.
It seems to me that this insight is hopeful. For unlike global events, in knowing yourself, you have absolute power in your hands. True, the flip side of it is the responsibility for the gap between what you have and what you want. Which probably explains why so few people are willing to look inward rather than outward.
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