Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Balsamo do Desilusao

Disappointment is considered bad. A thoughtless prejudice. How, if not for through disappointment, should we discover what we have expected and hoped for? And where, if not in this discovery, should self-knowledge lie? So, how could one gain clarity about oneself without disappointment?

We shouldn’t suffer disappointment sighing at something our lives would be better without. We should seek it, track it down, collect it. Why am I disappointed that the adored actors of my youth all now show signs of age and decay? What does disappointment teach me about how little success is worth? Many need a whole life to admit the disappointment about their parents to themselves. What did we really expect from them? People who have to live their life under the merciless rule of pain are often disappointed at how others behave, even those who endure with them and feed them the medicine. It’s too little, what they do and say, and also too little what they feel. “What do you expect?”, I ask. They can’t say it and are dismayed that, for years, they have carried around an expectation that could be disappointed and they don’t know details of it.

One who would really like to know himself would have to become restless, fanatical collector of disappointments, and seeking disappointing experience must be like an addiction, the all-determining addiction of his life, for it would stand so clearly before his eyes that disappointment is not a hot, destroying poison, but rather a cool, calming balm that opens our eyes to the real contours of ourselves.

And it should not only be disappointments concerning others or circumstances. When you have discovered disappointment as the guide to yourself, you will be eager to learn how much you are disappointed about yourself: about lack of courage and inadequate honesty, or about the horribly narrow borders drawn by your own feelings, acts, and sayings. What was it we expected and hoped for from ourselves? That we were boundless, or quite different from what we are?

One could have the hope that he would become real by reducing expectations, shrink to a hard, reliable core and thus be immune to the pain of disappointment. But how would it be to lead a life that banished every long, bold expectation, a life where there were only banal expectations like “the bus is coming?”

What about disappointments that we were trying so much to elude without understanding our own expectations? The silver lining in every cloud is never fictional, but rather a sign from God that we're truly loved.

Note: This post is related Amadeu de Prado's letter to himself, the enigmatic doctor who wanted to reset the Portuguese language (who had, according to Mercier, the author of Night Train to Lisbon, had joined the resistance against Salazar), wrote about Balsamo do Desilusao, loosely translated as "Balm of Disappointment". In immediate understanding, one would never be comforted by disappointments, but as Prado put it, never ironically, disappointments are the cooling balm of your internal self-pain which we regard as the disappointments blameworthy instead of our own errors,mistakes and faults which we will never admit. Doctors are, in fact, complex creatures of sensitive and self-blaming kind, but tis' better to look inward, than looking outward.............


3 comments:

hazw,  8 July 2008 at 14:32:00 GMT+8  

doctors are complex creatures of sensitive and self-blaming kind huh??

what makes you, kak lawyer?

hahahahah

...but I digress 8 July 2008 at 15:18:00 GMT+8  

makes me attracted to their species,really.

they're so brooding, don't u think,but they remain light-headed,as opposed to us......

bernard n. shull 9 July 2008 at 12:41:00 GMT+8  
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