Everything seems so huge when we’re small, and then shrinks to catch up with us. As our awareness gets bigger, everything we are familiar with begins to seem smaller, more self-contained, better understood. It’s not so much, really, that our world grows smaller, or that it grows simpler, but more than we begin to store our thoughts in shorthand, to ignore the details which seem irrelevant, the details which used to delight and overwhelm and terrify us. We make our world a set for the play we make every day, and once we have thus reduced our circumstances we wish we had something more – we wish we had something with the vividness of the dreams at night where we remember how things used to be, before the lacquers we layered on the surface of our lives rendered them slick, frictionless, small, and simple.
We want something that can be what the things we once craved were, back when we craved them. We want something bigger then what we have, too big to really be comprehended, and we often only want it because it is beyond comprehension. For every fear of the unknown there is an opposing lust: Some choose to follow their fear, seek safety and stability, and some follow their lust, seek excitement and incomprehensibility, and neither will ever be entirely satisfied.
Familiarity breeds contempt, they say. Familiarity, perhaps, is contempt – a blithe certainty that that which you know shall always remain just as you know it, constant, unchanging, preserved in amber or carbonite. What a terrible thing to believe of someone you call friend.
Maybe this is just a fancy way of saying that we are fascinated by novelty. Maybe I could have just said that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Maybe this is just a lot of words to say that we take a lot for granted. I don’t seek to moralize, though. I don’t want to say that one life is better than another, that you should satisfy yourself with what you have now or that what you seek is necessarily better or worse for your seeking it. I just want to express how when we stare at one thing for too long we cease to see it and start to see just our memory of it, subject to the same degradations as all memory. I just want to tell the story of a prisoner who escapes his cell and revels in his freedom, despite that he has only managed to break into the adjoining cell. I just want to know why sometimes it feels like the world around me isn’t real any more, is just a place that happened to me a long time ago, and that the future or imaginary worlds I wrap around myself seem so much realer, so much more detailed.
There is no frame of reference. The exotic will shift to the everyday will shift to the nostalgic, out of reach at all points, in an elliptical orbit around the center of yourself, perhaps implying by eccentricity where your heart actually lies.