Judge people neither by their diligence or intelligence; judge them by their taste and sensibility towards poetry, art and the woeful state of the world in which we live in.
In the beginning, there was nothing.
In the end, too — nothing.
And in between there were brightness, music, God, and myself.
To awaken in the woods,
and breathe the air of the mourning sun —
silent murmur of the sleeping giant.
In the world of the future, people are sent into a giant hypnosis perfected by the authorities. A world corrupt with the power of money, it is crammed with shops and discounts, with greed and instant happiness.
There was one person who once escaped it, and continued to live in the “real” life, and that person was myself… Like all dreams, I went into this one without warning, feeling instantaneously nostalgic; I knew that it wasn’t the first time I had had that dream. Last time, I managed to escape above all by means of wanting to know the truth; I began suspecting the “dream” world when I found an I.D. in my pocket not belonging to myself, but somehow I knew it was actually myself. From that moment on, I always tried to go outside the town, but in every single corner of the town I’d always find guardians and gatekeepers, and no one was allowed out. Everyone knew this as a fact, but no one suspected it. People just seemed to think of it as being strict rules governed by the authorities, designed to protect and maintain the citizens’ life safe inside the town. But I was not the same; I knew that everything here was artificial. How I managed to wake from the first dream I couldn’t remember clearly, but in the second dream I knew that I had once lived in the same dream before, in a very long life, before finally being able to escape. The first time I had this dream, I remember, it was also the same thing: everywhere in the ends of the town there was always some guardians around; people who tried to go out were observed, arrested and finally exiled.
Ultimately, everyone who lived there was to be shot to death by the authorities, but no one seemed to realize it for two reasons, the first being that of innocence, since they do not know they are dreaming, and the second being that of ignorance, since they do not want to know the painful truth, and had chosen to live in the moment’s comfort. In fact the nightmare only began the moment one would wake from the dream: I was fortunate enough to be able to escape after living for a long time in it. The horror lies not in the possibility of being punished for ignorance; it lies in being trapped for a long time in an illusory world.
In the dream world, I had another family, some friends, and a completely different personality. I had grown to love them, and in turn I knew they loved me too. Since this wasn’t the first time I had been in this dream, I had the feeling that it was fake, but the feeling I had to the people close to me was indubitably genuine. I tried telling other people that they should escape, and that it was all but only a dream, but everyone looks at me with distrusting eyes. Another person I knew in the town, who I thought was very familiar, also found an I.D. in his pocket, and knew that something was wrong. I managed to find some other people with the same “mistake”, and we thought of a way to wake up. There was five of us.
A big festival was coming to town, and everyone was led to go there; there were authorities guarding the ends of the streets, even more numerous than before. It seemed that the authorities had calculated the possibilities of letting some people escape, especially in an event as big as this, and so they assembled many more guardians to guard the gates of the town. To my eyes the sight of them was much too suspicious, but to everyone else, it was probably only too exciting. In my previous dream, in this festival the townspeople were being gathered in a large plaza, where we would then be shot to death. We were led just as prisoners were led to the galleys, the only difference lying in the sentiment flying around the air; the sentiment of ignorant joy. From inside the crowd my eyes would look for a space where I could run away into the woods, but the town was too dehumanized; there was too many straight lines and everything was systematized; the only way out was through the gates and the gatekeepers and the guardians of the town. Surprisingly, we heard news that some people desperately tried to run through the gate, but ultimately failed. These people are then sent to someplace that no one knows, and disappeared without trace. They must have known that everything was a nightmare and they had to wake at all costs.
The five of us got into the same bus which would travel to the festival, some minutes away from the town. Everything went smoothly as planned by the authorities, and we realized if this kept up everyone would be ultimately extinguished, both from the dream and from the waking reality.
I was worried some authority would find out the crime I had been then as a person who knew something which other townspeople didn’t, so I was nervous and had the feeling of being watched all the time. I didn’t know how, but all of sudden the realization came to me that the dream world would end when I push a button on my watch. I was then sitting on the back of the bus where few people could watch. Making sure first that no one could see me, I pushed the escape button. My other friends were in the front end of the bus, so I walked forwards and told them that this world was going to end in thirty seconds. The buildings were starting to collapse and the sky was turning dark red, and everyone panicked. The authorities had then lost all authority and was practically powerless.
At a house someplace else, a brother peeked through his windows and saw that the sky was crumbling down; he called his sister and told her to sit down with him and to close their eyes, saying that everything is going to end and that they were going to wake up as strangers to each other. Back at the bus, I found the five of us holding each others’ hands and singing some song which lyrics I couldn’t remember. It was something about life in the dream and the joys of living in it, followed by the realization that it all would end and we had to wake up. At the countdown of three, the dream world was ultimately collapsing, and we raised our hands, hoping someday to meet each other again in the real world. At the count of one, we said the word goodbye loudly, and a moment later everything was black. It was nine o’ clock in the waking world.
It was nightfall. My family and I were walking down a sloping path of an unnamed mountain. Occasional clouds floated on the night sky, drifting slowly and irregularly. The moon basked the earth with its gentle, serene light. There was a streamlet running beneath a small log bridge, longing as it flowed for the bottommost parts of the land; we had to cross it in order to go deeper into the forest. On our left was a little, beautifully moonlit waterfall. It was a rather peculiar time to walk on the mountain, and there was no one to be seen. Not far from the bridge was this gigantic gate made of bricks, mildly covered in moss. My right hand stretched itself mechanically and pushed one side of the gate, but it was unsurprisingly heavy, so my left hand stretched itself reluctantly to help out. The gate opened and there on a large field of dark green, under the faintly blue clouds and the bright, solitary moon, were several other people, maybe five or six of them; they were standing around what seemed to be a fence of a ranch. The wind whistled and the grass, in response to it, rustled indolently, and instead of a herd of sheep, to our surprise, we caught sight of a giant cinnamon bear. People were watching them just outside the wooden fence — in fact they were leaning on it; undoubtedly there wasn’t sufficient gap to provide a protection for both the animal and the audience. It gave one the impression that the animal posed no actual threat to humans, or that it was docile as a lamb — after all, it did look like it was a ranch designed for domestic sheep! Everything seemed at peace inside the gate. Convinced enough that it was safe to proceed, we slowly walked through the gate, not keeping in mind to close the doors behind as they were before we came. We didn’t intend to take a closer look at the bear, so we walked straight to go deeper into the park, keeping distance from the fence. As peaceful as things were, it seemed more natural to keep away from the danger of being attacked by a giant cinnamon bear that the animal was. I did, however, watch the bear as I walked, and as I did, the bear in turn stared back with intent eyes, as though not liking the idea of being watched only from afar. Like a police catching sight of a criminal, or that of a cat to a rodent, it moved slowly towards our direction. Terrified, I started walking faster, my eyes still fixed to those of the animal, and his in turn to mine, and he, too, gradually increased his pace. Realizing that the peaceful night was turning into a nightmare, my family and I, with our hands clasping tightly together into one another, started running through the vast fields of grass to the other side of the ranch. The other visitors stood and watched silently, as though ignorant of the possible hazards of an angered animal upon human lives. But soon I realized that the reason for their carelessness is that the animal posed no threat to them, since it was us — or perhaps, I only — that he was angry to. I wondered about such unfairness — what have I done that angered him so? Was it maybe because I hadn’t dared to pay a closer look at him? But I had no privilege to amuse myself with idle reflections since I had not the time for it — saving myself my life, I remember, and those of my family, was by far more pressing at the time. So we kept running with our two feet, and as I glanced back I could see that in no time the animal would outrun us — he was running twice as fast, as he was running with all his four limbs. We ran harder, though still only with our two feet; at the other side, the gates had been closed and were strangely guarded by some guardians, so we turned left and got behind some thick brick walls. I felt as though we were led to go there. We met more people there, hiding; it seemed that, like us, they had also been chased by the animal and found themselves cornered here. The sheer realization that there are other people who suffered the same conditions as we did then a little calmed my heart; I gathered my courage and peeked through the rusty bars; I could see the bear in a distance, his eyes searching intently, frantically. He roared and slammed the ground several times, sending shockwaves through the ground; everytime a wave approached I would jump, my hands holding the bars, so that I wouldn’t need to suffer the impact they would give to my body. There in the corner, even though helpless, we had our lives safe and sound. For a long while I kept sight of the cinnamon bear in my eyes as he cried in desperation. As though growing tired, the interval between one slam to the next increased; the animal gradually calmed down — as did my eyes as I slowly woke from my evening slumber …
On a quiet Thursday evening, I decided to have a short promenade along the windy beach not far from where I lived. The waves, as though desperately in need to reach the land, were rolling and sinking incessantly, extending far above the daytime shoreline. It had been awhile since I last saw a sunset, and since the weather was fine and the sky clear I figured it would be nice to go to the beach. The sun is radiating its subtle, soft light to the sea, coloring the landscape partially red and partially yellow. Its brightness was tender and gentle, unlike in the middle of the day. I could stare at it as long as I want to and still not get my eyes hurt. A giant tide was working its way to the beach; parents call out their kids, warning them not to go too far out to sea since it’s late in the evening and the tides can get surprisingly big. As a tide hits the shores, I caught a glimpse of a glimmering object: it was a seashell.
All of a sudden I had this restless thought about the nature of coincidence. We regard them as something that came as a surprise, as an instant which we didn’t expect to happen, but happens all the same — isn’t that just like this scene? I thought it fair to say that coincidentally, the sun shone its weak particles of light which the ocean quietly accepts and absorbs, spreading them down to the bottom of the sea crusts, giving life to abyssal creatures and bacterias that later on would create life ashore, on to the mainland and up to the soaring heights of Kilimanjaro. To put a bleaker point on it, one could say that this proves that things might happen for no reason at all. Someone can explain coolly the exact process of how things happen, but no one can fully convince me why. Things are presented to us as they are, but inevitably people sees them as they do. It seemed that the longer I live, the more life had struck me as a mystery; there are far too many questions that are left unanswered — even those that are answered are seldom satisfying. Life had honed me the skill to naturally accept things unquestioningly, just as the river flows into the sea. It may only be laziness on my part, but for the moment I thought it feels better this way.
A kid shouted something just behind where I stood motionlessly; its suddenness sent me back to the sensuous world. Once I had my senses back to work, I realized that I’ve been staring at the disappearing sun. It was already halfway sinking into the ocean. Everything is a planned coincidence; I think it’s a fascinating thing that in this world there is always a sunset at every moment.
Each time I think of something I always seem to forget it immediately; just when I feel I had found an answer, it would escape my mind — gently, slowly and quietly. So many riddles had been solved, yet at the same time remain unanswered. Perhaps every drop of honey, no matter sweet or foul, only demands to be savoured fully for the sake of enjoyment. The taste of honey surpasses all fields of reason; the thought of it is forever entrapped in the cold, impersonal steel of rigid rationality.
Along the moss-ridden path
I walk in slow pace,
to the top of the mountain
—by way of mistake.