“You know,” says the neighbor in goodbye, “in that group I saw some people that I experience very differently during the day. Then they are friendly and open, and not at all as aggressive as tonight. To me, such a parade is not the problem. The danger is in that one single ambitious politician who uses this mass for his own gain.”
You remember what we always said to each other: how people think about something, what they say to others about it, and what they ultimately do, often are three very different ones. You may call them hypocrites, or liars, but in the end it’s only about what they do, how they convert things and how they treat us. Anything else doesn’t really count, even if you feel challenged, or treated unfairly.
Surprised John and Edith look at the ruins that cover the vast terrain. Of course they knew houses made of stone, but these were usually just one storey high. In rare cases there was a 3-storey tower, with an additional wooden structure on top of it. The buildings they are currently looking at must have been gigantic in the past! Steep walls everywhere, high windows, big doors, huge buttresses to support the walls… Such an overwhelming thing they’ve never seen before!
The word “Ego” has a somewhat negative aftertaste in recent decades. “Having a big ego” or “caressing your ego” indicates someone’s exaggeration of the self-importance. When somebody is self-centered, it is said that he only pursues his own interests and shamelessly places himself at the center of his world. If such a person is also selfish, he makes others suffer by selectively not taking account of them, their feelings or interests.
Yet we give someone who thinks too much of others and obliterates himself the good advice to grow a “healthy dose of selfishness”. A person who is completely lost in the complexity of the community must “put himself more central” in his decisions and considerations. With this kind of advice, it’s possible to go through life less vulnerable and more consciously.
Amused, with a hand in her side, Edith watches the flute player. Although peaceful, he still looks lively. Edith can not see any emotion or value judgment in his glistening eyes. Apparently he is doing well. The pieces of fabric and leather hanging around him hardly succeed in concealing his large figure, apparently something he absolutely doesn’t worry about. Yet no wealth can be found here. It seems as if all worldly values have vanished.
It’s our highest ideal: to have maximum freedom of choice and to decide for yourself what is good for you.
As if there’s a menu for your life with all selections that are available. What remains after your choice disappears in an anonymous waste bin.
This fits into a time when individualism grows rampant at the expense of a sense of responsibility for the ups and downs of others. You only sacrifice yourself for your own profit, or because your dear ones can benefit from it in the long term. As they say: you should get more out of it than you put in.
But I often ask myself the question: are we really that free?
Then Edith notices some movement in the distance, and almost utters a cry of fright. Further afield, the forest ends in a light spot, and behind the silhouettes of dark trunks she sees figures walking, running, and feels more than she hears it that there’s a fight out there. Someone flees the road, in their direction, then falls over and doesn’t get up anymore. Now they also smell smoke, and see occasional flames flaring up. Apparently it is not just wood that burns yonder.