Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Elephant of Desire

I am searching for the Elephant of Desire.  
It's from that parable, where a bunch of blind men encounter an elephant.  Thinking about it, the situation should make it clear that it's just a parable.  How often do a bunch of blind people get together and stumble across an elephant?  
You know the parable I'm talking about though, right?  The blind people approach the elephant from different directions, and each one gets a different impression of what the elephant is like.  One feels the elephant's legs and says it's like a tree.  Another feels its side and says it's like a wall.  Another feels its tail and says it's like rope.  Another the trunk, and he then claims an elephant is like a snake.  
I think about this parable quite often because I think it describes something very important in the human condition.  That people often deal with only the outer manifestation of things, the tip of the iceberg to borrow another metaphor, and think they are dealing with that matter entirely.  
I think it applies to our desires, too.  
Everyone wants something.  A lot of the things we want are the same.  At the very basis of everything is the desire to stay alive.  And for that, we want food.  We want water.  We want to be able to breathe.  
From that point it gets more complicated.  Once we're alive, other things get wanted.  
Evolutionary geneticists will tell us that it all comes down to reproduction.  That our genes "want" to replicate, and will drive us to behave in ways that will foster that replication.  Like wanting to live, I think the desire to mate is there in foundation of who we are, but I know that it becomes more complicated than that very quickly.  I know a number of people, myself included, who have, either by conscious choice or due to inclinations from the personality, subverted or avoided the impulse for replication.  
But I do think something is there.  There is an Elephant of Desire inside me.  One singular thing that, if obtained, would encompass all the other things I want.  Obtaining this Elephant would give me the ability to obtain all other desires, or would reveal them to be unnecessary.  Illusionary wants that were borrowed from society or upbringing that were filling in for the real thing.  
So, as I stumble through the darkness of my own self-ignorance, here are the things my blind intentions have found.  Pieces of my personal elephant of desire that I'm trying to shape in my mind.  
I want...
To finish the novel I've been working on for the past two years.  To publish it.  To have it become popular.  To have people read it and email me to tell me how much they enjoyed it and complain about how long it's taking me to finish the sequel.  
I want to read, speak and write Japanese as fluently as I read, speak and write English.  
I want to see the lady wearing the wide-brimmed black hat coming out of Trader Joe's the other day naked.  And if you had seen her you'd want to see her naked to.  
I want to have enough "game" where I could approach the lady with the wide-brimmed black hat and tell her of my desire to see her naked without getting slapped across the face.  Or arrested.  
I want that one...  Over there.  No, no...  The other way.  To the right.  Yeah, THAT one.
I want to have a brand new, never before experienced thought every day.  
I want the letter "E" stricken from the English language.  If you listened to Steve Martin's "Cruel Shoes" album back in the 80's, you'd know why.  
I want to know if she is thinking about me.  I want to know in advance what she'd do if I called her.  
I want to form a religion where the highest moral virtue is learning how to leave other people alone (as long as they are not hurting anyone else).  
I want my brain hooked into a computer network where I can get the answer to any question just like that.  
I want to find a place that sells pizza as good as Rocky's New York pizza, the pizzeria near our house when I was a kid.  
I want to sell more short stories.  
I want to get to the point where I can send out short stories more often because I'm no longer fearful of the emotional cut I feel when a story is rejected.  
I want to find a way to play online baseball professionally.  I want my team, the Pasadena Blu-Cru, to be the most feared online baseball dynasty ever.  
I want to be a better person that I claim to be.  
I want to be 35 again because 35 is the perfect age for a man.  It's well past the point where people think of you as being "just a kid," but young enough to where you can still depend only on yourself to get things done. 
I want to sleep eight hours straight through the way, without tossing and turning or waking up in the middle of the night, the way I used to.  
I want Mom and Dad to be there when I call them for as long as there are phones.  
I want a vacation home on the moon.  I want to put a transparent cover over a good sized crater.  Fill the enclosure with breathable atmosphere and create a self-supporting biosphere.  I want to build my living quarters in the slopes of the crater and the entire bottom would be a giant park.  The first thing I would do once I'd moved in would be to put a pair of wings on my arms and fly over this landscape just so I could think, as I'm sure eagles do when soaring, "This is my domain."  
I want to live in Japan for a year.  And during that year, during the winter, I want to bathe in a hot springs with a bunch of monkeys.  Why?  Because it's a hot springs full of monkeys!  How cool is that?  
I want an overlay that puts a balloon over the heads of everyone around me and tells me, through a quick, non-invasive analysis of their data output, which would be the people I could be friends with and which might be a threat.  
I want go to outer space.  I want to see the Earth, with my own eyes, from orbit.  
I want the Dodgers to win the World Series this year.  And next year.  And the year after that.  
I want to know what's going on over there.  
I want a sense of peaceful calm to descend on me at a random moment each and every day.  It would be like rebooting my brain.  
I want to see tomorrow.  
I want to find a way to make my imaginary worlds real, so other people can come and play with me.
I want to not want so much.  
I want to see all of these pieces come together in my head, like a slow motion video run in reverse.  It would be like seeing the Big Bang that created everything run in reverse, to the point where everything was one.  And when these desires have returned to the hot, dense state they enjoyed when part of the unified desire I believe they came from, I want to be able to look at it and say, "Oh, yeah...  That's what it is," and feel content.
And then, I want to give it a peanut.  


Post a Comment

<< Home