Want not want

Photo by  Parag Sharma  on  Unsplash

Photo by Parag Sharma on Unsplash

Fantasies have to be unrealistic because the moment, the second that you get what you seek, you don’t, you can’t want it anymore. In order to continue to exist, desire must have its objects perpetually absent. It’s not the ‘it’ that you want, it’s the fantasy of ‘it.’ So, desire supports crazy fantasies. This is what Pascal means when he says that we are only truly happy when daydreaming about future happiness. Or why we say ‘the hunt is sweeter than the kill.’ Or ‘be careful what you wish for.’ Not because you’ll get it, but because you’re doomed not to want it once you do. So the lesson of Lacan is, living by your wants will never make you happy. What it means to be fully human is to strive to live by ideas and ideals, and not to measure your life by what you’ve attained in terms of your desires but those small moments of integrity, compassion, rationality, even self-sacrifice. Because in the end, the only way that we can measure the significance of our own lives is by valuing the lives of others.
— from the film "The Life of David Gale"

As long as we accept we can choose

For as long as I remember, I've been afraid to love—to love in the purest sense.

There are these lines from Lord Tennyson's poem, In Memoriam A.H.H.

I hold it true, whate'er befall;

I feel it when I sorrow most;

'Tis better to have loved and lost

Than never to have loved at all.

I’ve been an ardent advocate of the opposition, especially as I’ve grown older. Yet throughout my life, through the good choices and the terrible ones, this is true: it is the very thing I’m drawn to—a moth circling an ever-burning flame.

We cannot know love without loss. The profound pain of loss and the nature of love itself—immense, vast beyond comprehension, infinite—is deceptively terrifying. I say “deceptively” because I’ve glimpsed it and survived.

This video, When I Die: Lessons from the Death Zone, was deeply moving to me. If you’re also on a quest to overcome the fear to love, I hope this inspires you too.



There’s a story I read several years ago; it comes and goes like a familiar ghost, but lately it’s more and more present. To me, it’s one of the simplest, most poignant allegories on the human condition—as long as you’re willing to look beyond theological constructs. Sometimes, when I bump up against labels and the like, I find approaching any information as one would a fable or a childhood story yields a refreshing flexibility of mind.

This excerpt is from How To Know God: The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali. If you’re unfamiliar with Eastern Philosophy, as I am, the only term that’s helpful to know beforehand, ahem, is “Atman.” Simply put: it means the real Self.  

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