Sunday, December 4, 2011

Puck on... Disappointment


You were saying you would explain why humans are so prone to disappointment.

Ah, yes.  But don’t you already know the answer?

Do I?

Don’t play coy.  It’s simple logic.  You constantly put your hope in things only to be disappointed.  Why?  What does it mean when you put water in a jar only to have it leak?  The jar is flawed.  Such with what you put your hope in.  Oh, the things you hope in, so ill-equipped to hold what you invest in them.  You know why?  They are of the world.  How can they help but be imperfect?

People.  Places.  Things.  It doesn’t matter.  You fancy each equally.  You put your hope in where you live, what you have, who you’re with.  And the repeated past disappointments don’t deter you in the least.  You always think, always, that this house, this job, this town, this haircut, will make it all better.  This time, this person.  But they can’t.  They never can.  You hype them up to unrealistic proportions, choose to focus only on those aspects that you think will make them last, ignoring the parts that will certainly doom them and you.

Why, you may wonder, do you keep doing this?  Don’t look at me.  You accomplish this all by yourselves.  You want it to work.  And that desire always spells failure.  Because the more you want it to work the more you pile on your anticipations to that place or person or situation.  And these feeble things you put your hope in simply can’t bear the weight of your expectations.  And so, that job is never what you thought it would be.  That place is never as amazing as you dreamed.  That person never makes you as happy as you hoped. 

And here’s the lesson.  You would think that a lifetime of disappointment would teach you something, would educate you as to the nature of these things.  That if you would only hold them lightly, as fragile things should be held, then you might actually draw enjoyment from them, rather than clutching them so tightly you crush them.  But you never learn.  And the wonderful thing about it is how it makes you act the next time.  Instead of hoping less, you hope more.  Instead of realizing that that job or place or person is never going to be as perfect as in your own mind, you start thinking that they ought to be so.  You are disappointed because they fail to deliver something they can’t possibly provide, and you hate them for it.  As if the failure were theirs and not yours.  Disappointment turns to resentment and resentment to bitterness.  And bitterness is, oh, so sweet, at least to my palate.

It is the vicious cycle of hope.

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