For the love of adventure

December 1, 2009

I saw the movie “2012″ few days ago. It was a story about fear, desperation and survival. A story about how very rich people got to buy themselves a way out of the end of the earth, while everyone else dies. It wasn’t portrayed as a bad thing, it was simply what’s so. “And it is what’s so”, I thought afterwards. “It is a picture of reality, but oh, what a reality that is! What a world to live in! ” “This is not my reality”, I thought in self defense, and then I read an article about a certain painkiller that was sold on Ukraine. It was an over the counter medicine, cheap and available to everyone. After taking about 5 pills the drug acted like heroin, and was just as addictive. It was called “the kid’s drug” because it was so cheap that everyone could afford it. The story was about kids who started taking it when they were 6, 7 years old. As their bodies adjusted to the drug they needed more and more pills, they would take 20, 30 at a time, few times a day. At some point someone realized what the painkiller really is and it was discontinued. There were no more pills in stores, the factories producing it have been closed, but hundreds of thousands of addicted children remained. Having no other choice they turned to heroine. The 6 year old boy grew up to be 19, his body completely devastated, in constant pain. He walked on crutches. His blood vessels are destroyed by years of being pierced with needles, several times every single day. There are blood clots in his veins that could kill him at any time. This young man has been under the influence of some drug or another since he was 6. Out of fear, out of pain, he has chosen to intoxicate himself nearly every day of his life. There was not a day in his life, except in early childhood, when he was present, when he was real, when he was here. This is a reality, I know, but oh, what a reality this is! What a way to live! What a world to live in! “This is not my reality”, I thought in self defense, and then I saw a movie on youtube about how albinos are persecuted in some African countries. They are considered evil, broken, they will not be employed, they will not be send to school as it’s considered a waist of money to educate an albino, everybody knows that they are retarder, too stupid to learn. At the same time their body parts are supposed to have magical powers so they are hounted, their legs and arms are cut off and sold on a black market. “So what do I do?” I wondered when I walked my dog tonight, “what do I do about that?” As I recalled all the stories of fear, survival, pain, disaster, I thought: “how do we know what reality is?” How do we know what is real, and what is not? How do we know “how life is”? How do we know “how it is done”? We are told, I realized. By parents, by teacher, by priests, by TV, by movies, by books, by reporters. We are told by all the stories being told. There are some of us who will go and look for their own answers, for their own ways and for their own truths but, for the most part, we are told. I myself am working on a story right now. It is about a girl who stumbles into a magical realm and is presented with a quest. It is a dangerous quest, it may claim her life … it may not … no one really knows. No one can tell her what will happen when she enters the magical forest, no one can tell her if she’ll return or not. No one can tell her how she will change, no one can tell her what to do or how to do it. I gave the outline of my story to a couple of friends and asked for their opinion. They both said, more or less, the same thing: there needs to be a villain we will have to confront. There needs to be danger, there needs to be fear, there needs to be a disaster that will motivate her, otherwise why would a girl undertake the quest? Why would she go one the journey? Why would she take the risk, rather than simply go back home to her parents? I thought about what they said and the more I thought, the more I begun to realize that if there was a villain who would force the girl to act, if there was a disaster that the girl could not escape other than by confronting it, if there was so much fear that she could not refuse the journey, then this story would be no different than the other stories I heard lately. It would be no different than a story of terrified people forgetting everything and everyone just to survive. It would be no different than the story of a young boy so afraid of life that he chose to be permanently unconscious. It would be the same story as that of african people fearing the albinos and attacking, to destroy what they fear. It would be the same story, a story of people acting out of fear, out of pain, to survive, to overcome a disaster. And even if my story ended with success, even if the girl overcame the evil and saved the world, even if the girl turned out to be a hero in the end, she would still do it because she had to. Because there was evil, because there was a disaster, because there was fear. Because she had no choice. So if we know what is real, “how people are”, “how things work” by being told, then I am going to tell a different story. From this way forward, here is a story I am going to tell, over and over again: there once was a girl who found herself in a world of magic and embarked upon a quest. She didn’t have to do it. There was no disaster to avert, there was no danger, there was no evil to deal with. Nothing would happen if she refused, she could simply go back home. But she didn’t. She chose to go on a journey not because she was forced or manipulated, but because she wanted to. She chose to go on the journey because the world was full of magic, full of wonderful mysteries waiting to be uncovered, filled untold miracles waiting to be experienced. A world where anything could happen. She chose to go on the journey for the love of adventure. This is my story, and if what is reality is what we are being told, then this is what I am telling you: there doesn’t need to be fear, there doesn’t need to be pain and there doesn’t need to be a disaster. We all can have a life full of adventure, we all can become heros and change reality into a magical realm not because we have to, but because we want to. For the love of adventure.

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