I’m in New York City as I write this. I’ve never been here before. And it’ll be a damn long while before I come back. But in the short while I’ve been here, I’m already sure I want to spend as much of my life as I can here.
Do you want to know why?
It’s not because of the preconceived notions that you might hold in your head. It’s not because it’s the Big Apple. Not for the incredibly hot women. Not for the reddish haze of the sun as it dips below that incredible skyline. Not for the humongous pizzas.
Not that I mean to deride any of these things. They ARE good reasons to want to live here. Many decisions have been made for less justification. But the reason I want to live here?
It’s the same reason many complain of. You get a lot of people talking about how city life pushes a person to cynicism and apathy. Pastors and philosophers opining on the heartlessness of a system so godless, immoral, and illogical it defies definition.
And it’s bloody well true. I know that. You know that.
Living in a city like New York needs you to harden yourself to certain things. To render yourself emotionless in the face of sights you couldn’t handle otherwise. It’s the same with any metropolitan city. If everyone broke down on seeing a poor crippled child begging for change, the world wouldn’t run as it does. And that’s not evidence of an ideal world. It just affirms what everyone already knows.
The world is fucked up. But that’s a whole another topic. I’ll get into that another time. Not right now.
But anyway, I’ve digressed quite a bit. So I’ll cut to the chase.
The reason I want to live in New York, is because of the people.
People in the Big Apple are, distanced, from each other. There’s a boundary everyone places around themselves, a line in the sand they draw at some indeterminable time that they retreat behind. A refuge to shelter them from the madness of life.
I can walk in the midst of a thousand people in Times Square and feel utterly alone. I can look at the people around me, converse with them; laugh and smile at the gimmicks of the world, but deep down, I know that just like me, they’re hiding behind their lines. Looking out from that glass box they built to keep themselves safe from the storm.
And this doesn’t bother me one bit.
This knowledge leads me on to a greater truth. That makes me believe that this world has more to it than I shall ever know.
This truth is my reason to live.
New York is home to 10 million people. Maybe more. A census is only so accurate.
And each and every one of these people, has lived their own lives, walked their own paths, and made their own decisions. Whether to good ends or bad, is irrelevant.
When I’m in the middle of a crowd, I cannot help but look upon a random bystander, and wonder about the story of his/her life. What has he done to come to this place, here and now? What did she have to face to bring her this far?
I’m quoting something that regrettably may be paraphrased, but it serves to summarize what I mean to say.
“No matter where your life might take you, you spend the entirety of it, inside your head.”
Within each of us, exists a lifetime’s worth of thought, memory and experience. We’ve all lived our own lives. There is no explaining the story of your life to someone. It cannot be done. It is impossible to achieve total empathy with anyone. If it could happen, the world would be a better place.
But it cannot, because at any point of time, you can never fully understand what drives a person. You cannot hope to every fully grasp what makes them who they are. Simply because you have not lived their lives.
We all carry a world within us. Not just a world, a universe that no one will ever know or understand. We are creatures of the flesh, subject to lusts and longings that our bodies impose on us, but within each of us, lay a tapestry, painted by our imaginations, and limited by nothing.
If ever some God or 4th dimensional being, capable of seeing beyond the flesh, looked upon us, what would they see?
If I am to hold any faith in existence, I hope they would see us for what we really are.
The light of a universe. An infinite point of light, within each of us.
A thousand, thousand worlds.