Monday, October 20, 2008

The Age of Stupidity and a Terrible Nightmare

I've been wanting to write this post for a long time, even though I'm not sure whether anyone will be interested in reading it. Oh well!

When the quarter started I was less excited to start a new school year than I have ever been. I realized it's probably because I'm now at a stage in life where I'd rather be out doing things than sitting in a classroom, or at a desk, thinking and writing. I have entered the life stage which as an adolescent I thought of as "the Age of Stupidity."

Don't ask me why exactly I thought people between the ages of 20 and 50 were so much more foolish than those younger and older. It just seemed like the people who run the world, who really have power to move and change things, are too close to the action, and too wrapped up in what they are doing to stop and gain perspective.

I had a dream last month--don't worry, I'll spare you the details. It started out as your typical nightmare--dark and stormy night, I open the front door, and there's this huge, crazy looking caucasian man with a rusty, three foot long machete. He clearly intends to murder me and my family (this is at my father's house), so I struggle with the guy and eventually get the knife blade up against his neck. I offer to let him go before the police arrive, but he refuses, continues to struggle, I cut his throat, and he drops dead, oozing blood all over the place.

As I'm trying to clean up the blood and everything, I think to myself "I guess I'll feel bad that I killed him now," but I don't feel bad about it at all
--it was in self defense, after all. As I'm wondering what the police will say and do when they show up, the alarm goes off and I wake up.

It was a very disturbing dream. Thinking about it afterward, I understood it in contrast to a couple nightmares I had as a teenager--where there was a murderous intruder in the house, and I tried calling the police but they weren't going to come, and I felt completely powerless. In this dream, I was very much in control of the situation. But that didn't make it less disturbing, because I ended up being the one who killed someone.

So anyway, feeling powerful can be just as terrible as feeling powerless. And perhaps that explains why this is the Age of Stupidity--because you have to make weighty decisions, and some of them will turn out badly, and you'll end up looking like a fool, or worse. But there's no avoiding it--or rather, avoiding it is a foolish choice, also.

1 comment:

jenzai studio said...

I love this entry. I wish I had more time to write about it thoughtfully! I'm pretty sure there is a connection between what you are writing about and the first step of AA - admitted we were powerless over fill-in-the-blank and that our lives had become unmanageable. I think it has to do with operating (or striving to operate) from a place of humility. There are some of us who just can't handle power and need to be reminded on a daily basis where our power really comes from - otherwise we do unbelievable stupid (and tragic) things. Actually, I still do lots of stupid things but they mostly seem to be redeemed by grace, thank goodness. Nothing like growing up in public.