Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Frustrated Cosmonaut

A reader writes (in response to that video I keep flogging over and over again, wherein a cosmonaut transforms hellish noise into heavenly rapture via a shift of perspective):
" I tried really hard late last night to turn the sound of my downstairs neighbor's television into 1) the sound of people I care about chatting and 2) the sound of people I care about watching TV.  I knew I wouldn't get far trying to turn it into music a la the cosmonaut since it was only audible at random moments.  I failed, but eventually got to sleep anyway.  I guess it takes some practice."
You didn't put enough effort into that!

You are from Uganda, and your young children were taken from you by warlords. You passed an agonizing decade not knowing whether they were dead or alive and assuming you'd never see them again. Then, while traveling to another city, you were serendipitously reunited. They'd escaped the warlord but couldn't figure out how to get home. Overjoyed beyond words, you packed them into your car and drove them back home, where you all enjoyed a celebratory feast, and, after many hugs and tears, you finally went to bed. Your kids, happy and relieved to be back in the family living room, stay up watching television. As you turn out your light and pull up your blankets, you notice the noise, and your immediate instinct is to ask them to turn down the volume. But, no; you decide the sound of your beloved long-lost children right there in the next room, safe and cozy, enjoying the TV, is so dear to your heart that you wouldn't change a thing. After a decade of starkly silent nights, you drift off to the first deep slumber you've experienced in a very long time.

Seems like a long way to go? Is it a bit bit loopy and deranged to invest so much mental energy in sheer fantasy? As I wrote here:
"Human beings spend their lives in conflict with imaginary people: mentally rearguing old arguments, worrying about faceless attackers and detractors, reliving bygone humiliations, and generally using our imaginations to make our lives a living hell. That's considered "normal", but using the same faculty in positive ways to help us cope seems, for some reason, childish and loopy."
On the other hand, while it's critical to cope well with what can't be changed, that imperative oughtn't be used to avoid dealing with what can be changed. So your best solution might be to tell those idiots to turn down their damned TV!

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