The familiarity of the distant world

Sometimes we fantasise how it would feel to live in a world full of elves, trolls, fairies, giants, hobbits, unicorns and, of course, dragons. We see ourselves drifting towards that realm of fantasy, which we idealise as a much better world than our own. More suited for our spirit.

But if we had been living in such a world, if dragons and elves and fairies were customary, accepted as our daily reality, wouldn’t it come a day when we would feel exactly as we feel about our world? How long would it take us to get rid of the trees so that we could build our cities to protect ourselves from the dragons and trolls, gather, and thrive? How long to cut ourselves from nature and alienate us?

We imagine ourselves enjoying new forms of life in another world when we are incapable of enjoying them in this one. Why would it be different if we were living among elves? Would we then appreciate the beauty of a tree, of a flower, of a river? Would we stop and listen to the water, or would we just cross it as soon as possible to see what’s on the other side, to find a newer reality? When will it be enough, when will we be satisfied?


Our brain has evolved to keep wanting more. The reward centre keeps increasing its demands to make us ‘happy’, conquest after conquest, novelty after novelty. The wheel cannot stop.

What if we were able to stand still and look right in front of us for a long while with our full attention? What might we discover if we were able to be ‘here’? Who knows, maybe we would discover some magic around us.

We travel, we walk, we run, sometimes we fly… but I have the feeling that it is the world that moves, that I am always in the same spot. Always me.

Sometimes I fantasise that I meet Hermann Hesse. It is exciting at first, but in the end, I can easily imagine him asking “What else do you want from me?”. Indeed, what else…? Everything I would expect from him is to reflect my own projection. Why would I expect some form of ultimate revelation, a hidden secret he didn’t write about in his books?

Truth cannot be given to you by somebody. You have to discover it; and to discover, there must be a state of mind in which there is direct perception. There is no direct perception when there is a resistance, a safeguard, a protection. Understanding comes through being aware of what is. To know exactly what is, the real, the actual, without interpreting it, without condemning or justifying it, is, surely, the beginning of wisdom.

Jiddu Krishnamurti The first and last freedom

We keep hoping for someone else to save us. To unveil the Truth. To unroot us from here and transport us to Paradise. What makes us think that ‘not-here’ or ‘not-us’ is going to be any better than ‘us-here’? We need to accept the world – and us in it – as it is. And we need to be more aware of the reality we have just in front of our eyes. A little attention reveals marvels.