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Dis-illusions: A Treatise

Graphics: John Hain

Would you go so far as to term disillusionment a loss that beats the ferocity of death itself? The mistimed slashes of the sickle notwithstanding, death is a constant that one gradually internalises to expect and withstand with a ritualistic pinch of salt, as devastating as the loss may initially seem to be.

Disillusionment can, on the other hand, be the rib shattering loss of a monument of devotion to the bitter reality or ‘truth’. Truth, as many of us like to smugly remind ourselves, is as relative as Einstein’s pocket watch, but that is not the point of this little conversation.

This breakdown of the relative truth is not the Derridian deconstruction, you remind me. It is perhaps more apt to describe it as a cartoonish implosion, a reaction that would jeopardize life en masse unregulated. Its nuclear spill is often more far reaching than even the death of a celebrity, or, would you go so far as to say, the death of a being not remembered for mere cerebral or physical excellence but for the scarce quality of spreading joy, kindness?

People they can live without joy, you say. People survive the cold, molten world everyday. How would life be if your one true flagpole is as inconstant as Polaris, our assigned north star!

While us fortunate ones bask in the glory of a five thousand year cycle, the disillusioned ones, cast in hell on earth, spend eternity confusing true north with the grid and the magnetic. Robbed of pole stars, they sail disenchanted, refusing to interpret the Siren’s song or the plight of an airborne merman in gills, caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.

You say you see it all too often in the bitter rants of those leaving your beloved Pompeii. They say the city will burn but you have little conviction in soothsayers. You trust your inner volcano to establish peace with the dormant one. You believe yourself enough to trust the illusion you have called your own which you are ready to burn for while the disillusioned search for greener shores in a ship sans helm.

Would you say you pity them? Would you say you were disappointed? Would you raise your voice to stifle their rumour of sour grapes? You bang your head against a brick wall, claiming the seasons change. But you say they only see the fire and the ice and nothing in between – their simulation has fallen apart. They could try their hands at philosophy, you admit, but they can only do so in a Bordeaux chateau with pinot noir, far away from the Parisian streets.

My Venice may be humble and only a fraction from getting flooded but I know you are as much a being of disillusionment as I am. As Zika-ridden as you claim their rich slums are, they are only that, an illusion to sustain their search for the north while you take for granted your ancient gold sextant. Forgive me for being so bold, but in the melee of creation and death, you may have forgotten the math, and it is high time you begin to use a smart phone with a functional calculator.

I must ask you to refrain from using the GPS, however. As you will find out for yourself, I’m sure, they are as yet ill-equipped to complement your gifted finesse in the art of cartography. []

First published in Issue #5 of CultureCult Magazine (Summer 2016)