Ultimate Freedom and Peace of Mind
That would be nice, don’t they think? To attain peace of mind and ultimate freedom? They can find many recipes for it in your local or virtual bookstore and why not? Let’s join them! What is freedom anyway? Doing what you feel like? Or doing what you feel must be done? Or doing nothing at all? I’m confused. I wrote my dissertation about freedom and I have no clue what it is. Isn’t that touching? Can’t you laugh with me about that? You would expect things like “real freedom can only be discovered when you live it” or something along those lines. That might be true. And maybe freedom is not that important after all. It’s a feeling, and as such it has to compete with other feelings like love, compassion, passion, avarice, resentment, nostalgia, envy, pride. Talks about ultimate freedom are a bit suspicious. As if the author wants to earn some quick money and disappear. We all know freedom. Reaching the top of a mountain, looking out in four directions, streching out your arms, closing your eyes. The moment is not a burden, not a weight. We are captivated by the moment, and feel free. Ultimate freedom and being perfectly captivated coincide, that’s an easy insight. Sounds like Hegel. Quote this: “freedom is flying on an eagle wing / having a Hegel fling”. But we soon realize there’s more under the sun than this moment, and we get all conscious of it. We have to expand the domain of our freedom, continually suck in memories of the past as to neutralize it and make it appear present enough to us. If we can lay our hand on it, it is no obstacle for our freedom. It can be weaved in. So freedom becomes some kind of structure of associations, carried by the belief that they represent who we are ourselves thus leaving us with the feeling of being present in a moment in time. The moment that captivates us doesn’t cut us off from the array of moments leading to and from it. So there we are. It’s easy. Instead of climbing a mountain we can also do something else. It doesn’t matter. So long some bad pschology of freedom. Now I want to give a recipe too that is something else. Close your eyes and think about the person you would want to be, the person you would love to be, if there were no restrictions, if nothing would hold you back, not the neighbor’s old barking dog, not the expectations of your social environment, not your own sense of duty, not your wish to imitate somebody else. Think about this person for about ten minutes, as intensely as you can. I mean, you must depict this character razor-sharp edged, it must be more lively than the voice of Tom Jones’ parrot. It has to be unbelievably clear, you must bring him to life in this short time span. Concentrate. And then… you open your eyes and look at your own puzzled face in the mirror. Do you see the person you were just thinking about? Yes? Then you have reached Ultimate Freedom. And by the way, Peace of Mind you get for free.
Harry Potter and the Magic Wand of Inferiority.
In this adventure, Harry Potter will get into some serious trouble. It’s nothing like his last adventure. He used to be so self-confident then, but he gradually lost this self-esteem, and he couldn’t tell you why. What had started as a strange feeling in Harry’s mind evolves in what we would call an inferiority complex. And he is too ashamed to discuss it with Hermine. Days go by, days that seem like weeks for young Harry. He is brooding and forgets to drink his afternoon tea. Hermine has noticed Harry’s bad mood, but she doesn’t speak to him about it.
It is only when the message arrives that the villain Pondergrawl is suffering from a superiority complex, that Harry decides to talk it over. He must have thought it’s less painful this way since he’s not the only one with a complex.
“Hermine”, he says to his friend, “perhaps I can understand Pondergrawl.”
-“Understand him? What do you mean? The villain Pondergrawl is ruthless and he wants to take over Hobscotch and Lindgren. He will destroy everything in his way. There is nothing to understand about that.”
“Listen, Hermine, I think I’m suffering from an inferiority complex.”
Hermine looks as if she is just stung by a wasp.
“You can’t be serious Harry. Think about.. us. If you are inferior, who would I be?”
-“I’m not inferior, I am only suffering from an inferiority complex.”
“That doesn’t change anything, Harry. It makes you much less attractive.”
-“Attraction”, Harry closes his eyes and feels his eyelids glueing together.
“What is your idea?” Hermine wants to know what Harry has in mind.
-“I can confront Pondergrawl.”
“What do you mean?”
-“Look, I am realizing that I suffer from my complex; though it makes me sad, it doesn’t determine my actions at all. Maybe I can show Pondergrawl how to self-reflect.”
“Superiority complexes are of a different kind? Don’t you remember that from school?”
-“Oh, I was so bad at school. I know nothing.” Harry starts sobbing and grabs the napkin Hermine is offering him.
“Pondergrawl carries his superiority complex along with him wherever he goes. You can’t catch him off guard.”
-“I don’t want to surprise him. I want to convert him.”
“You can never convert a man with a superiority complex.”
-“Why?” Harry asks sadly.
“Because the world is like this Harry” she answers. They fall silent. There seems to be nothing to say. The messengers of Pondergrawl will find them, no matter where they hide.
“Are we going to sit and wait?” Harry’s voice is so soft that even the walls of their -small rock chamber don’t reflect it.
“We’ve lost hope, Harry, and you know it. We’ve lost confidence…”
-“How can that be? After all we’ve been through? It must be Pondergrawl’s magic.”
“I don’t know, Harry. But I do know it’s not magic. It’s the weakness of our hearts.”
-“Can’t you do anything Hermine? You don’t suffer from the complex at least.”
“No. This time, all must come from you, Harry.” She kisses him goodnight and Harry dreams of traveling to the villain Pondergrawls castle.
It was a rough trip and Harry has several scratches when he arrives at the fortress of the villain Pondergrawl. Getting in is a piece of cake since Harry has an invisibility cape. He sneaks into Pondergrawl’s antichambre, where the villain is observing himself in the oval mirror, and suddenly reveils himself in front of the great villain.
“Your game is over, Pondergrawl!”
-“Ah, who have we here… The little Harry Potter… I thought you were dead?”
“No. And I am going to cast a spell on you with this magic wand of inferiority.”
Harry Potter is improvising. He doesn’t know why he says this and points his powerless magic wand at the villain Pondergrawl.
“I know you are suffering from a superiority complex.”
-“And now you want to convert me? Hahaha. That won’t work.”
-“Because that’s the way the world is, little Harry Potter. I’ll turn you into a pig and you can walk home to your Hermine. Maybe she’ll recognize your gruff oink.”
And so he does. With a single word, the villain Pondergrawl turns Harry Potter into a cute piglet, and that piglet walks all the way back to Hermine. His magic wand of inferiority is lost somewhere in the soggy swamps of Hobscotch. Harry hopes Hermine would recognize him. Yes, he really learns to hope again on that long journey. He finds peace with being a piglet, and grunts joyfully when he arrives home. Hermine doesn’t recognize him.
“This is not the way the world is” Harry grunts. “This can’t be the way the world is.”
Hermine smiles at him because she likes his noises. Hermine keeps him as a pet and ties him to an olive tree.
“This is not the way the world is” Harry keeps grunting this until he grows up to be an ugly swine and is discreetly disposed of.