While I personally hold Shakespeare responsible for popularising tragedy, the glorification of it is deeply entrenched in all of us and is literally passed on generation after generation. I cannot say whether our love for tragedy was intended to be so, whether it was innate or acquired- but I can with some confidence say, we secretly imagine it and in its longing, we eventually manifest it.
The number of times we watch a tragic love story or the number of hauntingly depressing songs that are made famous hardly put up a strong case for tragedy not being something we love and almost desire. Surely, we want to be happy but it seems we understand too well, that the joy that happiness brings is tasteless without a present that is depressingly dark.
How comforting is the sound of the saddest song you know as it opens up a crack so deep in your soul that you can almost rip your heart out as if you were subjected to the excruciating pain the singer is singing about. The problem is not with the hopelessly romantic, it is with the hopefuls.
The truth is, most of our pain is imagined and only a fraction of it actually suffered. We actually go through each emotion in our head while we listen to say Whiskey Lullaby or Fix You, lyrically imagine what is quite unpoetic, replay it and sure enough, we have manifested what we most think about: Tragedy.
We wanted it. We wanted to feel the truth of those words and so, like I said, in our longing, we make it happen. How fruitful it would be spending that much energy imagining all the wonderful things we hope to achieve in our lives.
This is why the life span of a self help book is basically infinite. There is always somebody breaking into the phase where they are quite done with finding comfort in tragedy and seek help. In the beginning, reading a self help book gives us innumerable revelations but when you reach your 4th or 5th, you think you are reading what you already know. Like preaching to the converted.
But even getting to the ‘seek help from a self help book’ phase has a pre destined time. If you are exposed to say, The Power of Now, prior to actually reaching this phase, you are going to hate it. Because you don’t want to believe in the now that is, you want the now that you imagined.
So wait for it, wait for the sorrow to become unbearable. It will. Then stand unashamed in front of the self help book section. You will soon find the courage to move to tragic but hopeful fiction. 🙂
But more on that later.
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